Good Food Book Club: Give A Girl A Knife: On Sculpting a Life

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"One of the best coming of age food memoirs you’ll ever pick up." —Rolling Stone

Welcome to the November book selection, Give a Girl a Knife, a memoir by Amy Thielen. At a time when so much discourse is given to the harms of enabling the continued oppression of women, the title of this newly-released memoir rings with more than sharp cutlery. Knife. Girl. Give. What might this girl need to cut? Want to cut? Is the knife a metaphor for the alchemy of whittling, or cleaving a whole new way of being? Or is this girl, like so many of us, a person simply doing her best to rise to her own life—or to fall back into finding the truth of it—using food, love, reflection and delight as the points on her inner compass? And does the giving—the claiming of her own power—ensure her agency in the kitchen as well as in her heart?

Come join us this November to find out. As the PBS News Hour rightly says about her memoir, “Awesome for foodies, this book should also be read by fans of literary memoir.” This is that rare culinary book that is both literal and metaphor, a journey through food and life to the treasures of living in alignment with personal truth. For those of us who love both food and great writing, it is a charming book indeed: a treat to delight you through November’s whirlwinds of cooking, friends, family, gratitude and—not to be forgotten during this intense season—cutting out the things that no longer serve.

Amy grew up near the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Minnesota, an exuberant earthy habitat flooded by wetlands and lakes. Doused by water, nature, time outdoors . . . it soaked in. She married an artist who quickly built them a rustic little cabin in a nearby State Park where she unearthed her deep affinity for gardens and cooking. Before long, they migrated to what might be called the boiling point to her cool watery beginnings: New York City. There she cooked for some of the world’s top chefs, in hot-line high-end flashpoint restaurants, wielding those knives to craft ever more sophisticated dishes.

Until one day. She stopped. Went home. To her cabin. Her beloveds. Her dirt. Lakes. Simple fats. Backyard greens. Knife. And (with a bow to Mary Oliver’s Wild Geese) to her place in the family of things.

Please join us to discuss Give a Girl a Knife, a memoir by Amy Thielen. (Clarkson Potter 2017) on Sunday, November 26, from 4:30-6:00 pm at a member’s private residence (details will come in this month’s email reminder). Remember to email to receive reminders about the Good Food Book Club. Give a Girl a Knife is available through your local library. If you are interested in buying the book, check out the area’s local used book stores or visit BookPeople of Moscow where Book Club members receive a discount. For more information about the Good Food Book Club, check out the Outreach section of the MFC website at

Please Note, the last book of the year is:

December: The Wonder by Emma Donoghue (a novel from the author of The Room)