My Berlin Kitchen: A Love Story (with Recipes) by Luisa Weiss
For me, the best memoirs can make me feel like I’m right there with the author, experiencing their life right along with them. Weiss’ book succeeded at that, almost making me homesick for a life I’ve never lived.
While I don’t have the cross-cultural background that Weiss has, I moved a lot as a child, and related a bit to her wherever-I-am-I-miss-where-I’m-not feelings. Her efforts to battle her homesickness through cooking familiar dishes resonated with me.
There are recipes following each chapter, although I haven’t tried any of them and can’t speak to how they are. If you’re expecting German food only, you’ll be disappointed – she’s got Italian and American dishes as well, reflecting her background.
If you like food memoirs, this is a great one. If you’ve never read a food memoir, this is a good one to introduce you to the genre.
(One caveat: I’ve never read her blog, so I don’t know if the book itself is repetitive of what she’s previously posted there. A heads-up if you’re familiar with her writing.)
The Wednesday Chef cooks her heart out, finds her way home, and shares her recipes with us
It takes courage to turn your life upside down, especially when everyone is telling you how lucky you are. But sometimes what seems right can feel deeply wrong. My Berlin Kitchen tells the story of how one thoroughly confused, kitchen-mad perfectionist broke off her engagement to a handsome New Yorker, quit her dream job, and found her way to a new life, a new man, and a new home in Berlin—one recipe at a time.
Luisa Weiss grew up with a divided heart, shuttling back and forth between her father in Boston and her Italian mother in Berlin. She was always yearning for home—until she found a new home in the kitchen. Luisa started clipping recipes in college and was a cookbook editor in New York when she decided to bake, roast, and stew her way through her by then unwieldy collection over the course of one tumultuous year. The blog she wrote to document her adventures in (and out) of the kitchen, The Wednesday Chef, soon became a sensation. But she never stopped hankering for Berlin.
Luisa will seduce you with her stories of foraging for plums in abandoned orchards, battling with white asparagus at the tail end of the season, orchestrating a three-family Thanksgiving in Berlin, and mending her broken heart with batches (and batches) of impossible German Christmas cookies. Fans of her award-winning blog will know the happy ending, but anyone who enjoyed Julie and Julia will laugh and cheer and cook alongside Luisa as she takes us into her heart and tells us how she gave up everything only to find love waiting where she least expected it.
If you like the genre, there are so many wonderful food memoirs available, and many of them I’ve already reviewed: A Homemade Life, Bread & Wine, Garlic and Sapphires, The Sharper Your Knife the Less You Cry, and Heat.
To see all the books featured in 31 Days of Great Nonfiction, go to the series page.
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