Relish: My Life in the Kitchen

by Lucy Knisley

Other authorsLucy Knisley (Illustrator)
Paperback, 2013




First Second, (2013)


"Lucy Knisley loves food. The daughter of a chef and a gourmet, this talented young cartoonist comes by her obsession honestly. In her forthright, thoughtful, and funny memoir, Lucy traces key episodes in her life thus far, framed by what she was eating at the time and lessons learned about food, cooking, and life. Each chapter is bookended with an illustrated recipe-- many of them treasured family dishes, and a few of them Lucy's original inventions" -- from publisher's web site.

User reviews

LibraryThing member WickedWoWestwood
A great, colorful and fun graphic novel about adventures in food. It's reminiscent of Raina Telgemeier in the biography-esque story as Lucy learns to love food of all kinds though her mother's talent at cooking anything and her father's love of a good meal. Even fast food is defended as she takes you through her life with food, to New York, Mexico and Japan. There's even fun, illustrated recipes at the end of the chapters. Are you the daughter to a mom who loves to cook? Do you cook together? You really should read this book together. It's cute and wonderful!… (more)
LibraryThing member Lacy.Simons
I thought FRENCH MILK was a bit obnoxiously precocious; RELISH has much more going for it.
LibraryThing member debnance
What a fun book. With panel drawings and illustrated recipes, Lucy Knisley tells the story of the big events of her life through the stories of the food she ate and cooked at the time. It’s a’s a’s a graphic novel; it’s all three and it’s delightful.

I read it one afternoon and then turned back to page one and read it all over again. And then took a few pictures of my favorite parts.… (more)
LibraryThing member StefanieGeeks
Love love loved this illustrated gastronomic memoir so much I had to buy my own copy. Along with the delightful stories pertaining to relishing food, Lucy includes family recipes that are simply delish! A must read/view for any foodie.
LibraryThing member GR8inD8N
cheery illustrations, engaging vignettes. The recipes were adorable. Reading this book will make you hungry! Two criticisms...She spelled "cuesta" as "questa" and I could have done without such detailed covers on the porno mags during the one chapter. She ends the book with a couple pages of family pictures, which added to the whole experience.… (more)
LibraryThing member albertgoldfain
A foodie memoir in graphic novel form with recipes included sets the expectation bar pretty high for me, but this book definitely delivered...and I think benefits from the medium.
LibraryThing member abbylibrarian
I really, really liked this foodie comic memoir. Not only did Lucy Knisley's descriptions of the food she's eaten (and cooked) make me hungry, I kept reading bits of it out loud to my boyfriend. This full-color book has a lot to offer any foodie or fans of graphic memoirs. This has a lot of appeal for teens or adults, especially those who love cooking (and eating!).… (more)
LibraryThing member timtom
Relish is a coming-of-age graphic memoir, tracing the author's relationship with food, which always played a large role in her life, mostly through her mother's cooking. The episodes are set in chronological order, from the author's childhood to her present young adult life, and are inter-sped with lovely illustrated recipes.

I first came upon Lucy Knisley's work at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival this year, and I instantly liked her style of drawing and storytelling. The illustrated recipes in particular drew my attention, as I found them very similar to the work of the French illustrator Guillaume Long which I've been following for quite a while. However, the similarity stops there, as her general aesthetic is closer to that of contemporary american illustrators such as Alison Bechdel or Raina Telgemeier. I'm looking forward to discovering more of her work!… (more)
LibraryThing member nomadreader
The backstory: After adoring French Milk, Lucy Knisley's graphic memoir about traveling to France with her mother in 2004, I was eager to read her newest graphic memoir.

The basics: Relish is a memoir of Knisley's life told through food. As the daughter of foodies, Knisley traces her relationship with food from childhood to today.

My thoughts: Lucy Knisley has a wonderful ability to share the emotions she felt with her readers. It's not simply a matter of her signature art, although her visual aesthetic certainly contributes to it, particularly the way she uses space. At the heart of what I love about her work is her raw honesty. She doesn't hide, and that inhibition draws me right in. Knisley isn't just showing and telling her story, she's inviting her readers to share it.

