My Berlin Kitchen: A Love Story (with Recipes)

Luisa Weiss. Viking, $26.95 (300p) ISBN 978-0-670-02538-1
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Shuttled as a child of divorced parents between her Italian mother’s residence in Berlin and her mathematician father’s apartment near Boston, Weiss found a refuge for her “divided heart” in cooking. Living in New York City as a young publishing assistant and scout, she lived for a while with the companionable Sam, assuaging her career dissatisfaction by cooking and eventually starting a blog inspired by Julie Powell’s, called the Wednesday Chef, in which Weiss winnowed through stacks of recipes over a year and become a masterful cook, with Sam as eager guinea pig. Despite plans for marriage, however, at age 30, Weiss recognized how much she missed Berlin; resolved to stop being the obedient, dutiful daughter and make herself happy first, she moved back to the city in 2009, hooking up with an old boyfriend, Max, and finding the pieces of her life converging beautifully. Although the German temperament (described variously as blunt, languid, and simple) didn’t always suit her, and she couldn’t find bitter greens that she loved in New York, she threw herself into making some of the traditional German favorites such as seasonal baking of plum cake (Zwetschgen) and Kartoffelsalat. Recipes include some curious crowd-pleasers such as Rote Grutze with vanilla sauce and slow-baked quince, but also Italian tried-and-true dishes like ragu alla Bolognese and pizza Napoletana—since this thoughtful, earnestly winning memoir naturally ends in an Italian wedding. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/23/2012
Release date: 09/13/2012
Genre: Nonfiction
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