Tag Archive | recipes

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, by Lucy Knisley (book review) – yummy graphic novel of foodie memories

book cover of Relish My Life in the Kitchen by  Lucy Knisley published by First SecondMom the chef, Dad the gourmet,
Lucy the adventurous eater
(and secret junk food lover).

Memoir, graphic novel, and best-of-best recipes for your delectation fill this yum-worthy tale of artist Lucy Knisley‘s growing-up years in a food-worshiping household.

If reading Relish doesn’t make you want to try your hand at rolling sushi or making your own summer pickles (it’s all drawn there for you in vivid color), well, then you should just page back through and stir up some Carbonara or Mom’s Pesto.

What foods bring back wonderful memories of your younger years?
Have you captured those recipes already?

Book info: Relish: My Life in the Kitchen / written and illustrated by Lucy Knisley. First Second Books, 2013.  [author site]  [publisher site]

My book talk: Being raised by food-lovers gives Lucy a unique perspective on all aspects of growing, locating, preparing, and (most of all) enjoying the wonderful eats of the world. Her artistic abilities and touchstone recipes capture these food memories on the page in appetizing color.

Her mom headed up famed NYC emporium Dean and DeLuca’s cheese department while expecting Lucy; that explains much about their shared delight in dairy products. After her parents divorced, the city kid found herself deep in the country as her chef-mother began a gourmet vegetable farm and kicked off area farmers’ markets. The freshness of the produce made up a little for the lack of taxis and take-out, but Lucy did enjoy going back to Manhattan to visit her dad and fine restaurants there (he loved Mom’s cooking, but didn’t ever cook).

Through her growing-up years, Lucy mastered the ultimate chocolate chip cookie as a way to connect with new classmates (and shares her recipe), ate her way through a small Mexican town (oh, Huevos Rancheros!), helped her mom during catering gigs (leftover pesto is great), and headed off to art school in Chicago with her tastebuds ready for foods both familiar and new.

This graphic novel autobiography will whisk readers to far-off places (imagine being allergic to soy in Japan!), peaceful country farms (except for those malicious geese), and eateries large and small as the artist shares her favorite recipes and her lifelong foodie love affair with Relish.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Don’t Sit On the Baby! by Halley Bondy (book review) – babysitting skills and safety guide

book cover of Dont Sit on the Baby by Halley Bondy published by Zest BooksThinking about babysitting to make money?
Can you tolerate runny noses and poopy diapers?
Are you calm in emergency situations?
Ready to fold paper hats or read a bedtime story?

With the advice and skills in this book, you can become a better sitter as you advertise and run your own business providing an important service for parents and families in your community.

So update your infant and children CPR training, practice your pattycakes and freeze tag skills, and keep both eyes on the kiddos with your cellphone in your pocket for emergencies on the job.

As a mom, grandmother, and former babysitter, I think that Don’t Sit on the Baby  is a great addition to your sitter’s bag, along with the storybooks, washable markers, and origami paper. Get it today at your local independent bookstore and ask your library to get a copy so other sitters can be prepared, too.


Book info: Don’t Sit On the Baby: The Ultimate Guide to Sane, Skilled, and and Safe Babysitting / Halley Bondy. Zest Books, 2012.  [author’s website]   [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My Book Talk: Babysitting can be a great way for teens to earn money and gain skills for future jobs. Use the advice and fun hints in this guide to get ready for the unique challenges of caring for children while learning how to balance their fun and safety, too.

First off, take the quiz in chapter one to see if your personality is suited for being a sitter. The author is very honest about the messes and possible behaviors of newborns, infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and grade-school kids. Certification in infant and child CPR is a must for any potential sitter. Keeping parents up-to-date on possible concerns about kids’ health and behavior is part of the job, too.

Diapers and potties are part of any sitting job, as is safety in the house and outside. Important issues covered include being prepared for emergencies, creative playtime, feeding hungry kids, homework help, dealing with tantrums, bathing kids safely, and getting them to sleep.

Enjoy “Tales From the Crib” recounted by teen sitters, like the lengthy question-and-answer game to find something (anything!) that a toddler would eat, an unstoppable smoke alarm, and the four-year-old who discussed how her boyfriend proposed marriage on the playground.

Since sitting involves money, this book also includes advice on how to advertise, interviewing with parents, deciding how much to charge, your income tax obligations, and how to gracefully resign. An annotated list of websites about sitter training, emergency information, and kid-friendly entertainment ideas rounds out this great guide to a popular and important teen job. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Insanewiches, by Adrian Fiorino (book review) – super sandwiches, creative cooking fun

Fun Friday and ready to make your lunchbox the envy of everyone at the table with Insanewiches, an amazing album of edible art that you can make at home.

Wildly inventive sandwich artist Fiorino brings us clear instructions on how to design and construct A+ sandwiches from teeny Cutecumber ‘Wich to gigantic Quadruple Down. Grab your edible ink markers and amaze your lunch buddies with your own Insanewich.

Equipment and tools needed? Cataloged.
Best breadstuffs for intricate cut-out shapes? Listed.
Hunger-inducing color photos for each Insanewich? Absolutely!

If anyone can make a better sandwich than the Cordless Mousewich with USB Cheesestick or popular Rubik’s Cubewich, it’ll be Fiorino!
Be sure to check the Insanewiches blog for new recipes, contests, and other funny stuff.

Book info: Insanewiches / Adrian Fiorino. St. Martins Griffin, 2011 [author’s website] [publisher website] [book trailer] [Review copy and cover image courtesy of publisher]

My Book Talk: If the sandwiches in your life are boring, square, or blah, you need Insanewiches! No ho-hum PBJs in this collection of yummy toteables created for breakfast, party time, dessert, and even lunchboxes.

Try breakfast on a stick with Pancake Popwiches or open wide, wide, wider for the amazingly tall morning stack-up entitled The Breakfast Club (sandwich artist Fiorino advises that you eat no more than these per day – it’s that big!).

Take a “Don’t Eat Like a Bird” sandwich featuring a two-tone bread birdhouse shape in your lunchbox or assemble a sad, sad Flatbread Fred with delectable vegetable eyes and nose for a quick lunch at home.

Get adventurous with an East Meets Westdog (sushi + hotdog!) or the Cold Cut Cage Match (complete with wrestling arena on top!). King Me with the ham and cheese checkerboard, try to lift the Sumo Sandwich, or go all out with a Crazy Canuck Sandwich – dinner will never be the same again… Satisfy your sweet tooth with a dessert-worthy Banana Splitwich, a clever Coffee ‘n’ Cakewich, or The Curious Carrot Cake Sandwich.

With 101 ideas for amazing, crazy Insanewiches to choose from, you’ll always have the tastiest plate in town, plus well-explained food-assembly techniques for making your own sandwich dreams a reality.