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Kitchens of the Great Midwest
Kitchens of the Great Midwest | J. Ryan Stradal
Amazon Indiebound Barnes and Noble WorldCat Goodreads LibraryThing
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blurb
intothehallofbooks
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My sixth (!!!) read of this book was via audio on a road trip this weekend with my husband. I‘ve always hoped he would read it and listening together was wonderful. So much of this story speaks directly to my heart, from all of the food bits to the found family aspect. This is one of my go-to comfort reads. I just saw that J Ryan Stradal has a new book set to publish April 2023 and I am OVERJOYED. One of my absolute favorites.

Chelsea.Poole I love this book dearly as well! I can‘t wait for his newest! 3mo
Kimzey What a great recommendation! Added to my stack! 3mo
23 likes1 stack add2 comments
review
Bojo2006
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Pickpick

This book tells the life story of Eva Thorvald in a unique format - each chapter is from the perspective of a different character. The author created authentic characters…some more likeable than others. Very clever read. Loved it!

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Cortg
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My April reads. I got a little sidetracked this month 😳 only one book for challenges and of course my book club book, which was a reread. I hope to focus a little better on book choices next month! #pop22 #Booked2022

@KarenUK @Cinfhen @Kalalalatja @Megabooks @4thhouseontheleft @BarbaraBB @Laughterhp @RaeLovesToRead @jenniferw88 @squirrelbrain @BarbaraTheBibliophage

jenniferw88 The Deep will work for #39 #pop22! 9mo
Cortg @jenniferw88 1) You‘re right! I didn‘t think of that 2) I read Kindred last month so I have that prompt checked off 🤨 I really appreciate you looking to see if anything fits! This is an AWESOME group of readers. Thank you! ❤️ 9mo
Cinfhen Sometimes you just gotta read what you wanna read!!! It‘s all good - 9mo
34 likes3 comments
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Cortg
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I forgot to tag #booked2022 with Includes a Recipes I enjoyed the characters the different POV‘s that revolves around Eva as she grew up and found her place.

Cinfhen I was gonna say you can use this for #Booked2022 too!!! 10mo
Cortg @Cinfhen I need to get my challenges organized! I‘m such a rookie! 10mo
43 likes2 comments
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Cortg
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Pickpick

I really enjoyed the characters and story! This reminded me a bit of Olive Kitteridge, getting to know the people who have made an impression and helped Eva in becoming the person and chef she becomes. Overall a sweet story about life‘s ups and downs and the people that become a part of your journey. #pop22~ a book with a recipe

Cinfhen I LOVE Olive!! I might have to try this book!! 10mo
BarbaraBB Well played. A difficult prompt for me! 10mo
See All 11 Comments
squirrelbrain I liked this book @Cinfhen - I think you would too! 10mo
squirrelbrain @BarbaraBB - Cindy has sent me a book for this prompt. I can send it on to you when I‘ve read it if you like? 10mo
Cinfhen @BarbaraBB have you read this book 👉🏽it has recipes and it‘s great 10mo
Cortg @barbarabb After starting this one, I learned the tagged book has recipes and I own a copy and I‘m trying to read and pass on my owned books. Oh well! Here‘s a decent list of books with recipes if you want to sneak a peak https://offtheshelf.com/2015/10/11-delicious-food-novels-to-savor/?ref=tfrecipes 10mo
Cortg @Cinfhen I agree with @squirrelbrain you‘d probably enjoy this book. It‘s on the lighter side and each chapter is kinda the POV of someone different in Eva‘s circle for whatever reason, big or small. Some intertwine with others but not all if that makes sense. (edited) 10mo
Cinfhen It‘s stacked!! I‘ll look for it / thanks for the recommendation @squirrelbrain and Cort 😘 10mo
BarbaraBB Thanks so much!! 10mo
Cortg @BarbarBB No problem! 10mo
48 likes11 comments
review
EvieBee
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Pickpick

I don‘t know why it took me so long to finally read this! A delightful read that touched on the sweet and bittersweet moments in life. I appreciated the smallness of the towns and characters and the big heart of it all.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

