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Review: Kitchens of the Great Midwest

September 1, 2015


Kitchens of the Great Midwest

It’s hard to say too much about the plot of Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal without spoilers but the novel tells the story of Eva Thorvald, a young woman who overcomes a tragic childhood to become a creative, inventive, and well-known chef.  I know that doesn’t sound all that exciting but I adored this book – it’s sure to make my list of favorites for the year.

Kitchens of the Great Midwest is told in such a unique way.  Each chapter is almost like a short story and captures a particular time in Eva’s life.  Most of those times are centered around food and/or an important person in Eva’s life.  At times, it seems that the stories aren’t about Eva at all but patience pays off and readers are rewarded with a connection to her.  Stradal’s writing is straightforward and I was completely charmed by it and Eva.  She’s a rare person with a very discerning palate that serves her well.  She’s hard working, unpretentious, and loyal and I was totally captivated by her story.

In case you can’t tell, I loved this book and highly recommend it to everyone, especially foodies!  It’s a great book for book clubs who can find some great resources, including recipes and wine recommendations, in this handy book club kit.  Be sure to check this book out!

weekend cookingI will link this up to Weekend Cooking which is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.

Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.  I am an Indiebound Affliate.
29 Comments leave one →
  1. September 1, 2015 5:32 am

    I’ve been hearing a lot about this one. I’m not a foodie but it sounds like it’s about a lot more than that.

  2. September 1, 2015 6:20 am

    I like a different format, and something that doesn’t lay the whole story right out is always preferred. I’ve been wanting to read this one, and this review just cemented it.

  3. September 1, 2015 6:55 am

    I so loved the beginning of this, but as you say, one can’t spoil it. But the time when Eva was a baby – best part of the book for me! This weekend I’m making Pat’s bars for a neighborhood thing – can’t wait to see how they come out!

  4. September 1, 2015 7:41 am

    I have this one on my TBR list. There is simply not enough time to read all the good ones!

  5. September 1, 2015 7:49 am

    I loved parts of this book (especially the beginning), but got somewhat frustrated with the fact that Eva was virtually absent from major sections of the middle. I wanted to hear more about her rise to prominent chefdom than the county fair bake-off!!

  6. September 1, 2015 7:53 am

    This sounds like a fun and interesting read.

  7. September 1, 2015 8:00 am

    It’s on my wish list! I can’t wait to read it!

  8. bookingmama permalink
    September 1, 2015 8:25 am

    OMG! I haven’t reviewed this one yet but it’s going to be one of my faves of the year. Adored it!

  9. September 1, 2015 9:32 am

    I kindled this one, but was hesitant to start it for some reason. Now I’m glad I have it because it sounds so good. Great post!

  10. September 1, 2015 9:51 am

    I’m reading this right now and LOVING it!

  11. September 1, 2015 10:25 am

    I so want to get a copy of this!!

  12. September 1, 2015 10:31 am

    This sounds absolutely delightful! I’ve been seeing this all over instagram and twitter, but haven’t really learned too much about it. Looks great. Thank you for sharing!

  13. September 1, 2015 10:53 am

    A built in recipe resource for book clubs! Looks good.

  14. September 1, 2015 3:37 pm

    This sounds fantastic!

  15. September 1, 2015 3:53 pm

    Hope you bring this on over to Books You Lvoed: September! Cheers

  16. September 1, 2015 4:10 pm

    Talk about quick! Thanks

  17. September 1, 2015 5:26 pm

    I’ve been hearing a lot of good stuff about this book and I want to read it. I don’t read too many foodie books but have been hoping to change that.

  18. Patty permalink
    September 1, 2015 5:43 pm

    I love that you loved this! I really loved it too! My sister thought it was weird!

  19. September 2, 2015 12:20 pm

    This sounds great! I’m always intrigued by a review that can’t give too much away.

  20. September 2, 2015 1:00 pm

    Wasn’t it great? Without giving anything away, I thought the ending was realistic. I was glad it went the way it did.

  21. September 2, 2015 3:19 pm

    I’ve been debating whether to read this book or not. You convinced me by “sure to make my favorites list of the year.” Thanks in advance.

  22. September 2, 2015 8:32 pm

    I ran across the author on tour here and attendees were asked to share a potluck dish. Fun, right? I have an ARC of this one and it sounds like I need to move it up the queue!

  23. Beth F permalink
    September 5, 2015 7:02 am

    I can’t believe I haven’t read this yet!!! I know I’ll love it! Very cool about the book club kit.

  24. September 5, 2015 12:47 pm

    This is going on my list, it sounds like something I would really enjoy. Thanks for the review.

  25. September 5, 2015 2:25 pm

    If you enjoy that part of the country, there are a couple books I read that you might enjoy by Evelyn Birkby. Up a Country Lane Cookbook and Neighboring On the Air. You can look them up and see if they are for you. I loved them, and loved reading about these women.

  26. September 5, 2015 2:29 pm

    Everything I hear and read about this book makes me want to go and buy it. I think I will get the local library to get me a copy to review. Love your review!

  27. September 5, 2015 7:56 pm

    Fun! Love the title.

  28. September 6, 2015 3:47 pm

    I heard a review of Kitchens of the Great Midwest on the radio, but wasn’t sure about it. Reading this, I think I will give it a try.

  29. September 7, 2015 6:28 pm

    I picked up a copy of this on a trip to Vero Books, but I haven’t read too many reviews. Thanks for the great review, if you loved it that much I’ll move it up!

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