I love finding new inspiring and artistic cookbooks, the kind that draw you into the person writing it, the books where you can clearly hear their beautiful voice coming through – letting you inside the inner workings of their life, hearing their unique opinions, experiences, and consequently, being taken into part of their heart.
Mimi Thorisson does this exactly, in her cookbook titled, A Kitchen in France, released recently on October 28, 2014. She is an amazing woman, wife to Icelandic photographer Oddur Thorisson, mother to 6 children (with one on the way), and master creator of a wealth of recipes!
Speaking of recipes, if you love really good food, you need to visit her recipe page of her personal blog – it is mind-blowing and will transform your view on cooking!
Mimi and her family moved from a small apartment in Paris, to a bigger château out in the serene & breathtaking French countryside and to slow pace of Medoc, France. She was amazed to find how much she loved just enjoying her children – being there watching them grow up, all the little things like hearing a bird chirping, the slowness of life – and having the time to actually cook. As a woman who’s worked in the research field while my son was a toddler, it was a constant struggle to find a balance… and part of why I started this blog (other than to vent creatively) was to document my food journey with my son & family. Things like the decadent Traditional Chocolate Tart – something I couldn’t believe I was able to accomplish – or the homemade (completely from scratch) Eclairs… these things never would’ve happened when I was so busy balancing the working life, deadlines, and goals as well as trying to be a base mom… making sure my son got the basics covered. I never had to time to relax in a bookstore with my son playing in the children’s section while I read amazing cookbooks or looked at beautiful magazines.
Hearing her voice come out in reading her cookbook (where she talks about things like this) was like giving words to my own, and more than likely many other mothers’, who’d gone from working full time to working from home/stay at home parents. Hearing her appreciate the simple things was to me, a stark reminder of how Americans parent so differently than the French.
Her life that she reveals in her cookbook was just so interesting. Growing up with a Chinese father and French mother (and grandmother who cooked for all their holidays spent in France) she lived a life full of gustatory delights from Hong Kong to the bistros of Paris. Her father and her had a tender, special relationship, much centered around appreciating good food. She writes about his particular love of food affecting her – being a very picky eater… how he was so patient, and would spend a lot of time trying to get her to try new things or buy very special delights just for her.
I get almost sentimental thinking about their relationship – my father is what I’d consider, a “foodie.” Ever since I was little he’d take me to the supermarket with him (and he would go to special, out of the way whole foods and organic stores that were 40 miles away from our house at times) and always try to get me to try new foods. I remember being 4 or 5 and trying my first ever cherry tomato at his urging – I was completely taken, and ever since then I’ve loved a fresh tomato slice on many different things. He would also buy me special little foods or delights – things that my mother did in her own way, but his was just a different taste than hers.
Some of our favorite times now that I’m a cook and a wife/mother, is when he comes over to our house for dinner, or I bring over baked goodies to my parents house, and we just enjoy the home-cooked/baked food together.
I love Mimi’s love of the kitchen – I love how she shows that it brings people together… nothing is as important as bringing children and their parents together, and the table (and very good food) provides a wonderful opportunity.
She has an entire section on Winter foods in her cookbook, it is so inspiring and such a gift to us – check it out at the bookstore, you won’t be sorry!
Loving chocolate like I do, I found a recipe in her cookbook on the Chocolate Tart with a special Salted Caramel Sauce!! Adding it to my list to make this week for Thanksgiving.
Thank you Mimi, you are incredible.
All pictures taken by Oddur Thorisson