Give A Girl A Knife

Give A Girl A Knife

A Memoir

Book - 2017
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"A beautifully written memoir that follows one woman from her childhood in a dysfunctional Midwestern family to becoming a chef in New York City and finally her triumphant return home to reclaim and redeem Midwestern cooking. Amy Thielen, author of the James Beard Award-winning cookbook The New Midwestern Table, traces her journey from Park Rapids, Minnesota, to cooking professionally under some of New York City's finest chefs--including David Bouley, Daniel Boulud, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten--and then back home again. A love of food and an overwhelming desire to get the hell out of small-town America drive Thielen to New York to seek out its intense culinary world, which she embraces enthusiastically, while her boyfriend finds success in its fickle art world. After years of living in the city, with frequent trips back home in the summertime, the couple eventually chooses life deep in the woods in a cabin Thielen's husband built by hand. There Aaron can practice his craft while Amy takes the skills she learned cooking professionally and turns them to undoing years of processed foods to uncover true Midwestern cooking, which begins simply with humble workhorse ingredients such as potatoes and onions. Give a Girl a Knife offers a fresh look into New York's fine dining scene while also acknowledging a universal nostalgia for home--and a yearning to remake that home so it's even better than you remember"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Clarkson Potter/Publishers, [2017]
Characteristics: 311 pages ; 22 cm
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780307954909 (hard cover)


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OPL_AutumnH Apr 16, 2018

Thielen has a very approachable writing style, and her descriptions of food from her childhood to NYC kitchens and back to a more rustic approach are mouthwatering and make me want to pretend I can cook. The story never quite drew me in completely, I felt there was a little too much tangential content, but still an enjoyable read.

Apr 07, 2018

I've put off writing a review of this book as it was so good that I was having a hard time putting it into appropriate words. Mostly I've been saying, "This was amazing!" and "This woman is incredible!" and other useless ways of conveying my complete over-the-top enjoyment of this completely normal midwestern young woman's experiences through kitchens, gardens, log homes and hippie life, and, most importantly, relationships and family.

It took me about fifty pages to really become obsessed, and actually I dreaded reading it so much that I had to renew it a few times (sorry, anyone at the library also wanting to read this book). It seemed kind of like every other memoir about a woman who becomes someone special in the world of cheffing, food TV, and the cult of culinary personality. In fact, I kept not reading it because I thought I already had!

I heard her on a food podcast and realized that maybe her story sounded familiar but not enough that maybe I ought to give her book a chance. I'm still living through her life on the land, in rural Northern Minnesota, with her hippie neighbors and artist boyfriend and one-of-a-kind mom and quiet dad.

I'm sure in real life she's something special, but on the page, she is someone I wish I could be, wish I were, wish I could hear more and more and more about whatever she wanted to talk about. Does it sound like I love the voice of this author? Yes. Yes I do. Surprised the heck out of me. No idea why, except I love a good story about a normal person who goes through extreme lack and poverty, driven to be someone nobody else can even imagine.

Best book I've read this year so far.

Sep 02, 2017

Loved it. Being from Mn originally may have a impact. (grew up in S.Calif). The story of someone who comes from N. Mn, and it is wild and cold. Who ends up cooking in NY City at high end restaurants blew my mind. She goes back and forth from Mn to NY City. Nice boyfriend who becomes her husband. Near Minneapolis they have a rustic house with a luscious garden, fruit trees, and just the gorgeous simple life (if you're 20)... No recipes just great story telling about a interesting family.


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