Often my book buying decisions are made by the bargains being offered for Amazon Kindle. A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from my Kitchen Table, by Molly Wizenberg. I’ve said before that I’m not a fan of cookbooks, but do like food books that contain the odd recipe. A Homemade Life falls into the latter category.
While A Homemade Life serves as a coming of age tale for the author, it also serves as a love letter to her father. It was his death that both Orangette, her blog, and this book found their genesis. Yet it’s even more than that. As Wizenberg says at the end of the introduction:
That’s why this book is called A Homemade LIfe. Because, in a sense, that’s what we’re building – you, me, all of us who like to stir and whisk – in the kitchen and at the table. In the simple acts of cooking and eating, we are creating and continuing the stories that are our lives.
Each chapter in the book chronicles a story or period from her life, and the recipes that follow at the end of each chapter relate back to that story.
I decided that I would try one of the recipes before I wrote about the book. I chose what is probably the simplest recipe in the book but it is also connected to one of the most moving parts of the book. The chapter and recipe is called Italian Grotto Eggs and deals with Ms. Wizenberg cooking for her father as he is approaching his death from cancer. The writing is straight forward and the emotional pull it generates is genuine.
While her father’s life and dying are at the centre of the book, it is no way a sad work. There is much love and joy in what Wizenberg recounts. A Homemade Life shows how cooking and eating together can transform both the small parts of our lives and the bigger, more difficult life events we face.
A Homemade Life Recipe:
Below, I’ve copied the recipe for Italian Grotto Eggs:
(Wizenberg states at the beginning that she uses exact measures for her recipes and expects her readers to do so as well. I followed that advice, but I had to use 35% Whipping Cream. I couldn’t find heavy cream.)
Italian Grotto Eggs:
1 Tablespoon (1/2 ounce) unsalted butter
5 Large eggs
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Heavy Cream(I substituted Whipping Cream)
3 Tablespoons fresh goat cheese, such as Laura Chenel, coarsely crumbled
Freshy ground black pepper, for serving
Melt the butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
Crack the eggs into a small bowl and beat them lightly with a fork. Add the salt land cream and beat to blend.
When the pan is hot, pour in the eggs and swirl to coat. Reduce the heat to low, and using a heatproof rubber spatula, stir the eggs gently, scraping the spatula along the bottom of the skillet, until they are loosely set in large, pillowy curds They should be slightly runnier than you want them. Remove the pan from the heat and scatter the goat cheese over the eggs. Give them one more gentle stir to melt and distribute the cheese.
Serve immediately, with additional salt and black pepper to taste and, if you like, slices of buttered toast.
Yield: Two Servings
Molly Wizenberg: A Homemade LIfe: Stories and Recipes from my Kitchen Table, Location 1741, Amazon Kindle version