Relish – my life in the kitchen by Lucy Knisley

“How do you remember things? What are your clearest memories? … My most vivid memories consistently jog my brain with the recollection of how things tasted.”

Relish is an autobiography in comic form. It’s a charming, funny and a very human love letter to food and examines how it made Lucy who she is. The opening lines resonated with me: Christopher’s always reminding me of what or where we ate things to help me remember events.

You ate what? The chapter on junk food is hilarious and very real.

You ate what? The chapter on junk food is hilarious and very human.

Caroline: ‘When did that happen?’
Christopher: ‘At your aunt’s 70th.’
Caroline shakes head.
Christopher: ‘It happened after we came out of the café where you sent back the chocolate ball.’
Caroline lights up: ‘Oh, right, yes. That car accident.’

Recognising myself on the first page made me like this book immediately. Of course, Lucy and I have lived in very different worlds and it was interesting to dip into hers.

Lucy Knisley grew up on New York, moved to the country as a child and studied art in Chicago. Her parents and their friends were food lovers, critics and chefs so she was surrounded by food as a child. AS well as a comic artist, Lucy is a story teller and Relish tells the story of her life so far. She shares her adventures with Mexican sweets, why she’s not a fan of live ducks, and how baking can be used as stress relief in entertaining bites. These are tales that are both personal and thought-provoking.

Making chai

Making chai: part one.

Each story ends with a recipe or useful information. The first recipe is for chai: a suitable drink for this book. Soothing and spicy at the same time, it gets you in the mood for going on a journey from New York kitchens to the cheese farms of upstate New York, then on to Rome, Tokyo and Chicago before returning to New York. A journey that takes in cheese, sugar, cookies, family recipes and junk food, the comestibles of life, served with a good helping of humour.

Lucy’s drawings are colourful and charming, her writing voice confident and open. Relish made me happy to be food obsessed and grateful that Lucy wanted to share some of her obsessions, observations and experiences with me. Now I want a pickle sandwich.

Relish - my life in the kitchen by Lucy KnisleyRelish – My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

Publisher: First Second; 01 edition (3 May 2013)
ISBN-10: 1596436239
ISBN-13: 978-1596436237

Lucy’s website:

Instagram: lucyknisley

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About Caroline von Schmalensee

Cooking, eating and drinking is fun as well as necessary. I do food for fun and I write for a living. Good food makes the world a more delicious and satisfying place. Good writing, meanwhile, can make the world a less confusing place.

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