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A Homemade Life

A Homemade Life

Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table

  • reading group guide
When Molly Wizenberg's father died of cancer, everyone told her to go easy on herself, to hold off on making any major decisions for a while. But when she tried going back to her apartment in Seattle and returning to graduate school, she knew it wasn't possible to resume life as though nothing had happened. So she went to Paris, a city that held vivid memories of a childhood trip with her father, of early morning walks on the cobbled streets of the Latin Quarter and the taste of her first pain au chocolat. She was supposed to be doing research for her dissertation, but more often, she found herself peering through the windows of chocolate shops, trekking across town to try a new pâtisserie, or tasting cheeses at outdoor markets, until one evening when she sat in the Luxembourg Gardens reading cookbooks until it was too dark to see, she realized that her heart was not in her studies but in the kitchen.

At first, it wasn't clear where this epiphany might lead. Like her long letters home describing the details of every meal and market, Molly's blog Orangette started out merely as a pleasant pastime. But it wasn't long before her writing and recipes developed an international following. Every week, devoted readers logged on to find out what Molly was cooking, eating, reading, and thinking, and it seemed she had finally found her passion. But the story wasn't over: one reader in particular, a curly-haired, food-loving composer from New York, found himself enchanted by the redhead in Seattle, and their email correspondence blossomed into a long-distance romance.

In A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, Molly Wizenberg recounts a life with the kitchen at its center. From her mother's pound cake, a staple of summer picnics during her childhood in Oklahoma, to the eggs she cooked for her father during the weeks before his death, food and memories are intimately entwined. You won't be able to decide whether to curl up and sink into the story or to head straight to the market to fill your basket with ingredients for Cider-Glazed Salmon and Pistachio Cake with Honeyed Apricots.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 224 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416594451 | 
  • March 2009
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for A Homemade Life includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Molly Wizenberg. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg, freelance food writer and creator of the award-winning blog Orangette, is part touching personal memoir, part wonderful recipe collection. Molly recounts a life with food at its heart, where delicious recipes intertwine with the stories of her family, growing up, beginning a blog, even meeting and marrying her husband. Written in a lively, accessible style, A Homemade Life is as much at home on the bookshelf as it is in the kitchen.

Discussion Questions

1. In her introduction, Molly describes her love for the intangible things about cooking. She explains, “When we fall in love with a certain dish, I think that’s what we’re often responding to: that something else behind the fork or the spoon, the familiar story that food tells” (p. 2). Are there any dishes that you associate with a particular story, person, time, or place? Describe those dishes and the intangible meaning they have for you.

2. Molly’s fathe see more

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About the Author

Molly Wizenberg
Photograph by Kyle Johnson

Molly Wizenberg

Molly Wizenberg is the voice behind Orangette, named the best food blog in the world by the London Times. Her first book, A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, was a New York Times bestseller. Her work has appeared in Bon Appétit and The Washington Post. She lives in Seattle, Washington, with her husband Brandon and their daughter June.

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