Luisa Weiss’s book, My Berlin Kitchen, is “a Love Story (with Recipes)”. It’s also a bit more than that. It’s a story about finding a voice, self-trust, and bravery. The fact that this comes with vignettes from two continents and three languages makes it more colorful.
I’ll freely admit that as a reader of Ms. Weiss’s blog, the Wednesday Chef, I’ve been part of her cheering section for a while. I enjoyed reading more about her life, and the people in it, and, of course, the food.
Ms. Weiss’s honesty impresses me as much as her writing style. She admits her frailties, her failures, and her fears. I especially enjoyed her assessments of her experiences that didn’t quite fit the preconceived ideas- that the Paris of day to day life is different from the one of week long vacations, that graduate school can have more frustrations than eurekas. I appreciated the look back through her blog’s beginnings, remembering the sometimes cryptic posts, and now understanding what went on behind the screen.
Ms. Weiss’s experience of living in New York and now living away from it resonates. Her understanding of the mile a minute speed of New York life and its influence on the rest of us, and its contrasts with life in Berlin (and rural Minnesota, in my case) are reasoned and mature. The comparisons of apartment hunting, friendliness with neighbors, shopping for bitter greens, and regional tolerance of spicy made me nod knowingly and laugh in equal doses. Sometimes a life that is different is better, and sometimes it’s just different.
I nodded more knowingly when Ms. Weiss described childhood years as a bookworm, and teen years in the kitchen baking. These are the building blocks of my own experiences in the kitchen. I share her love of throwing dinner parties, and have had similar pot luck horror stories. I wouldn’t be able to tell my stories so deftly. Because I could so easily relate to the comfort of the kitchen, and to shy insecurity as a younger woman, I enjoyed every bit of this book. I feel Ms. Weiss and I have had so many common experiences, and it is wonderful to discover I was not alone in some of my odd thoughts when abroad, or at home.
I’m planning on working a couple of her recipes into my repertoire pretty quickly… I need a good ragu recipe, and the roasted peppers and braised leeks fit right into what’s in my fridge today.
Brava, Luisa! Lei e’ una scrittrice meravigliosa.