Thursday, May 28, 2009

Quite Possibly the Best Book of the Year


I came to be a fan of Molly Wizenberg slowly, in fits and starts. I became aware of her blog Orangette, I think sometime in 2007. I read along, sometimes, not always, but when Molly became a monthly writer for Bon Appetit I became more familiar with her work and with her 'taste' in food. I knew she had a book coming out, I figured I'd read it at some point, heck - I could even wait for the paperback. But then I held it in my hands and paged through it. I put it back. Back to the bookstore another day I looked through it more closely - and knew it had to be mine. I waited for just the right moment to start it. I didn't want to be distracted by traveling and reading obligations - I wanted to focus.

It was worth the wait.

Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade Life is sublime. Delicious. Heartbreaking and life-affirming. Organized in short chapters, each essay is followed by a recipe or sometimes two pertaining to the content of the essay. I was nostalgic as Molly wrote about her childhood in Oklahoma, jealous of the opportunity she had to study in Paris, I became tearful when she wrote with great poignancy of her father's illness and death, and joyful when she finds herself madly in love.

Molly was born to write. In one section, she shares an essay she wrote in high school. It is shocking how well it is written. Molly is a woman who has figured out at a young age what her passion is and has been able to turn that into a life for herself. Hopefully that means we will have many more books by her.

I doled out little bits of this book to myself, chapter by chapter. This past Monday I sat outside and inhaled the last 100 or so pages in one gulp. I didn't want it to end, but I couldn't stop either. If you love food, if you love cooking, you will love this book. Even if you don't, I bet you'll love it anyway.

Here is Molly's lemon yogurt cake that I baked with the girl yesterday.




It was delicious and if you didn't have 'help' I bet you could get it into the oven in five minutes. Seriously.

20 comments:

Nan said...

Oh, I want it, both the book and the cake! I have lemons, I have yogurt - could I have the recipe, please??

jennysbooks said...

I want lemon cake! My little sister has taken the opportunity of me being out of town to make thousands of delicious desserts - she keeps posting beautiful pictures of them on Facebook and I am starving for tasty treats.

JoAnn said...

Thanks for reminding me about this book. I just put it on hold at the library. The cake looks delicious!!

Cornflower said...

Oh, yum!
I've only recently discovered Orangette, but I have Molly's book on my wishlist.

Ti said...

Isn't it wonderful to read a book that just hits home with you?

That cake looks sublime!

Tara said...

Nan, I think you would love this cake. Here is the link to Molly's original post about this cake:

http://orangette.blogspot.com/2004/08/slow-roasting.html

The only difference in the book is that she adds a pinch of salt to the batter. Also, in the book she used a syrup first and then a glaze, both a combo of lemon juice and powd. sugar. Let me know how it turns out!

jennysbooks, how could your sister not share all those treats with you!!


JoAnn, I hope you enjoy the book!

Cornflower, I think you would really enjoy this book. I wonder if the UK cover is the same?

Ti, absolutely, it is.

Diane said...

Love this post; lemon cake is my husband's favorite!

Melissa - Shhh I'm Reading said...

Your's is the second really good review I've seen of this one. I love books that revolve around food. They just seem so comforting. And I love lemon. That cake looks great!

Cath said...

Off to try and find the recipe for that cake. It looks wonderful!

Danielle said...

I'm not a cook, but I also have enjoyed checking out Orangette's blog. I had no idea she had written a book and will now have to see if the library has it. It sounds yummy (no pun intended). :)

Bybee said...

Thanks for the heads-up about this one!

booklineandsinker said...

i love books with recipes--and actually made a recipe from a book (once!).

i also really enjoy reading essays and am adding this to the ole TBR pile.

bermudaonion said...

I love books with recipes too. I have this one on my wish list - it looks divine.

Tara said...

Diane, it's one of mine, too, and I've been looking for a better recipe than the one I had - I think I found it!

Melissa, it's a terrific book, I couldn't recommend it more!

Cath, let me know if you make it!

Danielle, Orangette is a great writer - makes me want to throw in the towel for sure!

Bybee, no problem!

booklineandsinker, hehe! I hope you like it!

Bermudaonion, I am drawn to them, always. I hope you like this.

Bree said...

That cake looks scrumous

joanna said...

wow, this book looks absolutely beautiful, thanks for letting us know about it. And the cake looks YUM!! :-)

Tara said...

Bree, yum - it was!

Joanna, It's such a lovely read. I know I'll go back to it, and not just for the recipes.

Bonnie said...

I am SO glad to hear that you give this book high praise. It's on my wishlist and I can't wait to read it.That lemon yogurt cake looks SO good. It reminds me of a Barefoot Contessa/Ina Garten recipe that I made for my book club a few months ago. It was a lemon pound cake and was to die for.

Tara said...

Bonnie, it's just a wonderful, wonderful book. I hope you like it. I love lemon pound cake - or any lemon cake! I may try this recipe with another citrus fruit next - limes?

Rebecca Reid said...

I too loved this book! I haven't cooked any of the recipes yet, but that one seems like a great place to start!