From the writers of acclaimed blog Pen & Palate, a humorous coming-of-age (and mastering-the-art-of-home-cooking) memoir of friendship, told through stories, recipes, and beautiful illustrations.
Getting through life in your twenties isn't easy--especially if you're broke, awkward, and prone to starting small grease fires in your studio apartment. For best friends Lucy Madison and Tram Nguyen, cooking was an escape from the daily humiliation that is being a twenty-something woman in a big city. PEN & PALATE traces the course of Lucy and Tram's devoted friendship through miserable jobs and tiny apartments, first loves and ill-advised flings, successes and setbacks--always with a shared love of food at the center of the narrative. A modern take on Laurie Colwin's classic Home Cooking, this coming-of-age memoir for the Girls set weaves together comical (mis)adventures and recipes meant to be shared with a best friend and a bottle of wine.
No matter the distance between them, Madison and Nguyen have two decades of memories together, mostly involving food and friendship. They both felt like outsiders in high school, moved away from loved ones, scrounged for meals in college, and struggled to impress new bosses. As Madison and Nguyen check off these and other relatable growing pains, they offer countless delicious recipes and laugh-out-loud humor. When they met as teens in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., Madison discovered that "we had a mutual sense of respect for how the other ate." Nguyen often felt like the odd one out with her elaborate Asian lunches; Madison thought she stuck out with hearty loaves of homemade bread and a lack of Capri Sun. They spent a couple of years apart, but were always only a phone call or recipe away. Then Nguyen reunited with Madison in Chicago to finish up her last couple of years at art school, and they ate their way through Chicago's tasty neighborhoods. Madison later moved to New York to become a journalist, and Nguyen stayed in Chicago. Their mouthwatering recipes include pho-spiced braised short ribs; spicy lemongrass chili chicken wings; Thanksgiving tamales; and a beginner-friendly fried chicken. The book alternates sections written by the two talented, witty women with Nguyen's illustrations and an array of clever recipes that readers will want to try immediately.