StaceGhost Oh man! I loved this book too! It made me want to cook all my favorites & then eat them all lol 10mo
jlhammar Loved this one! Had to make some peanut butter bars after reading it. Also loved The Lager Queen of Minnesota. Hope we get a new book from him soon! 10mo
kspenmoll I read this while I was visiting my sister in Omaha & loved it! Perfect for NE although not technically “midwest.” 10mo
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EvieBee @StaceGhost Yes! I wanted comfort food after this. 10mo
EvieBee @jlhammar I really want to make those! 10mo
EvieBee @kspenmoll I know exactly what you mean! I think it‘s perfect. 10mo
80 likes6 comments
blurb
intothehallofbooks
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My last read of 2021 is a reread of one of my top favorites. I chose to read my treasured ARC copy because I love this cover more than the others on my shelves. Every time I read this book, the characters speak new things to me. I relate with some *so much* and I find great humor in others. The part of me that loves food and cooking narratives loves this story SO HARD, as does the part of me that loves stories about found family. Just brilliant.

IamIamIam Love love LOVE this book!!! ❤ 13mo
Tamra I really need to give this a try again. Maybe not the audio. 13mo
jlhammar Loved this and Lager Queen of Minnesota! 13mo
EvieBee I am finally reading this book. Don‘t know why it took me so long. 11mo
26 likes4 comments
review
MallenNC
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Pickpick

I didn‘t read anything about this before I started, and I think that‘s for the best. The description wouldn‘t have enticed me since I‘m not a foodie person. I ended up enjoying these linked stories because it was fun to see how the threads fit together. Also, this is maybe weird to say, but it was refreshing how mean/self-centered/imperfect the characters were. The chapter on Octavia was my favorite. Read for the Modern Mrs Darcy Book Club.

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Carolyn11215
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Pickpick

A wonderful book of connected vignettes that each tell the story of a single dish and a character important in the life of Eva, providing an interesting way of watching her grow from a baby who is fascinated by a farmer‘s market table of unusual tomatoes into a renowned chef who, for a steep price and years on a waitlist, provides small groups of food enthusiasts with an ever changing “adventure meal” that they will never forget.

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jenniferajanes
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Pickpick

This is a bittersweet book about a young woman, Eva Thorvald, and the people who move in and out of her orbit over the first 25 years of her life. It‘s much more character-driven than plot-driven, and it left me feeling a little melancholy. I am not sorry I read it. I love how it shows how the people we surround ourselves with affect who we become.

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OutAndAbout
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Pickpick

Excellent book about how food means more to some people than just physical nourishment. I read this one without reading any reviews or the jacket copy based on someone else‘s recommendation and I‘m glad I did. The structure was unique and the characters 3 dimensional and well developed. Not understanding where the book was going made it a much more interesting experience. My husband at one point said “you‘re obsessed with this book”. High praise.

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suvata
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Mehso-so

The novel centers around Eva, a culinary prodigy born with a “once-in-a-generation palate” to a chef father and a sommelier mother. Though growing up in poverty and facing numerous challenges, by age 10 Eva is growing chocolate habanero peppers in her room and selling them to local restaurants.

I just skimmed through the recipe sections but I did enjoy the heart of the story.

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rachelm
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Tomorrow is my chat with J Ryan Stradal for The Bookworm in Omaha, NE! Link below to join us on Crowdcast for a conversation about the Midwest, the craft of writing, and craft beer.

3pm CST on 1/24/21

Link to sign up here: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/mckenny_stradal

valeriegeary Sounds like a plan! 🙌🏻 2y
kspenmoll Sounds wonderful. I read Kitchens of the Great Midwest when I was visiting my sister in Omaha. Enjoyed it so much! Something about being there while reading... 2y
See All 12 Comments
rachelm @kspenmoll I can‘t wait to ask him about writing and structuring that book. It‘s such a feat to write a book like that 2y
ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled I was born in Omaha but moved to Texas when still a toddler. My parents, though, are native midwesterners, so I think I could relate to this! My accent was weird - said both “warsh” (instead of wash) and “pop” for soda but then also used “y‘all” and “yonder” 🤦‍♀️😆Stacked! (edited) 2y
rachelm @ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled I lived in Omaha most of my life ❤️ I live in Iowa now, but am so excited to do an event for my book at the bookstore I grew up with! 2y
ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled This is so exciting! Big congratulations! I can‘t wait to read your book!! 2y
rachelm @ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled thank you! It‘s been a wild ride!! 2y
Amandajoy I live in Omaha & love that bookstore! But my step kids are here this weekend, so I can‘t join the fun. 2y
rachelm @Amandajoy have a good time! If you feel like catching it later, I‘ll be recorded on that link after the event ☺️ be well! It‘s a cold one today 2y
ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled Enjoyed the discussion yesterday! Reading The Butterfly Effect now (love it!) and Kitchens will be next! 2y
rachelm @ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled I‘m so glad you liked the chat! I had a blast. Let me know what you think of Kitchens and thanks for reading Butterfly Effect! 2y
63 likes2 stack adds12 comments
blurb
erzascarletbookgasm
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This book embraces a passion for food.
#wordsofoctober #aromatic

