Cookbook Author and Memoirist Amy Thielen’s Tasty Reading List

The books she drank and ate and slept with as she wrote the recently published Give a Girl a Knife.

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My memoir, Give a Girl a Knife, chronicles how my obsession with food and cooking led me away from my small hometown to the fine dining brigades of New York City and then ultimately drew me back home. As I wrote about my past—from my childhood, to my first spark (the love of cooking on the line), to my return to the Minnesota woods at age 34, which is where this story ends—I burrowed way down under the covers into my first love: books. (When I’m writing, I often fall asleep with books around me; it drives my husband crazy, but he knows that books are my milk-before-bed, my insomnia-defeaters.) While I was writing this memoir, these are the books I drank and ate and slept with as I figured out how to tell the stories of my relationships with food, cooking, the Midwestern wilderness, and memory itself.

Featured image: Spring song/

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AMY THIELEN is the author of the James Beard Award-winning cookbook The New Midwestern Table and the host of Heartland Table on Food Network. A former New York City line cook, she now speaks and writes about home cooking for radio, television, and magazines, including Saveur, where she’s a contributing editor. She lives with her husband, visual artist Aaron Spangler, their son, his dog, and a bunch of chickens, in rural Park Rapids, Minnesota.

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