Title: Kitchens of the Great Midwest
Author: J. Ryan Stradal
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Publish Date: July 28, 2015 (Today!)
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "Kitchens of the Great Midwest, about
a young woman with a once-in-a-generation palate who becomes the iconic
chef behind the country’s most coveted dinner reservation, is the
summer’s most hotly-anticipated debut.
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."
My Two Cents:
"Kitchens of the Great Midwest" is a book that has been getting a lot of buzz the summer. I was excited to read it but I always have a little bit of trepidation when it comes to books that are getting tons and tons of accolades before they even come out and seemingly come from nowhere. Is it real buzz or is it just a hot whiff of marketing air? In the case of this book, the accolades are definitely earned. I didn't quite know what to expect when I opened this book but I got a great reading experience with the story that engaged me from the very beginning. Each chapter tells the story of a recipe and an inter-related character.
It's sort of hard to describe what's going on in this book because there is so much and it covers such a wide swath of years. This is not to say that the book is disjointed at all! Most of this story focuses on Eva, a girl who is never felt like she is fit in with her family and Iowa. As a teenager she figures out that she has an incredibly palate and believes that she is destined to become a great chef. This book is filled with family, family secrets, and great food. There are recipes sprinkled throughout the book that go along with the things that are being discussed in the book.
It's really a treat to be so engaged by a story. This story is very original. I really like that the way that the author is able to make the characters, even the secondary characters feel so fullly realized and so 3-D. To me, a mark of a good book is when you like the characters so much that you want to know more about them not because the author hasn't given enough detail but because you don't want the book to end and to have to step away from the characters! I know that these characters and the storyline are going to stick with me for a very long time.