The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball

I have always half seriously said I wanted to be a farmer.  I have maintained a meager garden.  I know the thrill of seeing two small starts produce 40 green cucumbers. I know the frustration of weeds and disappointment of a small or failed yield. However, I never knew the intensity of the time, labor, and grind on one’s body to run a working farm.  After reading this book I knew, and you will too.  Farming is more than kitchy decorations and fresh eggs.

To order this book on amazon click here:  The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love

the dirty lifeI adored this book from the first page to the last.   The author and her boyfriend, Mark pursue their dream to become farmers on a run-down plot of land.  She follows us through their first seasons of restoration, reviving, planting, harvesting, and an unrelentless amount of work.   I fell in love with their first milking cow, Delia, and their first draft horses Sam and Silver. I was amazed at the attatchment I felt for cows and horses.  The science of making cheese, whey, maple syrup, and butchering animals, are all described with the best blend of science and heart.  I learned how to cook liver, strain fresh milk, and kill a pigeon for dinner from reading this book. (Could I do it? No, but I admire Kimball for doing it.)  The farm to table movement has become such a hip and happening trend, but these two people live farm to table from sun up to sun down, and sometimes straight through the night.  Read this book, it is fantastic.

You can see pictures and read more about what they do on her blog and their website.  Here are the links:

http://www.kristinkimball.com/

http://www.essexfarmcsa.com/

Seattle Food Writer- Molly Wizenberg

Molly Wizenberg also deserves her own post, she is a local Seattle Restaurant owner, blogger, writer, and mother.  I highly reccomend reading both of her books, good fall reading, great for food lovers, seattle lovers, paris lovers, or anyone with a heart, soul, or palette.

My sweet friend Kim recently called this blog, my shop around the corner.  I consider that a high compliment, not only because it was Meg Ryan at her peak, but because it represents pursuing the stirrings of your soul.  Molly Wiezenberg’s books are her shop around the corner.  The restaurant Delancy is the shop around the corner their marriage built.  I have loved reading her journey of life through food, love, book writing, and restaurant building.

She captures the essence of following your dreams through the exciting and weary times.  She is honest, but never whiny, humorous, but never snarky.  I read Delancy in one day.  This avid reader has never finished a non-fiction book in that time frame.  These books are delicious slices of life.

A Homemade Life

A Homemade LifeTo finish this book I sat down on a Sunday night with a glass of wine, a plate lined with small rectangles of unusual cheese, and a hunk of bread ripped in half; half to eat with the cheese, half smeared with butter, a dessert of sorts.  A Homemade Life is rich and delightful.  The book reads like a story, but set in a land of delicious eats.  Molly tells the story of her life one recipe at a time.  It never lags, it never feel forced or contrived.  Her love story flows out of her shared love of food with her sweet and charming husband.  You will want to eat, cook, drink, love, and live boldly after you read this book.  I never buy books, I am a strict library patron, but I need this book on my shelf.  I am bringing her Apples Tarte Tatin to our book club this week.  I am thankful she suggests using pastry dough from Trader Joe’s, and I am anxious to try her fennel salad and Ratatouille.  When the author met her husband her friend cheered her on saying, “Don’t stop now.  This is the bread and butter! This is what it is all about.” I smiled as I finished the book and finished my bread and butter in my cozy home on a Sunday night.  This book is bread and butter.  Savor it to the end.

To Order this book on Amazon, click here:

A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table

Delancey

Delancey_coverGetting to experience Delancy was a practice in patience. I saw this book on the Seattle Public Library website and requested it.  I was number 184 in line. I waited from April to October to get my copy.   Then a friend asked me if I wanted to go to dinner at Delancy, she had heard it was good. It is a small pizza place in a tucked away Seattle Neighborhood.    We tried to go on a Saturday night, an hour wait.  We went to a neighborhood pub.  We went back on a Saturday night, prepared for a wait, and we waited 45 minutes.   The pizza was worth it, totally and completely worth it. I wanted a group of my great girlfriend’s to come and experience the pizza with me, we set a date.  I got there an hour early, put our name in, and then read in my car by flashlight for an hour.  We waited another hour for the diners before us to finish their pizza and chit-chat over coffee.  The wonderful hostess that handles the front playfully suggested we stare them down a bit.  I did.  They sipped their coffee.

Delancy, the book and the restaurant, were worth the wait.  I was enchanted by the story of their unrelenting determination to open their own little pizza place.  Many books I have read lately are about the pursuit of deep rooted dreams.  Delancy is the story of the dream to bring impeccably delectable wood fired pizza to Seattle.   I truly respect the people of Seattle with vision that make old things new and restore instead of destruct.  Molly and her husband do exactly that.   I felt a kinship with this book, at first I thought it is because I am Seattle resident; the story takes place in a ten mile radius from my home.  However, it is the story, not the setting that draws you in as a reader.  Regardless of where you live, the story is poignant, and reads like a novel.  It leaves you with a feeling of contentment and inspiration to pursue your relentless desires.   You will cheer for Molly and her husband.  Go to Delancy, you will dream of the White Pie long after it is finished.

To Order this book on Amazon, click here:

Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage

One-Sit-Wonders: 3 Books You Can Finish in a Single Day

Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Rosenthal 

Encyclopedia of an Ordinary LifeIf your quirky best friend wrote down all her thoughts on life and gave them to you alphabetized with diagrams and illustrations, it would turn out like this book.  It was such a sweet and pleasant read, not to deep, not too serious, just an enjoyable weekend read.  The author introduces the book by telling in the third person how her book came to be.  She was always out of the box, writing short bits and pieces of thought, but could never find a place for them in the publishing world.  Finally, she found her niche, and it is her Encyclopedia.  The alphabetical entries are in the format of a subject followed by an explanation.  Her life story unfolds to you in random thoughts that work together and make sense.  The ‘B’ section starts: Bad Movie, Bagpipers, Birthday, Birthmark.  Who can resist reading thoughts on Birthmarks and Bagpipers?   A great one-sit-wonder.

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Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life

The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Sun- Mi Hwang

The henIf you are on the hunt for a book that is: told from the view of a hen, translated from Japanese, is short but poignant, and can be read in a day, this is your book.  The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly is an unusual gem.  The story is told from the perspective of a hen who wants to hatch an egg, and her quest to battle the weasel who wants her as dinner.  Her journey is sweet and touching.  I have read a few books that have been translated from other languages and I really enjoy them.  When a book is translated it automatically has a different voice and feel than a book written in English first.  It is a characteristic that is hard to describe, however it makes the book all the more enjoyable.  The length of this book makes you feel like the Queen of the Castle, you can read it in a day and feel so accomplished.  I love a good classic tomb of a book that takes dedication and fervor, but there is something nice about a short little read.  If I could compare this book to chocolate, it would be a box of fine, handmade delicacies.  It is small, but exquisite.

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The Lover’s Dictionary by David Lavithan

The Lovers DictionaryI spent one afternoon idling in the road of life and enjoying ‘The Lover’s Dictionary.  It is a perfect procrastination book, if you fail to get something important accomplished, at least you can accomplish reading an entire book.  Now, people like books for different reasons, many are very personal and deeply rooted in convictions, emotions, experiences, etc.  The reason I liked this book is because it was so creative, bold, and short.  Levithan tells the story of his relationship in alphabetical order with selected words from the dictionary, and he does it well.  I did not love some of the events, but I loved the format and the voice of the writing.  I loved learning new words and expanding my vocabulary.  A good one-sit-wonder.

To Order this book on Amazon, click here:

The Lover’s Dictionary: A Novel