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Kitchens of the Great Midwest

by J. Ryan Stradal

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,04410514,971 (3.93)62
"When Lars Thorvald's wife, Cynthia, falls in love with wine--and a dashing sommelier--he's left to raise their baby, Eva, on his own. He's determined to pass on his love of food to his daughter--starting with puréed pork shoulder. As Eva grows, she finds her solace and salvation in the flavors of her native Minnesota. From Scandinavian lutefisk to hydroponic chocolate habaneros, each ingredient represents one part of Eva's journey as she becomes the star chef behind a legendary and secretive pop-up supper club, culminating in an opulent and emotional feast that's a testament to her spirit and resilience. 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"--… (more)
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English (101)  German (2)  French (1)  All languages (104)
Showing 1-5 of 101 (next | show all)
As a displaced Minnesotan, this book hit all my homesickness buttons.
As other reviews have noted, the book is not told from its 'protagonist's' point of view. It was a little disconcerting at first because the narration and POV jumped around so much, but I just got so invested in the stories of everyone whose lives intersected with Eva's, that after a while it didn't matter. It's almost as though the author sat down with her friends and family and said, "So, how do you know Eva?" and the chapters that follow are the result of that question. It's quite a novel (ha!) way to write a story, and if you can get on board with it, you'll probably like it. Also, as noted, it probably helps if you've spent time in Minnesota. I didn't like this one as much as his second book (The Lager Queen of Minnesota) but it was still really good. ( )
  EmScape | Sep 27, 2021 |
Perfection. I listened to this on audiobook and it was fantastic! I am from a small town in northern Minnesota and I could match a person from my life up with each of the characters. I laughed out loud so many times. I really enjoyed how each section was told from a different character's viewpoint and the reader had to puzzle out their connection while the story advanced through the years. ( )
  Tosta | Aug 27, 2021 |
I have mixed feelings about this book. I found it very readable and didn't want not to finish it, but I didn't exactly like it. The structure was unusual; it was sort of a novel about Eva, but Eva was never the protagonist in any of the vignettes, and sometimes she barely figured at all. Someone told me it was funny, but I wouldn't say it was. ( )
  emrsalgado | Jul 23, 2021 |
Delightful. ( )
  MuggleBorn930 | Jul 11, 2021 |
fiction. [reviewed from uncorrected galley] Excellent; the recent attention/raves are well deserved. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 101 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
J. Ryan Stradalprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ryan, AmyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stuhlbarg, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Karen
Who always did the best with what she had
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Lars Thorvald loved two women.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"When Lars Thorvald's wife, Cynthia, falls in love with wine--and a dashing sommelier--he's left to raise their baby, Eva, on his own. He's determined to pass on his love of food to his daughter--starting with puréed pork shoulder. As Eva grows, she finds her solace and salvation in the flavors of her native Minnesota. From Scandinavian lutefisk to hydroponic chocolate habaneros, each ingredient represents one part of Eva's journey as she becomes the star chef behind a legendary and secretive pop-up supper club, culminating in an opulent and emotional feast that's a testament to her spirit and resilience. 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"--

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