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A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table - Molly Wizenberg Bone-shaking grief…redemptive love…and the finest chocolate cake ever to grace an oven…

When Molly Wizenberg began her blog Orangette in 2004, she thought it would make a great storage space for her musings about life, food, and how the two influence each other. She had no idea her warmth, candor, and lip-smacking recipes would bring her scores of fans, a husband, and finally a book deal that resulted in the delicious bestseller A Homemade Life. Part memoir, part essay collection, part cookbook, this blog-to-paper success knows the way to the heart is through the stomach.

Wizenberg presents snapshots of the people and places she loves with a wry tenderness, always tying even the seemingly random anecdote to a recipe at the end of each essay-style chapter. She shares her father's secret to perfect French toast along with his propensity for haunting rummage sales, her mother's couer de crème recipe with reflections on growing up in the lovably embarrassing 80s. Passionate and funny descriptions of her adventures in Paris bring the city to life, somehow reminiscent of Julia Child's My Life in France and yet wholly original. Despite her sunny outlook, Wizenberg hasn't lived a completely charmed life: the stories of her father's battle with cancer would wring tears from a stone, though she tells them with grace, courage, and a transcendental egg recipe. She chooses to fill the last part of the loose narrative with hope, relating the unexpected but magical romance that began with a fan letter and ended in her happy marriage to a fellow foodie.

Even in her precise recipes, Wizenberg manages to maintain a friendly, encouraging voice. This reviewer recommends the saucy ratatouille, the delicate but meaty bouchons au thon, and the amazingly luscious Winning Hearts and Minds Cake.