Thursday, August 1, 2013

Recommended reading: My Berlin Kitchen

My Berlin Kitchen

At a good friend's recommendation, I recently borrowed "My Berlin Kitchen" by Luisa Weiss from our local library.  About halfway through, I ordered my own copy from the bookstore.

Luisa Weiss is the writer behind the food blog The Wednesday Chef.  I wasn't familiar with this blog before the book, so that's not what drew me in.  The girlfriend who recommended it had lived for nine years in Berlin, and she loved her life there.  The title captured her, but the story kept her going and helped her pass it to me.

Luisa is an only child of an American father and an Italian mother, born in Berlin but shuttled between cultures and countries when her parents parted.  Her struggle to find her place, her feelings of being torn and not particularly fitting in anywhere exactly, the battles between her head and her heart...all of these things spoke to me deeply.

As a US military brat and now an expat wife, I have spent my life on the move, never living in one place for a complete four years (the average is 2 years).  My husband has even less place-identity, spending most of his formative years in a country he will not live in again but still feels was "home" though it does not match his passport.  Before my marriage and our international travels began, at least I knew what country I belonged in, but now even that is less clear.  Battles between my head and my heart are rather familiar.  It is rare to find this nomadic sense of rootlessness captured so well and refreshing to find it in someone my age.  Secretly, I have to love that there is a happy ending too.

Add in the fact that Luisa is a serious foodie and I was hooked.  Each chapter tells a story from a particular period in her life, and the end of the chapter contains a recipe that she identifies with that time or place.  I've already purchased ingredients for her ragu and her buttermilk panna cotta.  I'll let you know how they turn out.  In the meantime, why not check out a copy of the book for yourself?

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