Book Review: The Kitchen Daughter

Part of the Eat, Write, Retreat magic was, of course, the swag. Upon checking in, we all received bags bursting with fun things like peanut butter, olives, kitchen tools, Goo Goo Clusters (YUM), gift certificates, and The Kitchen Daughter, the new book by conference attendee and panelist, Jael McHenry.

The Kitchen Daughter

As you know, I love anything food-related. I also used to be a ravenous reader of real paper books; blogging has kind of killed that but it is something I really want to get back into.

There is nothing like unplugging with a book, and I couldn’t wait to get on the plane back to Boston to do just that. Several hours later, home and in my own bed, I finished it. I couldn’t go to bed without doing so.

The Kitchen Daughter is one of those books that completely draws you in and leaves you wanting more.

A little about the storyline. . .

After the unexpected death of her parents, painfully shy and sheltered 26-year-old Ginny Selvaggio seeks comfort in cooking from family recipes. But the rich, peppery scent of her Nonna’s soup draws an unexpected visitor into the kitchen: the ghost of Nonna herself, dead for twenty years, who appears with a cryptic warning (“do no let her…”) before vanishing like steam from a cooling dish.

The main character, Ginny, is complex and sometimes difficult to understand. There were times throughout the book where I felt frustrated for her and other times where I was frustrated at her. Through Ginny we learn about the other characters; the book does a really good job of letting the reader into their lives as well.

The use of the English language when it comes to food and cooking in this book is just exquisite. McHenry uses such descriptive language, and as certain recipes are paramount to the story, starts many chapters with a recipe. I could smell Nonna’s soup and taste the spice of the hot chocolate.

I really enjoyed being part of Ginny’s world for a brief period of time, watching her learn about that world and about herself as she took refuge in the safety of her kitchen.

The Kitchen Daughter is a quick read to be savored in a few bites, or as I did, in one long sitting. It has depth and sadness but is also light enough to be a beach read.

Have you read any good books lately and/or do you have any favorite fiction books that also involve food for me to read?

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Tags: books, Food, The Kitchen Daughter

  1. Raija’s avatar

    I can’t wait to read this book…on the Cape :)


  2. Michelle’s avatar

    Can I borrow it when Raija is done?


  3. MelissaNibbles’s avatar

    This sounds like a good book. I like books like this or Trail Of Crumbs or anything where it revolves around food haha! I’ll add this to my que at the library. Thanks!


  4. Daisy’s avatar

    sounds like a great summer read! I plowed through Water for Elephants (SO GOOD! I really recommend!) and am now half way through Orange is The New Black, also very good, very different since it’s a memoir.

    I felt the same way about all writing and no reading, so it’s good to get that balance back!!


  5. Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic’s avatar

    Good review, I’ve been curious about this book… Here’s a list of some of my favorite food books: I will update that sometime soon :)


  6. alicia’s avatar

    Sounds like a great book!! I just finished the Frank Bruni autobiography – it was about food and very good….I’m also in the middle of unaccustomed earth by Jhumpa Lahiri…


  7. Megan’s avatar

    I just finished Blood, Bones and Butter. I can lend it to you if you need a new food book to read!


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