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Kitchens of the Great Midwest

Stradal, J. Ryan. Book - 2015 Adult Book / Fiction / General / Stradal, J Ryan, Fiction / Stradal, J. Ryan None on shelf No requests on this item Community Rating: 4.2 out of 5

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Fiction / Stradal, J. Ryan 4-week checkout Due 08-16-2022
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"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" -- provided by publisher.


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Unusual format submitted by willow on August 13, 2015, 10:20pm This book has some unusual qualities, such as that it switches between the perspectives of a variety of peripheral characters in the life of Eva, a girl at the start of the novel, who becomes a chef of some reknown. As a consequence, though, we have a limited understanding of just who she is. There is some satire of foodie culture that is amusing, and there are recipes included, some of which are stated to not be worth making! Nonetheless, it is an interesting book to read.

Different submitted by Lucy S on August 14, 2015, 4:28am I enjoyed this book a lot. An interesting satire on our culture's obsession with food. Some part seemed implausible, but in general a good read. The chapters felt a little like connected short stories as each was narrated from a different character's point of view.

Charming and Innovative submitted by jennbook on June 20, 2016, 8:41pm The format of this book is unlike any I've seen before: the main character never narrates the story herself; rather, her story is told by people who know her, in however small a way. This took me out of the book once or twice--one chapter related to Eva so peripherally that I found myself flipping quickly through the pages to see what actually HAPPENS next. The majority of the book is incredibly charming, however, and I could "hear" many of the Midwestern accents as I read.

I also thought the inclusion of recipes throughout the book was a nice touch. Readers can cook along with Eva and the other characters as they journey through learning about Midwestern food.

Scandinavian Cooking & Family submitted by sdunav on July 8, 2016, 12:03pm Very interesting lit. fiction about chefs and cooks and growing up in Minnesota a couple generations removed from Scandinavian immigrants. Interesting structure - and I got mad at a surprise development in the second chapter - but I grew more engaged as the book continued. Recipes at the end of every chapter and I did like it a lot by the time I finished (though still was annoyed at that second chapter surprise!).

Kitchens of the Great Midwest submitted by Cawebb on July 19, 2016, 7:15pm I enjoyed reading a book set in the Midwest and I also very much enjoyed how the stories all were connected.

couldn't get into it submitted by smgop on August 4, 2016, 7:24pm Book didn't make sense to me, so I didn't waste my time with it. Oh well. Looks like other people really liked it.

Enjoyable submitted by k8e on June 22, 2018, 10:23am Flew through this.. in part because the unique format others have mentioned - each section is about a side character whose life somehow intertwines with the main character which really made me keep wanting to find out what happens next. Very character driven - there is a blend of darkness and hopefulness, as well as genuine love of food/cooking and also some humorous skewering of foodie types.

Fun book of short stories submitted by hiker15 on August 23, 2020, 11:53am Each chapter was a short story following the main character, each story was a different vignette of her life (pretty much all related to food). Each story moved the narrative along and was entertaining. The ending was great. This is one of my favorite books of the summer (and much more enjoyable than the author's "Lager Queen of Minnesota" book).

Solidly good book submitted by Susan4Pax -prev. sueij- on June 18, 2021, 10:30pm This novel reminded me a great deal of _Olive Kitteridge_ by Elizabeth Strout, in that each chapter was very much about a different character while in the end collectively telling the story of one main character. Stradal pulls this off quite well, though ultimately I am left wishing for more about Eva. It’s a lovely book that celebrates food (and includes some recipes) without being a die-hard foodie book, acknowledges the complications of family through some beautiful angles and relationships, and addresses growing up (by several characters) in ways that I quite enjoyed. A solidly good book to read.

A very pleasant read submitted by KatieD on August 5, 2021, 6:31pm The format of the story threw me off a bit at first, but once I understood how all the people related to Eva, I really liked it. I found the stories to just be really wholesome and enjoyable. I liked how each chapter was it's own individual story and also part of a larger one. There were one or two chapters that seemed like a bit of a stretch as far as relating back to Eva, but on the whole I really loved it!

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[New York] : Pamela Dorman Books, 2015.
Year Published: 2015
Description: 312 p.
Language: English
Format: Book


Women cooks -- Fiction.