Thursday, September 10, 2015

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal

When this book first came out, I wasn't 100% sure, from the descriptions, if it was a novel or memoir. Either way, I was pretty sure I wanted to read it. It is the story of Eva Thorvald, an iconic and imaginative chef, told not about her directly, but via vignettes from the pov of people who have floated in and out of her life, starting with her sommelier mother who abandons her in infancy, and her chef father who also leaves her in infancy, not by choice, but by death. Eva's climb to becoming the figure behind a phenomenally successful and sought-after popup dinner event is fascinating. When well done, which is the case here, the interweaving of stories and characters is a delight to follow and find individual threads while enjoying the whole cloth... or to use a culinary example, it's the ability to find and appreciate the subtle hint of thyme against the burst of rosemary, while enjoying the mouth-feel of the meal. (And for the record, the only time I ever ate sweet pepper jelly was when I was pregnant.)


  1. Sounds interesting. I take it there's no recipe for tuna hot dish? ;-)

  2. To be honest, there were a number of recipes included within the text, but I glossed over them, which is unusual for me. I think it's because there are so many things I can't eat right now, as they try to figure out what I reacted to that got me so sick, that reading recipes seems more like torture than pleasure.