Review: Delancey by Molly Wizenberg

Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage by Molly Wizenberg

Delancey is a memoir about a couple who opened their own pizza place in Seattle. Or at least that’s what I was expecting it to be about. What I was not expecting was for it to be written by the wife who had very little involvement in the restaurant that her husband was starting. What I also didn’t expect was for there to be so many recipes in the book. I guess since it’s kind of a food memoir that shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did. And because I was listening to this book on audio, I couldn’t really skip over the recipes.

This book is sort of a “how to” on opening a restaurant. I enjoyed the parts about Brandon trying to make the perfect pizza from the crust experimentation to the selection of cheeses to the hours of practice with a wood-fired oven.

What was missing though was the emotion. This book is kind of told second hand because Brandon didn’t write the book, and Molly really didn’t want to have anything to do with the restaurant at the beginning. She thought it was another one of his crazy schemes. That’s something I can relate to, as my own husband is very passionate, but there was something missing from this book.

It read (well, listened?) like a litany of steps taken to get to opening the restaurant, but it was so dry and unfeeling. Perhaps because the last memoir I read was The Yellow Envelope, which was nothing but honesty and emotion, this book just fell kind of flat for me. It was OK, but nothing special.

All that said…if I am ever in Seattle, I want to eat at Delancey because the pizza does sound amazing.

Rating: 3 Stars

Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage
Molly Wizenberg
Blackstone Audiobooks
June 30, 2014

In this funny, frank, and tender memoir, the author of the New York Times bestseller A Homemade Life and the blog Orangette recounts how opening a restaurant sparked the first crisis of her young marriage.

When Molly Wizenberg married Brandon Pettit, he was a trained composer with a handful of offbeat interests: espresso machines, wooden boats, violin-building, and ice cream-making. So when Brandon decided to open a pizza restaurant, Molly was supportive--not because she wanted him to do it but because the idea was so far-fetched she didn't think he would. Before she knew it, he'd signed a lease on a space. The restaurant, Delancey, was going to be a reality, and all of Molly's assumptions about her marriage were about to change.

Together they built Delancey: gutting and renovating the space on a cobbled-together budget, developing a menu, hiring staff, and passing inspections. Delancey became a success, and Molly tried to convince herself that she was happy in their new life until--in the heat and pressure of the restaurant kitchen--she realized that she hadn't been honest with herself or Brandon.With evocative photos by Molly and twenty new recipes for the kind of simple, delicious food that chefs eat at home, Delancey is a moving and honest account of two young people learning to give in and let go in order to grow together.

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