Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Kitchens of the Great Midwest
by J Ryan Stradal

Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Pages: 320
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  When Lars Thorvald’s wife, Cynthia, falls in love with wine—and a dashing sommelier—he’s left to raise their baby, Eva, on his own. He’s determined to pass on his love of food to his daughter—starting with puréed pork shoulder. As Eva grows, she finds her solace and salvation in the flavors of her native Minnesota. From Scandinavian lutefisk to hydroponic chocolate habaneros, each ingredient represents one part of Eva’s journey as she becomes the star chef behind a legendary and secretive pop-up supper club, culminating in an opulent and emotional feast that’s a testament to her spirit and resilience.

Each chapter in J. Ryan Stradal’s startlingly original debut tells the story of a single dish and character, at once capturing the zeitgeist of the Midwest, the rise of foodie culture, and delving into the ways food creates community and a sense of identity. By turns quirky, hilarious, and vividly sensory, Kitchens of the Great Midwest is an unexpected mother-daughter story about the bittersweet nature of life—its missed opportunities and its joyful surprises. It marks the entry of a brilliant new talent.
 


Kritters Thoughts:  A book about a girl Eva, yet only one chapter is told from Eva's point of view; the rest of the chapters are told from people who are around Eva from family to friends to new acquaintances - it was new and unique.  

The book starts with a chapter "before" Eva as the reader meets her parents and her life from the beginning.  Then with the second chapter Eva takes the lead and then the next chapters come from the view points of those around her.  I also loved how each chapter had a food "theme"; some are subtle and some not so much, but I loved watching Eva grow from a hesitant girl to confident businesswoman and the food that took her on that journey.

There was only one chapter where I felt like Eva didn't play a big part and it wasn't my favorite (the second to last), but it didn't change my feelings for the book.  I loved how Eva came in and out of the other chapters and it felt all "six degrees of Kevin Bacon".

A great combination of fiction, food, family and friends and I loved reading Eva's adventure.


Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Viking and Penguin.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.


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