Aims42 I‘m reading “The Lager Queen of the Midwest” now and I love it!! I want to read this one next, it sounds good 2y
LeslieO One of my favorite books! And is that a Mackenzie Child‘s teakettle in the background? I‘ve always wanted one. 2y
OriginalCyn620 📚👍🏻📚 2y
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Reggie I need to read this, I loved The Lager Queen of Minnesota. 2y
erzascarletbookgasm @LeslieO What sharp eyes you have! I prefer the flower market edition. But that‘s not my kitchen, it‘s a random pic I got online.😅 2y
LeslieO Haha! Good pic choice! 2y
55 likes6 comments
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monalyisha
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Pickpick

I surprised myself by loving this book club pick, about a talented chef who grows up ignorant of her tragic beginning (her mother abandons her as a baby & her devoted, smitten father, a chef himself, dies suddenly; she‘s raised by her loving but plebeian aunt & uncle).

There are a lot of characters & POV‘s, all different (from punk rock to pitiful), but like ingredients in a perfect dish, it‘s a pleasure to witness how they all come together.👇🏻

monalyisha 1/1: The final section reminds me of “The Night Circus”, almost, in that it‘s largely experience & sensation-based — but with more emotion, character development, & subtle complexity than exists in Morgenstern‘s tale (which, by the way, I loved...so this is really saying something!). This is one of those times where being in a book club has totally paid off. 💯 (edited) 2y
CogsOfEncouragement I enjoyed reading this with a book club a few years ago. 2y
68 likes3 stack adds2 comments
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monalyisha
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“The tomatoes were so full of richness and warm blood, it was like eating a sleeping animal.”

Graywacke Yum...wait...no no. Not yum 😳🙂 2y
Riveted_Reader_Melissa Wait! That started so nice and then...no! 2y
monalyisha @Graywacke @Riveted_Reader_Melissa Ha! I know, I know! But it‘s kind of a perfect description to describe what food can do (make you feel so vital & vulnerable; & I love that it‘s ascribed to a vegetable [well, fruit, actually, I s‘pose]). 2y
See All 6 Comments
Graywacke @monalyisha it‘s a terrific line! 2y
Wordsling @monalyisha loved the description 2y
TheSpineView Make it sounds awful. But the line gets your attention. 2y
63 likes6 comments
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monalyisha
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“He spent the rest of the class entranced, watching Keeley‘s mouth make noise, as he luxuriated in the hopeful blood shimmering through his veins.”

TheSpineView Yuck! 🤮 2y
monalyisha @TheSpineView Ha! Not a big fan of blood, I take it. 2y
36 likes2 comments
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monalyisha
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I‘m not saying I dislike it...but this might be the most emo passage I‘ve ever read:

“They are not the ones with the hardness to make others wait; they are the ones left waiting, until their souls are broken like old bread and scattered in the snow for birds. They can go right ahead and aspire to the stars, but the only chance they‘ll ever have to fly is in a thousand pieces, melting in the hot guts of something predatory.”

sleepy.ash87 Lol very emo! 2y
47 likes1 comment
review
Smarkies
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Pickpick

I am not a foodie but have an affinity towards food related books. 😬
This was an easy and comforting read. I liked that there was no hard conclusion for anything - as that is how life generally is.

Chelsea.Poole Loved this one🌶 2y
intothehallofbooks One of my absolute favorites!! 2y
33 likes2 comments
blurb
Kelly_the_Bookish_Sidekick
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#3books that we're recommended to me.

