Give a Girl a Knife by Amy Thielen
A Memoir

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Overall however, Thielen’s ode to living at the crossroads of culinary high and low offers thoughtful insights into the life of the chef, highlighting that when, “you give a girl a knife,” as her mom did when Amy was young, you pass on a legacy...
-LA Times

Synopsis

A beautifully written food memoir chronicling one woman’s journey from her rural Midwestern hometown to the intoxicating world of New York City fine dining—and back again—in search of her culinary roots
 
Before Amy Thielen frantically plated rings of truffled potatoes in some of New York City’s finest kitchens—for chefs David Bouley, Daniel Boulud, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten—she grew up in a northern Minnesota town home to the nation’s largest French fry factory, the headwaters of the fast food nation, with a mother whose generous cooking dripped with tenderness, drama, and an overabundance of butter.
       Inspired by her grandmother’s tales of cooking in the family farmhouse, Thielen moves north with her artist husband to a rustic, off-the-grid cabin deep in the woods. There, standing at the stove three times a day, she finds the seed of a growing food obsession that leads her to the sensory madhouse of New York’s top haute cuisine brigades. But, like a magnet, the foods of her youth draw her back home, where she comes face to face with her past and a curious truth: that beneath every foie gras sauce lies a rural foundation of potatoes and onions.
       Amy Thielen’s coming-of-age story pulses with energy, a cook’s eye for intimate detail, and a dose of dry Midwestern humor. Give a Girl a Knife offers a fresh, vivid view into New York’s high-end restaurants before returning Thielen to her roots, where she realizes that the marrow running through her bones is not demi-glace but gravy—thick with nostalgia and hard to resist.
 

About Amy Thielen

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Amy Thielen grew up a few miles from the headwaters of the Mississippi River in rural Minnesota. She spent the early 2000s cooking professionally in New York under David Bouley, Daniel Boulud, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and Shea Gallante. Since returning to Minnesota in 2008, she has written for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Men's Journal, and Babble. She is a freelance recipe developer and teaches cooking classes in her home kitchen and at schools in the Twin Cities. She lives in Park Rapids, Minnesota, with her husband and their young son.




Author Residence: Park Rapids, MN
 
Published May 16, 2017 by Clarkson Potter. 320 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Cooking. Non-fiction
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LA Times

Above average
Reviewed by Leah Mirakhor on Jun 23 2017

Overall however, Thielen’s ode to living at the crossroads of culinary high and low offers thoughtful insights into the life of the chef, highlighting that when, “you give a girl a knife,” as her mom did when Amy was young, you pass on a legacy...

Read Full Review of Give a Girl a Knife: A Memoir | See more reviews from LA Times

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