Comfort, home, cooking, and family are all things at the front of our minds and close to our hearts, especially in times like these. Where would we be without the support of our loved ones, or even without having our Mom teach us how to use the toaster for the first time. Our earliest memories are tied into the smells and tastes of cookies baking in the kitchen or in front of the television with marshmallow cereal. Comic book artist and illustrator Lucy Knisley explores her relationship with food, family and cooking in her new book Relish: My Life in the Kitchen from First Second Books. The multi-talented Lucy signs at Brookline Booksmith on Sunday.
DIGBOSTON: Hi Lucy, thanks so much for taking the time today! How has your book tour been so far?
LUCY KNISLEY: Great! I get to travel all over and talk about food with my readers, so I’m in heaven.
Was this your first MoCCA (The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art) Arts Fest?
This was my ninth, I believe.
I’ve been doing MoCCA since I was about 18 or 19. It’s my hometown show, and was one of the first conventions I ever attended, so I never miss it.
Relish is really such a wonderful book, have you always wanted to write an autobiography?
It’s something that’s always appealed to me. It comes very naturally for me to write autobiographically, and I enjoy the act of sharing my inner world with readers; creating an empathetic connection.
Relish illustrates your family’s relationship with food but also your relationships in your life. Was it hard for you to expose such personal details for the reader?
Most of the content of Relish is about food and family—both topics that I like sharing—funny stories and tales of epic meals.
I enjoy being honest in my work, as I find that it creates a stronger connection to the reader, and I’m lucky that I have good stories to share.
Even uncomfortable moments in our lives are made better by a great meal or memorable snack. As you say, “…you remember a time you tasted something that would shape you for years to come.” Who or what excites you about food in pop culture? A favorite chef, Top Chef, Emeril?
The shifting foodscape in America is absolutely fascinating to me! I don’t watch much food TV, but I have noticed how the prevalence of food entertainment has changed our culture’s relationship to food. I am a sucker for new technologies in food, molecular gastronomy and cool new restaurants or food fusions, but what I love most about food is that it connects us to ourselves and our surroundings, which is easiest to notice when you have a great meal, grown locally and prepared at home or by a friend.
The book is accented by wonderfully illustrated recipes. How did you pick each recipe and did you have to leave some out of the book?
I picked recipes that were relevant to the stories I wanted to tell. They’re all fairly simple, familiar family recipes that I felt comfortable with and have experimented with to get them just right.
[READ MORE at DIGBOSTON.COM]