Stuff and Nonsense: The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry


The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry

Panic, panic, can't panic. Think of food. Think of sugar. I am a sugar cube in cold water. I won't dissolve. Precise edges. Made up of tiny, regular, secure parts. If the water were hotter I would worry, but it's cold. I stay together. Precise. Clean. Surrounded, but whole.

Okay. I need to cook. It'll calm me down.

Ginny's parents have died in a car crash and her sister, Amanda, wants/expects to put their family home up for sale. Shy, quirky Ginny is ill prepared to deal with her parents' death, let alone the probable loss of the only home she has ever known. Seeking comfort and a world she understands, Ginny retreats to the kitchen where, using recipes handwritten by those now dead, she not only creates memorable dishes, but also summons the spirits of the dead. These summonings eventually help Ginny to come to grips with her family's past and build her own future.

I don't have to move into Amanda's house to be present in her family. Even though I'm not there physically all the time, I want them to have something that says, I'm out here. I'm okay. I love you. I want them to bite into a cookie, and think of me, and smile. Food is love. Food has power. I knew it in my mind, but now I know it in my heart.

As we all know, I love foodie novels and The Kitchen Daughter is no exception. If you loved the magical realism of foodie lit like Like Water for Chocolate or Crescent, I think you'll really enjoy The Kitchen Daughter. I devoured this book in one sitting and then I read it again, slowly and savoringly, over the course of a week. Even now, days after finishing it, I crave more of Ginny's story. The Kitchen Daughter is one of the few novels I've read this year that demands a sequel. Or a movie. A movie would be acceptable!

The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry (Gallery Books, 2011)

1 comment :

  1. This book sounds wonderful. I love the inclusion of recipes and cooking scenes in the story. There certainly are worse ways to cope with the death of people you love. Ginny sounds like a wonderful character, too. But what has really sold me on this book is that you read it twice, once fast and once savoring it. Love that!


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