Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley.
Lucy Knisley (French Milk) loves food. In this book, she shares stories of food in her life, with particular episodes linked to food and recipes to go with each. She writes about her mother’s excellent cooking and how her mother worked her way in the food industry in New York City, then got divorced and started a farm upstate, which Knisley then had to help on. After the divorce, Knisley’s father traveled with her stay connected, taking her to fancy restaurants in Italy and being disgusted when she nipped out for American fast food. In a hilarious coming-of-age tale, Knisley (then 12), her mother, and her mother’s best friends and kids go on vacation in Mexico. The mothers both fall ill, leaving Knisley and her best friend, a 12-year-old boy, to roam the city unsupervised, spending all their money on Mexican candy and other forbidden treats. (Warning for parents: the friend discovers that the sale of porn magazines isn’t regulated in Mexico, and there are tiny, undetailed cartoon images of a rack of porno magazines. But this is as explicit as the book ever gets, and there is no violence.) In later life, Knisley travels abroad with a college friend, gorging on apricot-filled croissants in Venice, and later yet, as an impoverished grad student, saves $250 for a single meal at the best restaurant in Chicago with her boyfriend.
Through it all, love of life, love of food, and love of friends and family intertwine. The recipes are as much cartoon as the memoir parts, shown with pictures for each step along the way and ingredients drawn out instead of listed. My love, foodie and graphic novel found, found this Absolutely Perfect, and I really enjoyed it as well. I’d say it’s best for teens and up, due to the reflective nature and the slight hint of adult content.