I don't get recs often but a few years ago I seemed bookish online friends to tell me their favorite books. These are the books that came up more than once. I still haven't read them. 😬

rachelm Kitchens of the Great is one of my absolute favorites!! 2y
Scochrane26 I haven‘t read Kitchens, but I love the other 2. 2y
CogsOfEncouragement I read Kitchens of the Great Midwest with a book club and really enjoyed it. 2y
49 likes3 comments
review
IamIamIam
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Pickpick

I had no idea what I was expecting but this is going to cause a huge book hangover. Follow the life of Eva Thorvald through influential characters on the road to her becoming a celebrity chef. Stradal reminds me of Hiaasen (😳 I went there!) as he weaves a beautiful tapestry around Eva. This will be a definite reread and I will NOT be lending this out. 😁 Now, about those peanut butter bars... everyone loves bars, don't they??

Librarybelle I really liked this one! 3y
IamIamIam @Librarybelle I was so surprised by this!!! 😁😁 3y
Andrew65 Sounds great 👏👏👏 3y
46 likes4 comments
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IamIamIam
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I was really enjoying this book... then I read "year three was the white colonial McDonald's in Hyde Park, New York." That's our super fancy McDonald's and it's in NEW Hyde Park, not Hyde Park which is 4 hours north. ??? Anyway, if you're on Long Island, not the home of FDR but the summer home of TR, be sure to look for the historic colonial McDonald's on Jericho Turnpike. #LongIslandLittens

mrp27 I've eaten there before! Not for the food but for the awesome space. 3y
31 likes1 comment
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IamIamIam
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I really feel this way deep down in my guts and God, it hurts!!! 😫

**Except that this particular character is a delusional ass... 🤣

intothehallofbooks I love this book so much ♥️ 3y
IamIamIam @intothehallofbooks I had no idea why this was sitting on my shelf or what possessed me to buy it originally. I'm insanely glad I did!!! I'm nearly through with it and it's only been 2 days!!! 💕 What is your favorite thing about the book? 3y
intothehallofbooks @IamIamIam Good question! My favorite thing is probably that every time I reread it or relisten to the audiobook, I can relate fairly strongly to a different character‘s particular story. Depending on what‘s going on in my life. On first pass, it seems like a really fun story. But on rereads, I‘ve noticed how fully developed the characters are even though we only know most of them for a short time. This has become one of my comfort reads! 3y
29 likes3 comments
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Jebpix
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Pickpick

Really enjoyed this. Captures so many characters and nuances of the Midwest. Looking forward to whatever he writes next.

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mom2bugnbee
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3 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
4 ⭐⭐⭐
1 ⭐⭐

On to June! 🎉

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mom2bugnbee
Pickpick

Well, I ripped through the last half of this book! So intriguing! Not too heavy, not too light - lots of fun!

⭐⭐⭐⭐/⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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mom2bugnbee
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This is fun. I really don't want to say anything about the plot, because big twists happen early. You have to be okay with time jumps, but they're all in one direction. A @Liberty recommendation, so you can't go wrong!

Victoriahoperose Love this book!!! 3y
mom2bugnbee @Victoriahoperose I tore through the last half! 3y
25 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Eggs
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Preparing a #feast is a labor of love

#magicalmay

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juliegumdrop
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I never used to listen to audiobooks, but here I am totally loving it. This one is for my monthly #bookclub. I like how the narrator does a midwestern accent for dialogue.

CogsOfEncouragement I read this for a book club too. Enjoy! 3y
17 likes1 comment
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cleoh
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Morning @OriginalCyn620 🌸 here‘s some pretty art I found on a walk a few days ago! It‘s rainy and grey here today, which is the perfect weather to have my window wide open while I read the tagged book and drink my warm coffee! #isolationinteractions

OriginalCyn620 Good morning! That‘s beautiful...thanks for sharing! 😊 Hope your day is a good one! 3y
94 likes1 comment
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cleoh
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Good morning @OriginalCyn620 🥰 I keep waking up before my alarm so I‘m hoping to get a couple chapters of this read before my meeting at 8:30. I‘d like to recommend throwing a dance party when you wake up - put your headphones in (or turn on the stereo if you can rope your family into it) and dance for 10 minutes! It‘s a great way to start the day ☺️

