Usually memoirs focus on our relationships, whether romantic, familial, platonic. However, Lucy Knisley’s graphic novel-memoir, Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, focuses on a different kind of relationship: her lifelong love affair with food. While many memoirs focus on complex experiences and feelings, Relish: My Life in the Kitchen is about the joy of food in all its stages, from growing to cooking to eating, through various stages of the author’s life.
Knisley, who is also the author of French Milk, is the daughter of a professional chef and has a healthy appreciation for all kinds of foods. There is so much discussion about the dangerous and unhealthy aspects of eating these days, so it is also refreshing to read about the positive aspects of food in our lives. One of the most satisfying elements of the book is how Knisley talks about her own dietary eccentricities. She freely admits to eating hot dog salads when she was in college, as well as a love for McDonald’s fries (a fact that greatly irritates her gourmet-food loving dad).
However, as a lover of cooking myself, I have to say that my favorite part of the book was the recipes. Reminiscent of the illustrations of recipes in the Moosewood Restaurant cookbooks, this book uses clever illustrations that makes the recipes come to life. The best of the recipes was the one for the chocolate chip cookies. Like many, she considers the recipe her own mother used the best, which is a reminder of how our childhoods shape our taste buds.