Relish is illustrator Lucy Knisley’s tribute to her love of food. Her food stories are told comic book style through lively, fun panels. Daughter of a food critic and a gourmet chef, she recounts a childhood in the kitchen, and family trips abroad including Mexico and Japan. It’s clear she grew up with the privilege to eat the finer things but she describes it in a likable way. And her youthful rebellion was endearing. If your parents feed you foie gras and other fancy foods, how do you rebel? You of course embrace McDonald’s, sugary cereals and other junk food. It was only a phase.
Two stories in particular were appealing. On a trip to Mexico her and a friend named Drew wandered about small town call San Miguel de Allende while their mothers were sick in the hotel. There she and Drew sampled the best tamales ever,“we ate them while sitting on the dusty curb, with cold grapefruit soda, making a mess of our clothes and our faces.” In the outdoor market place they sampled all kinds of wacky Mexican candy. Without giving away too much, both her and Drew go through funny adolescent changes during this trip. The chapter provides a recipe (P. 75)for huevos rancheros that looks fantastic (never tried it with black beans before).
My second favorite story was a visit to Venice. Italy isn’t high at the top of my list of places to visit but it may just be now. After buying fresh made croissants she sat along the river banks to watch gondolas. “The croissant exploded with warm, gooey apricot jam, which seeped from the inside of the moist freshly baked pastry.” Each chapter begins with a story and ends with a recipe. I appreciate that she admitted to not knowing how exactly to make a croissant, so she instead shares a sangria recipe.
Overall, this was a fun book with sweet illustrations. Relish at times feels a little cutesy but a middle aged man probably isn’t the intended audience. This book would to most people but particularly 20-something foodies. The book deserves points for originality. Graphic novel/cook books should be their own subcategory.
Notable Recipes: Huevos Rancheroes, Chai Tea, Pasta Carbonara, Sushi
Here are a couple of reviews of the book I appreciated: