Books: Stir, The World on a Plate, Kitchens of the Great Midwest, and Orchard House

September 8, 2015

four books August 2015

Between canning classes, multiple cross-country trips, and processing piles of produce, I’ve managed to read my way through a tidy stack of books this summer. Here are four food-related volumes that I really enjoyed and think some of you might also like.

Stir by Jessica Fechtor – This memoir-with-recipes is the story of Jessica Fechtor’s brain aneurism at the age of 28, and her grueling but hope and love-filled recuperation. An avid cook and joyful eater prior to the aneurism, the book is the story of her recovery and the ways in which food brought her back to herself as her wounded brain and body healed. Jess is a honest, thoughtful writer and I devoured the book in just a day and a half back in July.

The World on a Plate by Mina Holland – A fun and well-researched volume, The World on a Plate isn’t a book to read straight through. Instead, it’s one to dip into when you crave fresh flavors and a easy visit to another land. Every time I open it up, I add another recipe to my to-make list.

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal – This novel wraps around Eva Thorvald (a girl and then woman with a singular palate), home cooking, foodie culture, and (of course) the Midwest. The characters are well-defined, quirky, and human. It was a delight to read.

Orchard House by Tara Austen Weaver – On its surface, this is a book about rebuilding a neglected garden. But really, it’s about building community, healing a family, and embracing life as it comes. It is beautifully written and contains moments that will break your heart with sweet sharpness of life. When I opened up my copy to write about it here, I found myself pulled back into its pages and found myself again lost in Tara’s words.

Now, for some disclosures. The first is that all four of these books were sent to me for review. However, I only share the really good things with you guys, so know that the opinions expressed here truly are my own. 

The second disclosure is that I know both Jess and Tara. We’ve shared meals, talked shop, and swapped preserving tips. Still, the kind words I’ve written are deserved. These two women have written truly remarkable books. You should read them. 

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4 thoughts on "Books: Stir, The World on a Plate, Kitchens of the Great Midwest, and Orchard House"

  • Stir sounds like it is right up my alley. I had a nearly fatal heart attack and emergency double bypass. After recovering from that I was told I have stage 4 lung cancer. (I was supposed to die 3 years ago – tell ME I can’t do something!) Food is my healing passion, how I nourish and care for myself, family and friends.

    Orchard house sounds like a god read as well. I will have to check the library.

  • Thanks for this – these are Christmas list titles for me. 🙂
    I really appreciate the passion that you bring to what you’re writing about – whether it’s food, or writing about food. It’s obvious you deeply enjoyed these books.

  • A hearty second for Orchard House! I loved that book so much. I don’t know Tara, but often wish I did when I read her blog or see her instagram photos.