Relish is obviously perfect for foodies. The images of Knisley tasting her first foie gras at a dinner party as a child and proceeding to ask every grown up at the table if they had any extra brought tears to my eyes. When she visited Alinea, I shared her excitement (and was filled with jealousy.) While I loved the food moments individually, collectively this graphic memoir is much more than simply a life of food. Knisley's journey, which she marks with food, is the real treasure.

The verdict: Relish is a more ambitious graphic memoir than French Milk, and it succeeds on more levels because of it. It's a graphic memoir I'll return to re-read again and again over the years, as I, too, form more new food memories.
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LibraryThing member VioletBramble
This is the third book I've read by cartoonist Lucy Knisley. In her other books ( [French Milk], [Radiator Days] ) Knisley frequently talked about what she had eaten, often making lists of food she had bought, including pictures of restaurants in Paris and cartoons of her days working in a cheese shop. She ties all the stories together in this memoir where she describes growing up the only child of a caterer mother in NYC and Rhinebeck, NY. Knisley includes graphic recipes (see below) throughout the book.
I've read many "foodie" memoirs and "foodie" travel memoirs. Knisley's are my favorites; partly because they're graphic works and partly because she's not a food snob -- she eats fast foods and junk foods as well, as long as they taste good to her.
I thought the illustrations in this book were better than in her previous books. I missed the photographs that were part of [French Milk], although she does include a section of family photos (food related, of course) at the end of the book.
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LibraryThing member quzy
Relish by Lucy Knisley is a memoir, a life in food, a graphic novel oozing with the delights of fresh garlic being sautéed on a stove, the wafting smell of buttery croissants, and the wonders of Huevos Rancheros for breakfast. Relish is a culinary experience, but it's also an artistic one, as Lucy puts her memories down in words and drawings. But that's what a graphic novel is and it works well for Relish.

"I was a child raised by foodies" is our first introduction to Lucy and to this graphic novel which traces Lucy's life from her early childhood to her graduating from art school all through her memories of food. The book is entertaining, funny, enjoyable, and a feast for the eyes. Lucy's drawings are good, the lettering of the text is nice (remember I really hate the computer generated text that most comic books use) and the stories told flow nicely from one part of her life to the next. We learn about her, her Chef Mother, Mexico, her parents divorce, raising chickens, Japan and hop on a culinary journey with a eurail pass. But wait, there's more… the recipes! Through out the book, are some of Lucy's tried and true recipes that are drawn AND written out…

It is so much fun to read about these recipes and then have Lucy include the recipe by drawing them out! I just loved it! And this idea of illustrating a "food" novel is certainly popular now, as Michael Pollan had his book, Food Rules, recently redone in an illustrated version.

Why I read Relish? Because I like reading "food" books. I like reading about the inside scoop on the food industry, reading about chefs, foods, and recipe books. And I like graphic novels, not your super hero kind generally speaking, but I do enjoy some of those, but graphic novels that are unique and this is definitely unique. "Classified" as a teen book, but I really feel this is more for adults, because it brings a kind of nostalgia about your own "culinary" coming of age.

If you like "foodie" books, this one will make you smile. And I'm getting out some pancetta to make a Carbonara from one of these recipes that looks absolutely dee-lish!
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LibraryThing member Daniel.Estes
Remarkable! Relish by Lucy Knisley is elegant, colorful and doused with a homegrown humor sure to make you smile.
LibraryThing member wyvernfriend
Excellent mix of graphic novel, biography and recipe book, entertaining look at Lucy Knisley's life with her relationship with food and how she enjoys it. I loved every single minute of it.
LibraryThing member jasonli
"Relish" is the cheery graphic novel memoir of author-illustrator Lucy Knisley as told through stories about eating, cooking and buying food. Chapters are interspersed by illustrated recipes, with the rest of the book taking a panel-by-panel comic form.

