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.
This book was about Eva, and not about Eva. The book starts with her father Lars, who hates making lutefisk (oh and btw lutefisk sucks, and grandma makes it every year, ugh.) Anyway, Lars loves food and haves a daughter named Eva.
Eva loves her chilis, and food in general. She wants to be a chef and becomes a chef and we get to follow her from being a baby to her 30s.
But the book makes these jumps. Eva as a baby, Eva at 11, Eva at 17, Eva at 21. And it is not always Eva the reader is following. Instead we get her life from those around her. The boy who fancies her. The woman who thinks she is a know it all upstart. Her cousin with her own problems. So there are these glimpses into their lives, while we also get to see Eva. In some more, in some less.
And it works, most of the time. I think the only POV I did not care for was this woman who was the sister of a man Eva knew. And it was just, nope, did not care.
Food is mentioned at lot, duh. It made me hungry, and there are even recipes. It sure is a foodie book, and an interesting one. Good writing too.
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published August 6th 2015 by Quercus