The September book giveaway extravaganza continues!

In 2007, while visiting my friend mav, she suggested that I start a blog. “What would I blog about?” I questioned. “Food, of course” she replied. Before I left the comfort of her Maine apartment, the name Whipped had popped into my head and I had begun searching the blogosphere to get my feet wet.

I clicked here and there, drawn in by photos, personable voices and recipes. So many delectable recipes. Some of my early favorites and regular reads were Pinch My Salt, Orangette, and The Wednesday Chef. It was such a new phenomenon to form a relationship with someone you never met. Sometimes emails were exchanged, we added links to each other’s sites and occasionally I wondered if we would ever meet in person.

I’ve always had a particular affinity for Luisa who writes the blog Wednesday Chef. As her many followers agree, Luisa’s honest, conversational voice is easy to read. She has a way of expressing and exploring her vulnerabilities that contradictorily leads you to admire her strength. There are some similarities in our lives that always led me to believe we were kindred spirits.

For the past months, I have anxiously awaited Luisa’s new book, My Berlin Kitchen. I was fortunate to receive an advance copy about a month ago. For a week, I was short on sleep, staying up late to fit in just one or two more chapters.

In her new memoir, Luisa’s approachable style is intact but I think that her writing is even better. She guides us through the chapters of her life, sharing an unusual multi-cultural childhood and the story of a heart-swelling romance. In between, you’ll find heartache, triumph, sadness and discovery. At the end of each chapter, Luisa treats the reader to a recipe that is closely tied to the writing.

Truly, I can’t remember a book that I’ve read in recent years that gave me such warm feelings. Somehow, her stories make you feel hopeful and positive about the human condition, even with its hurdles and heartache.  I wrote to Luisa to congratulate her and share my excitement about her book. She was gracious enough to entertain some of my interview questions:

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. In your book, you don’t talk much about your breakfast preferences. Does it change depending on what country you are in?
It does change! When I’m in the States, I eat cereal, because no one does cereal better than Americans do. Grape Nuts, Cheerios, Autumn Harvest, oh man, I love a good bowl of cold cereal. It’s one of the things I miss the most, foodwise, about living in the US. In Italy, I follow my mother’s lead and eat cookies for breakfast, dipped in my hot cup of tea. I don’t love cookies for breakfast – I can never shake the niggling feeling that I’ve started the day off on the wrong foot, but it’s only a few times a year, so I try to live a little. In Germany, it’s a few slices of dark, seeded bread with butter and honey or jam. And a bowl of nice, sour yogurt. Delicious.

Which cooking tool do you have the biggest love affair with? You know, the one that feels almost sensual in your hands, the one with which you couldn’t barely live without.
I edited a few of Alton Brown’s cookbooks in my old job and as a thank-you after finishing one of them, Alton sent me a Santoku knife from his knife line. I’d never used a Santoku before, I thought they were sort of a “trendy” knife that I wouldn’t have much use for, but, boy, was I in for a surprise. The knife has become the most important thing in my kitchen, along with a square lipped plastic cutting board that I’m obsessed with. The knife is the perfect size for my small hands, is incredibly sharp, has a wonderful warm wooden handle, chops and slices and dices like a dream. It really feels like an extension of my hands when I use it. No other knife comes close.

You speak 3 languages fluently? Or, more? What language do you speak with your husband?
I actually speak four, English, German, Italian and French. My husband and I speak German together, though he’s always telling me to speak more English with him, which I rarely do. Old habits die hard, I guess. But I’m in charge of teaching our son English, so now that Hugo’s around, I do speak a lot more English at home.

You grew up stretched between different cultures and countries. Have you thought about how you will expose your son to all of his rich heritage while offering him the sense of home and wholeness that you missed?
I have thought about it a lot, actually! First of all, I hope his dad and I stay together, as I think that being happy parents is the most important part of providing stability and happiness for a child. Beyond that, I think it’s just a matter of making him realize through our actions every day that he is adored and beloved by us, whether we’re home in our apartment in Berlin or at my mother’s house in Italy or visiting my dad in the States. He’ll obviously be a well-traveled kid, but I hope he never associates the sadness that I feel when I travel – I want him to feel limitless excitement when he gets to the airport, not the sort of stomach-churning anxiety that I’ve never been able to shake, even all these years later.

What do you crave when you are sick? Your ultimate comfort food.
I don’t have much of an appetite when I’m sick! A bowl of Cheerios with cold milk will usually do – but now that I can’t have those anymore, it’s a bowl of pastina in broth. That’s what my mother used to make me when I was sick as a kid.

Would you rather give up cheese or chocolate for the rest of your life?
Man, that’s a hard question! I can’t imagine never putting Parmigiano on my spaghetti again. But I think I eat a piece of chocolate almost every day. So. Cheese? Gah! No! Chocolate? Eep!

To win a copy of the Berlin Kitchen, leave a comment on this post and share your favorite comfort food. I will randomly choose a winner by the end of the day on Thursday this week. By that time, you’ll be able to order this book online :)

Update: This giveaway is closed. Congratulations to Jess for winning the book!

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65 Responses to “Book Giveaway: My Berlin Kitchen”

  1. Elin Says:

    My ultimate comfort food is Italian wedding soup. Something about it just makes me feel better about everything going on in my life. Also warm. Both very good things.

  2. Keli Says:

    My favorite comfort food is chicken paprikash. I reminds me of when I was younger, and we would get the whole family together to cook a meal.

  3. Deb Says:

    My favorite comfort food is Chocolate Chip Cookies, warm from the oven!

  4. Katya Says:

    Challah dipped in a bowl of milk. Best enjoyed alone because it’s a slurpy mess.

  5. Claire Helene Says:

    Oh, my favorite comfort food is chicken and dumplings, over mashed potatoes. Nothing like a good carb blanket! :) It reminds me of childhood and snuggles from my mom.

  6. Rachel Says:

    Any kind of soup.

  7. alyssa trobacher Says:

    I love mac and cheese, homemade of course. But almost any pasta will do. I’d say that is my best comfort food.

  8. Laura Says:

    My favorite comfort food is steamed short grain rice with a pat of butter on top and a sprinkle of Maldon salt. Not the healthiest but oh so good. I would have to say my other choice is mac and cheese with a bread crumb crust.

  9. Tori Says:

    Ultimate comfort is stew, of any kind really. I make a real stew-y chicken and dumplings. now I want chicken n dumplings.

  10. Jenny H Says:

    My favorite comfort food is homemade pot roast with mashed potatoes and gravy. Mac and cheese is a close second.

  11. Eileen Says:

    I’ve been interested in this book since your previous post on it. Cooking meals that I’ve had while traveling really brings those places home- which is very therapeutic with little ones. I’m also interested in discovering more about my German heritage- and the cuisine is a good place to start. Thank you!

  12. Elise Says:

    My favorite comfort food is toast. Any kind, any toppings… even plain toasted bread is amazing to me. But I think maybe cinnamon sugar toast or toast with butter and honey is my ultimate pick-me-up food.

  13. Chelsea Says:

    My favorite comfort food is pan-fried venison with mashers and milk gravy. My dad makes the best!

  14. Eileen Says:

    Oh! Favorite comfort food- a Baguette and some hot cheese fondue.

  15. ChiHa Says:

    I’d say my ultimate comfort food when I’m sick is my Mom’s homemade turkey noodle soup. She has a recipe for these amazing thick noodles! But if I’m just feeling blue, a bacon cheeseburger from a diner. lol.

  16. Whitney Says:

    My ultimate comfort food is a toss up between a bowl of spaghetti with red sauce and spicy sausage and chips and queso.

  17. jan fleming Says:

    chicken noodle soup is my ultimate comfort food these days

  18. Lauren Says:

    My comfort food is warm bread pudding. Love it.

  19. Nicole Says:

    My favorite food is shells with white cheddar!

  20. Anna Says:

    Favorite comfort food would be anything that comes out of my mother’s kitchen. She and I have completely different cooking styles. I’m more of a baker and when I cook I try to keep things on the healthy side. She still cooks the way her grandmother cooked in Russia, which means she buys mayo in industrial sized tubs and takes big scoops out of great big containers of duck fat she’d rendered herself. I’ve learned not to question things but just enjoy them when I visit because everything is inevitably delicious. I just remember to have a great big salad for lunch the next day :D

  21. Linda Marie Says:

    Favorite comfort food is a grilled cheese = bread and melted cheese makes me feel better every time! thanks for the giveway! this book is definately on my wish list!

  22. annie Says:

    Nothing like homemade chicken soup and grilled cheese for comfort food. But maybe a little cookie or piece of chocolate would help things along. By the way, Luisa’s blog was one of the first ones I read, also.

  23. Sara P. Says:

    Lasagna!!

  24. Lia Tumkus Says:

    Big bowl of meat ballls and pasta with lot’s of tomato sauce, cheese and bread :D

  25. Kristen Saunders Says:

    My favorite comfort food is grilled cheese with tomato soup. Though it does vary from time to time. I like tomato bisque and love to change the cheeses from muenster to sharp cheddar on my grilled cheese. I even did chives from the garden and warm Philadelphia cream cheese once. It is one of those things, I’m always in the mood for.

  26. Greg Says:

    Chicken and dumplings, without a doubt.

  27. robin Says:

    too many comfort foods to narrow down. but i do love potato soup…biscuits and gravy…

  28. Mimi Says:

    Anything anything anything to do with cheese. Cheese obsessed and totally comforting.

