Kitchens of the Great Midwest

Kitchens of the Great Midwest

Book - 2015
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Raised with a sophisticated palate by her single father, Eva learns the culturally rich stories behind a series of Midwestern dishes while becoming the star chef at a legendary restaurant.
Publisher: New York :, Pamela Dorman Books,, 2015
Description: 312 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN: 9780525429142
Branch Call Number: Stra


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Mar 20, 2021

Laurie recommendation

Mar 01, 2021

I actually thought it was a cookbook; the chapters are like short stories, with Eva (the main character) only a fleeting part of a bunch of deplorable people. The foodie part was pretty silly, but funny.

Jan 27, 2021

Modern Mrs Darcy

Jan 12, 2021

Got halfway thru this before giving up. Tedious and improbable. I skipped to the last few pages and found nothing redeeming there, either. Was fully prepared to love this but the only character I found really relatable died in the first chapter. Won't be looking for more by this author.

Jul 30, 2020

I read this for book club. I found the writing to be very disjointed. The main character Eva is a chef. It takes place in Minnesota with lots of references to local places. For part of her life Eva lives in RIver Falls, WI. Lugi's pizza is mentioned.

Jul 14, 2019

When I began reading, I was sure I was reading what would end up being a 4- or 5-starred book for me. This novel is the story of a famed, mysterious, and otherwordly chef, Eva Thorvald, who plies her craft in Iowa and Minnesota. Each chapter is told from a different character's point of view, and we learn about Eva and her life story through them, never Eva herself. I really loved the first chapters about Eva's father and her birth, and then the absolutely brilliant chapter about Eva's cousin Braque. And the Des Moines and Minneapolis settings and references (eating Schwan's ice cream, church kitchen ladies, etc.) were wonderful. However, as the novel went on I found it more and more pretentious and, frankly, boring. The final chapter felt so false and over-the-top that reading became a chore and I was just waiting to be done.

Jan 13, 2019

I agree with mitchellered. Crass language spoiled it for me.

Jun 03, 2018

Eva Thorvald is a woman with an incredible sense of taste who gravitates into the upscale restaurant and catering business in the Twin Cities in Minnesota where every ingredient is fresh and locally sourced.

Book is both a homage to Midwestern food specialties and a satire on current foodie trends married to a coming-of-age story. Each chapter, titled with an ingredient, tells a story that sometimes leaves you wondering how this will all fit together. It does. Have to admit I’ve stopped or almost stopped at the ‘Chocolate Habanero’ chapter twice, but stuck with it this time to read with a friend. Mixed review. Probably better for a younger audience who would recognize all the music references throughout this book. I’m retirement age; worked with food trends in the food business.

Aug 07, 2017

A lighter read, but one with complex overtones and a strong aftertaste. "Kitchens of the Great Midwest" takes a person through an extraordinary life interacting with great food and wine. The characters are drawn simply, but with a lot of wit; each chapter offers a vignette of food and American foodie/ locovore culture, including great recipes!

Mar 12, 2017

Perfect book club choice. Sweet and interesting story lines about a young girl in MN who fulfills her destiny to becomes a fantastic chef. All you need to know about lutefisk. Recipes included.

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Aug 23, 2016

Each chapter in J. Ryan Stradal's startlingly original debut tells the story of a single dish and character, at once capturing the zeitgeist of the Midwest, the rise of foodie culture, and delving into the ways food creates community and a sense of identity. By turns quirky, hilarious, and vividly sensory, Kitchens of the Great Midwest is an unexpected mother-daughter story about the bittersweet nature of life--its missed opportunities and its joyful surprises. It marks the entry of a brilliant new talent.

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