I have decided that food writers might be my favorite people. It's one of the few area where you don't just stumble into it and you're "meh" about food but you write anyway...if that were the case you'd be out of a job faster than it takes your last review to become bird cage liner...or whatever the blog equivalent is.
And yes, Molly Wizenberg has a blog. That's how I found her*. She's Orangette. And she came to have the blog because she Loves food. Capital L, Loves. And it shines through. Every essay is a rosy memory of her life, scented with the aromas of whichever kitchen was nearby. Luckily - those land in our laps as recipes because Molly (you don't mind that I call you Molly, do you?) is emphatically Anti-Secret-Recipe. All the better for us, eh?
I've tagged this as cozy because it is. She has reduced her life to its essence: soul searching via her taste buds. There are moments of tenderness, sadness (her father's illness and passing are related in a frank way that tugged at my heart,) and celebration, and giddiness. There are no great revelations (except for french toast in oil - GENIUS) and there's no great moral to smack you in the face and although you'll spend a lot of time hungry while you read this book, you won't have gained five pounds by the end of it. Or maybe you will have - it all comes down to quantity, doesn't it?
I ordered this book through my local bookshop before I'd even finished the copy borrowed from the library - and we've made one recipe (french toast in oil. Did I mention it's genius?) and I've earmarked another...chocolate cake on Easter? They procured me the paperback - and a pleasant surprise is that it has discussion in the back, complete with a little Q&A with Molly herself. I heartily endorse this as a book club book, as long as someone brings cake.
A note to the vegetarians in the crowd: Molly's husband, Brandon, is a vegetarian, so there are quite a few meatless recipes. But Molly isn't, so there is also meat to be had...mostly fish. Nothing to worry about if you're squeamish.
*Full disclosure: when the book first came out it took long enough to make it to my stack that I was in the throws of the Worst Morning Sickness Ever and not only had I hidden all of my food blogs, but I just couldn't read it. So back to the library it went and I forgot about it until Amster-Burton name checked Molly in Hungry Monkey. Thank you, Amster-Burton. All of the stomachs in our house are grateful.
Graves just keeps getting better. It's like she hit an even dozen in the series and thought "eff it. Just to keep my faithful readers on their toes...NO ONE is sacred. No one." And then she chuckled an evil chuckle and uncapped her pen.
We're still in 3rd-person-omniscient-land in this installment and I have to admit that it's growing on me. I like that Graves has figured out how to keep the suspense building while still keeping us in all of the loops. In fact, the only person whose head we DON'T enter is the bona fide sociopath's...and we're all better off for that. But aside from that dude, Jake, and our usual characters, you can't be sure who's "good" and who's "bad" because they're all out there in the gray-area somewhere. Which is nice and truer to life.
This book focused more on the suspense and action than on the home repair, so if you've got a hankering for more tips you may be disappointed. If so, watch Bob Vila. And then pick up the next installment which is out later this month.