Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My Berlin Kitchen Review & Giveaway


If you are a fan of The Wednesday Chef blog, there's no question, you will enjoy My Berlin Kitchen: Adventures in Love and Life by Luisa Weiss now out in paperback. The book is a memoir with recipes and Weiss traces her journey through her memories of food in vivid detail. The style of writing, like Weiss herself is a bit of a mishmash. Her parents are Italian and American but she was born and partially raised in Germany. She is very precise when it comes to recipe writing yet there are splashes of sensuality and emotion in her prose as well.

Weiss is a good writer and a master of detail. Her experiences and recollections of her time in Germany, the US, France and Italy are often snapshots of times and places and really have the ability to transport you. The book follows a romantic storyline, with some funny bits interspersed with plenty of angst, and it's generally pleasurable to read, although she's clearly not a happy-go-lucky live-for-the-day type. 

Memoirs require a certain level of introspection and self involvement and as a result the subject can come across as self-absorbed at times, especially when written by someone who is fairly young. Ultimately I didn't find Weiss as endearing as I would have hoped. Frankly I had the same issues with the Julie/Julia Project. I also found some gaps and unanswered questions perplexing--why did she live with her father in the US instead of her mother?  Why did she accept the job in San Francisco when nothing about living in San Francisco appealed to her? Once she moved to Berlin did her career end in favor of writing her memoir and nothing more? That said, I enjoyed the book, particularly the German comfort food recipes (Gooseberry cream cake, Alsatian flatbread with bacon and creme fraiche, spiced plum butter and spiced cookies) and I do recommend it. 

Viking is giving away one copy of this book to a Cooking with Amy reader, US resident only. Leave a comment telling me about your favorite recipe from The Wednesday Chef blog or the German recipe you'd most like to learn to cook. I'll choose a winner at random on September 5th. You must include your email address in the appropriate field so I can contact you. It will only be visible to me.

Disclaimer: I received this book as a review copy. I was not paid to write this or any other post on Cooking with Amy.