Knisley writes with delight about her food experiences throughout the book, and the joy of it all is contagious (in a good way). It is, however, a pretty straightforward and happy book, in case you're used to darker graphic novel memoirs. Having said that, the story still carries its own weight and I highly recommend the book.… (more)
LibraryThing member kayceel
A wonderful, fun read about a life lived around food - growing, cooking and eating. Lucy's parents were both "foodies," and passed on a passion for tasting all the world has to offer. She includes many delicious sounding recipes (not being a cook, I was tempted to try only one or two, but anyone who even kind-of, sort-of likes to cook will be inspired!).

This would be great for teens, but not much younger - she does include a chapter in which a family friend spends a vacation buying as many porn magazines as possible.

Highly recommended!
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LibraryThing member dms02
This seemed like a really nerdy thing to pick up and read. However a graphic novel about food and cooking that takes place in NY seemed just right. Very enjoyable read. The recipe pages alone are pleasing to look at....I think a graphic style cookbook would be really neat to have. I was more engaged by the illustrations and recipes then any real plot line. A light sort of read. A nice creative palate cleanser.… (more)
LibraryThing member RussianLoveMachine
This graphic novel memoir is comprised of several stories of the author's life, all tied together by food. The stories are complimented by great illustrations. Each story ends with an illustrated recipe. The stories are funny, heart warming, and relatable. Graphic novels fans and foodies will both enjoy this book.
LibraryThing member sbloom42
This was a fun book with a great style. At times I thought it was too wordy, especially at the beginning, but that calmed down as the book progressed. At the start of the story I found the author's tone to be too pompous, but again that changed as the book went on. Halfway through the book I realized the art was breaking out of the box more and more and the tone was more of a friend who knows she's lucky to be around great food and just wants to share that joy with you, and that's when I really started to enjoy the book. It was fascinating to hear stories about a particular recipe in the author's life and then to be presented with that recipe. I was a bit disappointed that she didn't delve deeper into her feelings about molecular gastronomy; I got the feeling that she would find the over-processing of the food to be off-putting, but she stuck closer to marveling at the cleanliness of Alina than to experiencing the food. All in all I'd recommend this as a fun read for anyone who enjoys simple food and great tastes.… (more)
LibraryThing member zzshupinga
Lucy Knisley is the daughter of a chef/caterer and a gourmet foodie. So unsurprisingly she also loves food and equates many of her memories growing up with it. In this thoughtful and funny memoir, Lucy shares with readers key moments in her life -- her parents divorce, her moving to the countryside, trips out of the country -- and how food framed each moment of this journey. We see how a trip to Italy is influenced, not by Italian cooking, but by eating a local McDonald’s that brought the comforts of home. And we learn how even though her parents are separated that home cooked meals prepared by Lucy’s mother can bring them together once again. Through many meals and snacks, Lucy shares with us her memories of growing up and the unique experiences she has. Each chapter concludes with an illustrated recipe that ties into the just completed chapter, daring us to sample some of the adventures.

Like many people, I was first introduced to Lucy Knisley through her travelogue French Milk and I was quickly enthralled. Her simple, yet evocative, line drawings created an entertaining story that made me feel like I was sitting with a good friend, sharing a meal, and listening to their adventures. Since that time I’ve eagerly kept up with Lucy’s work and career and she has quickly become one of my all time favorite artists and storytellers. And her latest work of course is no exception.

What I love best about this story, is not only that Lucy shares her journey and her story with us, but I find it easy to relate to her work. I know that sounds strange because I’m not a foodie and I’m not female, but I can honestly say that I can look at her work and find some trace of myself in it. Mainly because Lucy doesn’t try to hide those unflattering moments that so many of us wish we could hide, such as being a brat and rebellious towards are parents. Lucy instead embraces it and share it with us in such a way that we can relate to it and remember our own experiences growing up. And I stress that point because some authors seemingly want nothing more than pity or take such a hard look at themselves they no longer seem human. Lucy’s writing puts us on her level and makes it easy to relate to her and feel like we’re talking with a good friend, which to me is the sign of a great writer.

While the story is fantastic, Lucy’s artwork is even better. Her watercolor paintings of her adventures are bright, colorful, and exude life. It makes me feel like I’m standing right there with her sampling exotic candies in Mexico and smelling fragrant cheeses in Chicago as she serves them to customers. She has an elegance to her work that easily captures the human figure without overwhelming it with detail and unnecessary lines and just brings the story to life. I could say more, but why give unnecessary detail? Go check out her work and you’ll be impressed as well.