OriginalCyn620 Good morning! I don‘t have to set my alarm since school is shut down, and I love it! I also love the idea of a dance party but I can‘t do anything before my first cup of coffee. ☕️ So, coffee first, then dancing! And I do bust out some dance moves randomly throughout the day, which prompts weird looks from my daughters if they catch me. 😂 Have a good day! 3y
85 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Reviewsbylola
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J Ryan was so fun to chat with tonight. Some interesting tidbits that came out—he started the book with the final menu, so the story came from that; he wrote the 1st chapter last; he is sick of Pat Pragar‘s peanut butter bars; this is his first published novel and it sold within 8 days; he had barely any input on the cover but the reason it doesn‘t have the blue background of the ARC is because Target said they like lighter covers. 😂

britt_brooke Cool! 3y
Amiable I loved this book! 3y
mcctrish I loved this book 3y
Prairiegirl_reading I think about those peanut butter bars A LOT! Also I‘ve taken a liking to craft beer since finishing 3y
Mdargusch Love this! 3y
74 likes5 comments
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Reviewsbylola
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Pickpick

Book club tonight! Since we‘re discussing the tagged book, I made one of the recipes included. Pat‘s award winning peanut butter bars, with the help of my sous chef. 😂

J Ryan is the BIL of my friend, so he‘ll be Skyping in to our discussion. I have two questions percolating so far. One has to do with cover selection (the UK cover is far superior to the US one and I want to know how much influence he had on cover selection.) the other question ⬇️

Reviewsbylola has to do with the included recipes. Was the story inspired by the recipes? Did he already know what recipes he wanted to include and he wrote the stories around them? And has he made them all? Any other burning questions I should ask? 3y
BarbaraBB I don‘t know the book but your souschef is adorable 😍 3y
Christine Excellent questions to which I would love to hear the answers, please report back!! 3y
See All 8 Comments
Cathythoughts Gorgeous girl 💕 3y
LeeRHarry Loved this book! Borrowed from a friend a while ago and recently bought my own copy as I know I‘ll want to reread it 😊 3y
kspenmoll Your sous chef is the cutest. Great questions. I enjoyed the book- read it when visiting Omaha. 3y
LeahBergen What a sweetheart. 💕 3y
Mdargusch Cutie! 😍😍😍 3y
90 likes8 comments
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Well-ReadNeck
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Pickpick

This one has been on #MountTBR for quite a while. I decided to go on my library‘s OverDrive page to see if I might be able to knock a couple out by listening. Yay! This was well-narrated and I enjoyed it on audio.

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Redwritinghood
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Mehso-so

I liked the first half of the book. While it all came together in the end, I didn‘t like that the second half because it really went off on some tangents. If you‘re a real foodie, this would probably be a great feel good read.

readordierachel I'm curious about his books. Was this at all saccharine? I'm cautious of books that people call "heartwarming." 3y
Redwritinghood @readordierachel I didn‘t find it saccharine. It was very much about foodie culture, though, so it might be more enjoyable if you‘re into that. 3y
52 likes2 comments
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Eggs
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This novel honors the #labouroflove that is cooking 🥘. Preparing and presenting food shared with others is an intimate social experience worth the time and labour.

#soulseptember
@Eggs

Jenken1998 This has been on my shelf forever 3y
SheilaChew One of my favorite books! 3y
lynneamch I think I need to try this again as book or Kindle. Bailed on the audio version. 3y
Howard_L @lynneamch you were probably right the first time...I‘m bailing on the Kindle book. I wanted to like it but nope. 3y
lynneamch @Howard_L Ha. It came available on my Overdrive holds recently and I was too busy with other reads. With your comment, I think I'm finally ready to let it go. Thanks. 3y
79 likes2 stack adds5 comments
review
Blaire
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Pickpick

Eva is born to a chef and a sommelier and the her life story and that of those around her is told through their significant food experiences. Both pokes fun at and has reverence for locavore foodie culture, with an appreciation for bars. The different sections seemed disparate at times but came together to show how each person‘s choices played out. An enjoyable read.

