By far my favorite cooking blog is the Smitten Kitchen. Deb does this absolutely fabulous job of combining cooking with little snippets from her everyday life. So when I learned about Cooking for Gracie I thought I had found the equivalent in the form of a memoir. Well, it both is and isn't. With the Smtten Kitchen what you get is mostly recipes with the narrative of how and why the recipes were developed along with loads of pictures and cute Jacob (her toddler) stories. With cooking for Gracie you get stories of Gracie's development along with recipes for the food that was cooked at the time and why. While the general content is the same, they are kind of opposites. One focuses on food with the lifestories sort of in the background. In the other the lifestories take center stage and the food is secondary.To be honest I prefer Deb's style and recipes. Keith's recipes sound interesting and I will certainly try a few but they have a stronger Asian influence than is typically my taste (although that may be a ringing endorsement for a lot of people).The thing I really took away from Cooking for Gracie is the idea that everyday life really influences what we cook. Sometimes it's a matter of dietary restrictions (when Jessica was pregnant or Grace was colicky). Sometimes it's a matter of time (when Grace wouldn't sleep and no one had energy to shop). And sometimes it's a matter of budget (when the economy took a nosedive). Regardless, of the restrictions Keith was still able to make cooking interesting. In the end I really loved the way this book made me stop and think about my own life and cooking style. Certainly, I've evolved as a cook, but I've never really though about the connections between changes in my life and how and what I cook. After reading Cooking for Gracie I can begin to appreciate how some of my cooking choices came about. There really are strong parallels between life events and cooking choices.This is an interesting read for the home cook.
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