Author: Samantha Gianulis
Just like there is comfort food, there is comfort reading, the kind of book that you can curl up with on a rainy day, warm and relaxing. For me, one of the most comforting genres is the essayistic cookbook, a kind of “food prose” with recipes thrown in. And “Little Grapes on the Vine” definitely fits the bill when it comes to comfort reads.
Samatha Gianulis creates a memoir around food and family, inextricably connected and intertwined, one reinforcing the other. Through a set of short essays, Gianulis shares her life and connection to food, from growing up as a girl in Southern California with her Grandma’s no-nonsense cooking, to meeting her Greek husband and learning to cook the foods that played such an integral part in his heritage, and finally, experiencing motherhood through feeding and cooking with her own three kids.
Throughout the book, she shares simple family recipes, all based on showcasing fresh, real ingredients: from Grandmother’s Cherry Pie to Baklava and Tzatziki, the chosen recipes honor both her own roots and her husband’s Greek background, the matriarchs from his side of the family recognized and respected for their culinary brilliance.
Gianulis’ style is light, warm, and easy to read, reminiscent of Frances Mayes’ Under the Tuscan Sun. She manages to get across her love for her family as well as her passion for food and the importance of cooking in nurturing and parenthood, and her appetizing descriptions of favorite foods evoke immediate desire to try the recipes that she shares.
All in all, I greatly enjoyed this book, and am glad to add it to my “comfort reading” collection. Anyone looking for a family-style cookbook and a read as warm and nurturing as a cup of hot chocolate on a cold day will not be disappointed.
The above review was contributed by: Kate Andronov-Communications Student