As you can tell I really enjoy Lucy’s work and I think a y’all will as well. I highly recommend this book. The story is simple, easy to follow, and flows naturally and the artwork is beautiful. And I can’t give it any higher praise than that.

ARC provided by Gina at FirstSecond
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LibraryThing member -Eva-
Lucy Knisley, the daughter of a chef and a gourmet, traces her love of food to key episodes in her life. Although the art isn't too exciting, Knisey's memoir is funny and thoughtful and covers, along with her own life, a little bit of "foodie" history in New York and Chicago and has some travelogue parts as well. I've read Knisey's previous book, [French Milk], and I like this one a lot more since in French Milk she acted like an obstinate kid (at age 22) and in this one she acts more her age(s). This book also explains all the foie gras-eating that went on in French Milk. I do enjoy her little observations and I especially liked when she compared the comfort she gets from chocolate chip cookies with the comfort she gets from watching Sound of Music, as long as you shut if off before the Nazis enter. :) Each chapter also has an illustrated recipe of either one of Knisey's own dishes or one her family traditionally makes.… (more)
LibraryThing member elliepotten
A super-fun graphic memoir that definitely lived up to the good buzz around it this year. I'd heard of Lucy Knisley, but had never visited her website or anything like that. I will probably drop by more often now, because this book was so cute. It's pretty much a series of comics about different elements of growing up as a food-loving individual in a household devoted to it (her mother is/was a caterer and her father a keen appreciator of good cuisine). There are vignettes on craving garlic mushrooms and discovering the world' most amazing croissants in Venice. She talks about following her mother's footsteps as a student, and about the comforting power of cookies. It's all done in a simple, charming and amusing style, interspersed with recipes that sound amazing. Loved it - I'll definitely be reading more of her books!… (more)
LibraryThing member seeword
Library book

What a delightful memoir! In telling her own story, Lucy Knisley also relates family memories going back to her mother's college years in New York's developing gourmet scene. History seems to repeat itself when Lucy goes to college in Chicago during that city's growth as a foodie center.

Lucy starts life in New York City, but moves to a rural setting with her mother when her parents divorce.She's a foodie from the start and shares her learning experiences. Each chapter is concluded with a recipe. These recipes are also gentle tutorials on food preparation and cooking methods. Because Lucy managed to travel quite a bit, the dishes are diverse (huevos rancheros, sushi, pickles, sauteed mushrooms).

A fun book with great illustrations: nostalgic for the experienced cook, some great information for the novice, and a coming of age story line. For foodies of all ages.
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LibraryThing member thornton37814
Since this is not a work of fiction, it is not a graphic novel, so I suppose you might call it a work of graphic non-fiction. In it, Lucy Knisley recalls her life in New York before her parents' divorce, her life in rural New York with her mom after it, her travels with her Dad in Europe, later travels with her mom and friends to Mexico and Italy, and her years in Chicago as a student and recent graduate. It was my first experiment in reading something similar to a comic book since my teen years. The book is peppered with recipes and culinary tips in the comic fashion. I enjoyed my adventure.… (more)
LibraryThing member Familyhistorian
Food is important to Lucy Knisley, as it was a part of her life growing up. Her mother was, and is, a major foodie. Memorable occasions touched on in the memoir are filtered through food memories rounding out the experiences which were a part of Knisley’s upbringing.

Knisley’s drawings are lively and colourful showing that a graphic novel is a great way to tell a story involving food. Each chapter ends with a recipe and the graphics lend themselves well to showing the techniques needed. This book is a great marriage of recipe, graphic novel and memoir.… (more)
LibraryThing member Rosa.Mill
Love this. Lucy Kinsley tells us about her family and food. There's a lot of exposition here and less standard graphic novel but very enjoyable. The artwork is bright and colorful, and the recipe artwork is great. The recipes themselves were pretty good. We've already tested one and are planning on trying others. Lucy's life was really interesting and I liked seeing how food played a role in her life.… (more)


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