JamieArc I just listened to an interview with this author about his newest book that was really interesting. The interview was with Ari Shapiro, if you wanted to search for it. 4y
Blaire @JamieArc I will! Thanks for letting me know. 4y
60 likes1 stack add2 comments
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SheilaChew
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The peanut butter bars are amazing! The book is even better. Read the book. Make the bars. Thank me later 💕

Darklunarose They look delicious! 4y
39 likes1 comment
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SheilaChew
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I‘m making Pat Prager‘s Peanut Butter Bars from this book, and I can‘t wait to try them! (Recipe is in the book and on Pinterest)

Tamra Yum! 4y
41 likes1 comment
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BookishMarginalia
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Lots of fabulous books from Christine! I feel the #LitsyGoesPostal ❤️ ! I‘ve wanted the tagged book for a long time and I‘m a sucker for Nancy Milford biographies! And a book about cooking from books? Sold! The Making of a Carpenter looks riveting —and I‘ll probably have to arm wrestle @WanderingBookaneer for it! I‘ve been intrigued by the Eve of Destruction for a while — the premise just sounds so good! And I love journals (and I persist too!) 💜

BookishMarginalia @Christine here‘s the tag 🏷 that I can‘t put in the post 🤔🤷🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️ 4y
LeahBergen Voracious is really good! 👏🏻👏🏻 4y
Christine Aww yay, I hope you enjoy all of the books! I really loved Voracious (agreed, @LeahBergen !) and the tagged book (having grown up in a great kitchen of the Midwest myself!). And Hammer Head is one of my all-time favorite memoirs - just fantastic, and well worth arm wrestling over! 😜 4y
BookishMarginalia @Christine You did an excellent job choosing — they all look terrific! 4y
110 likes4 comments
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whatsthEStorey
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Mehso-so

Interwoven stories centering around Eva & food in the Midwest with lovely recipes throughout. A nice story and concept. This only gets a so-so from me because it doesn‘t delve deep enough into any of the characters for me to care very much.

Amiable I really liked this one. 4y
44 likes1 comment
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mcctrish
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Pickpick

I really had no idea what the story was and consequently it was a wonderful surprise of a book. It‘s about karma and hard work and that life isn‘t fair and doing your best and making good choices despite everything going on around you. It‘s almost like short stories with characters that reappear, which allows the story to jump ahead time wise with a bit of back story and not a lot of blah, blah, blah. The ending was nice in a full circle way.

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mcctrish
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I‘m not in the mid-west ( I live in South Western Ontario ) but this is what I made for dinner on Sunday and doubled it so I‘d have an easy dinner for Thursday when I go to book club 🥇roasted veg and meatballs served up on quinoa

ItsAnotherJen Omg I wish I could have some of this! 😋 4y
mcctrish @JenFowler I‘d share if you were close 4y
Susannah Looks terrific. Seriously yummy. 4y
See All 6 Comments
mcctrish Thank you @Susannah it was a high point in dinner prep this week by a long shot 🤣 4y
ValerieAndBooks We used to live near Detroit years ago , so have been to London ON a few times 😊. Hope you‘re staying warm this week! 4y
mcctrish @ValerieAndBooks thanks, many places are way colder than here but it does suck when your face hurts when you go outside 🤣 4y
44 likes6 comments
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whatsthEStorey
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“One of the things that Eva hated the most about being a kid was how everyone always told her that childhood was the best time of their entire lives, and don't grow up too fast, and enjoy these carefree days while you can. In those moments, her body felt like the world's smallest prison, and she escaped in her mind to her chile plants....”

I remember this feeling!

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Laura317
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Pickpick

I really don‘t know what to say about this book. It all revolves around Eva and food. The book seems disjointed and jarring in spots, but I liked it. Seeing the different threads come together at the end was satisfying.

LeeRHarry I enjoyed this one too 😊 4y
58 likes1 comment
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Laura317
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Starting this since work is beyond dead.

CogsOfEncouragement I read this with a book club a couple years ago. We all enjoyed it. 4y
Eggs Enjoyed this one 4y
49 likes1 stack add2 comments
review
Acor
Pickpick

I loved each story and its connection to food. Even more, I loved that these connections were constructed in cycles of people with ingredients and those ingredients bringing people together.