Lucy Knisley draws (and draws upon) key episodes in her life through food and recipes in ‘Relish: My Life in the Kitchen’

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For Lucy Knisley, the decision to create an illustrated memoir was easy. “Food is something that interests me, and comics are how I tell my stories, so it was a natural decision to make comics about food,” she says about the impetus for her new memoir, “Relish: My Life in the Kitchen,” a hybrid kitchen how-to and memoir. Here’s how she cooked it up.


Each chapter is bookended with an illustrated recipe; how did you pick these recipes?
The recipes are simple and familiar to me, and pertain to the chapter previous. I wanted to share some of my favorites, and allow readers to think about food abstractly, through the stories and then, more directly, through the recipes.

Which is your favorite food to draw? Which is the most challenging?
Favorite food to draw is probably the croissant– they’re such fun shapes, and I’ve had a lot of practice with drawing them. My least favorite is probably the kind of food that might taste delicious, but look like brown goo -— like curry or stew. It’s hard to get across what it is through drawing, and that can be frustrating.

Is there some food you just can’t do?
Can’t eat or can’t draw? I think I could draw any food! I had the opportunity in Korea not long ago to try eating live octopus. It’s a little dangerous, as the octopus can choke you on the way down if you don’t fully chew it up first, and while I eat meat, I just couldn’t chew up a live creature in my mouth — especially one so cute. Pass.

When did you realize that food was something to cherish rather than fear?
I’ve never feared food– always loved it. It’s something inherent in my upbringing, to love and to be curious about food. There’s a lot to fear nowadays, of course, but it’s important to remember that food is a shared human experience and can open us up to new experiences that connect us with one another, which is not to be feared.


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