  29. Stephanie Says:

    My favorite comfort food (esp when I’m sick!) is a bowl of my mom’s homemade macaroni soup. It has teensy pieces of chicken and shiitake mushrooms and carrots and is just THE. BEST. THING. AROUND.

  30. Jess Says:

    Same as above – nothing can beat homemade tomato soup & grilled cheese.

  31. Emma Says:

    My favorite comfort food would probably be lentil soup – my grandmother’s recipe, made from the Christmas leftovers.

  32. Dina Says:

    Bolognese sauce over fat noodles with a mound of grated parm!

  33. Marian Says:

    Oatmeal with dried figs!

  34. Jaime Says:

    Grilled cheese and tomato soup….yummmmmmmmmmmm

  35. Eunice Says:

    As far as comfort food goes, nothing beats some garlic mashed potatoes!

  36. Emily Says:

    Spinach sauteed with crushed red pepper, mixed with rice. It’s so gross, but so delicious!

  37. Mary Says:

    My favorite comfort food is rice pudding- hot or cold, both are fine.

  38. Jessica Says:

    My comfort food has changed in the last few years, to simple roast chicken with vegetables cooked with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
    “My Berlin Kitchen” sounds lovely!

  39. Natalie Says:

    Now that I’m living in another country, I really miss my mom’s freshly-baked challah bread. I’ve tried recreating it several times since I moved to Sweden, but it never comes out the same!

  40. Sean Says:

    Ultimate comfort food for me would have to definitely be chicken pot pie. All the veggies and chicken…yum! Great giveaway.

  41. Alina Says:

    For me it would have to be old school chicken noodle soup. It reminds me of when my mom used to make it every time I was sick or sad. It would bring a huge smile to my face.

  42. Kai Says:

    My comfort food would be a toss up between hot buttered toast and tomato soup. If I really need comfort, I’ll make both and dip my toast in the soup :)

  43. Megan L Says:

    Cantonese style beef noodle soup always work for me when I need comfort food!

  44. MeganM Says:

    Roasted Brussels sprouts drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper is doing it for me these days. My all-time favorite is a fried egg and cheese sandwich though – perfect in its simplicity.

  45. erinn johnson Says:

    I love a bowl of good chocolate chip ice cream (with sprinkles on top).
    Thanks for the giveaway, been looking forward to the book coming out.

  46. Stolk Says:

    My mom’s homemade spaghetti sauce with meatballs, lots of Parmesan, crusty bread, and a fresh green salad. You’d think I’m Italian…

  47. Glynis Says:

    Roasted butternut squash!

  48. Tina Says:

    Really anything that warms the house and has a beautiful aroma. Tops…homemade chicken soup with lots of rosemary!!

  49. abigail Says:

    mac and cheese

  50. Christina Says:

    A roasted chicken for dinner and brownies for dessert!

  51. Kathy Says:

    Spaghetti & meatballs. Preferably made by someone else. Or chicken noodle soup. Or chicken pot pie. Or won ton soup. Or a grilled cheese sandwich, always rye bread, always velveeta (it’s comfort food!) Onion dip and Ruffles. Butterscotch pudding. I’m on a roll …

  52. Kel Says:

    What a nice post! I would have to say — quesadillas!

  53. Bernd Says:

    For me it would have to be Dröewors & Biltong

  54. Ellie Says:

    Ice cream is probably the food I crave most when I feel that I should do something special for myself.

  55. Leslie Says:

    My favorite comfort food is my mom’s homemade chicken noodle soup. It always makes me feel better when I’m under the weather or having a bad day!

  56. Ashley Says:

    The ultimate comfort food for me is your recipe for sweet potatoes and goat cheese. I can never get enough and it makes me so happy every time!

  57. Rachel Says:

    mac and cheese!

  58. Alexis Says:

    What a great interview! Thank you for sharing. I can’t wait to check out the book!

  59. Alexis Says:

    What a great interview! Thank you for sharing. I can’t wait to check out the book! As for comfort food–anything Mexican will work, but enchiladas suizas or chilaquiles are a win for sure.

  60. Maria Says:

    Homemade marinara on (preferrably) homemade pasta. But, to be honest? Tomato soup does it too. I had it most fridays for lunch as a kid in the cafeteria and any rainy day over the summer, winter, or weekend breaks.

    I also love Luisa’s ability to comfort and soothe and make me smile through almost anything.

  61. Zinta Says:

    If the weather is cold: slowly cooked Hungarian goulash, rich with peppers and extra spicy.
    If the weather is hot: just plain vanilla ice cream (preferably homemade) with caramel.

  62. Amy G Says:

    Definitely macaroni and cheese, preferably homemade with vermont cheddar, but I wouldn’t turn down the neon stuff from the box.

  63. Lavina Ho Says:

    My favorite food is noodles in chicken broth with peas. My mother used to make it all the time when I was sick and let’s just say I was sick a lot.

  64. Megan P. Says:

    Mac ‘n cheese, hands down

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