Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg

As I promised last week, I’d like to tell you about a wonderful book I just finished savoring; A Homemade Life, by Seattle author Molly Wizenberg, who is also the author of the fabulous foodie blog Orangette. I took a long time to read it, and in fact read parts of it two and three times, it was that enjoyable. Molly’s book is just the kind of thing I enjoy reading, and that is a loving tribute to the people, places, and food that make life worth living; just what I always want to put into my own books.

She begins with her father, who helped imbue her with a love of food (as did mine), and how his death set her on a different life course. She writes of her love of Paris, the chocolate shops, the cheese, the outdoor markets, all of which inspired her to being writing the blog Orangette, which soon developed an international following. It was through her blog that Molly began a correspondence with a foodie who lived completely across the country in New York. Their email correspondence became a long-distance romance, and finally led to a meeting, an engagement, and a marriage. And plenty of delightful eats in the meantime.

One thing that made me pick up Molly’s book is the fact that she grew up in Oklahoma City, and I’m always interested in what a fellow Oklahoman has to say. Each chapter ends with a recipe, mostly simple and creative dishes that make you long to run out right now and buy a vanilla bean or a head of fennel or red cabbage. I particularly like the Frisee with Ham, Eggs, and Mustard Vinaigrette. Some are so rich and luscious that you can hardly read them without drooling, such as her recipe for Coeur a la Creme with Raspberry Puree, or the Vanilla Bean Cake with Glazed Oranges. Or the Hoosier Pie (OMG!)

As I noted previously, Molly’s book has reminded me that sometimes the very best, and often the most meaningful recipes are the simplest. One can create great dishes out of complicated, startling, and unusual combinations of ingredients. But sometimes, one or two perfect, quality ingredients are all you need to create a masterpiece, like her spring salad with avocado and feta.

Fantastic!

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