Give a Girl a Knife

Give a Girl a Knife

A beautifully written food memoir chronicling one cook's journey from her rural Midwestern hometown to the intoxicating world of New York City fine dining and back again in search of her culinary roots.

Before Amy Thielen frantically plated rings of truffled potatoes in some of New York City s finest kitchens for chefs David Bouley, Daniel Boulud, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten she grew up in a northern Minnesota town home to the nation s largest French fry factory, the headwaters of the fast food nation, with a mother whose generous cooking pulsed with joy, family drama, and an overabundance of butter.

Inspired by her grandmother s tales of cooking on the family farm, Thielen moves with her artist husband to the rustic, off-the-grid cabin he built in the woods. There, standing at the stove three times a day, she finds the seed of a growing food obsession that leads to the sensory madhouse of New York s top haute cuisine brigades. When she goes home, she comes face to face with her past, and a curious truth: that beneath every foie gras sauce lies a rural foundation of potatoes and onions, and that taste memory is the most important ingredient of all.

Amy Thielen's coming-of-age account brims with energy, a cook s eye for intimate detail, and a dose of dry Midwestern humor. Give a Girl a Knife offers a fresh, vivid view into New York s high-end restaurant before returning Thielen to her roots, where she realizes that the marrow running through her bones is not demi-glace, but gravy honest, thick with nostalgia, and hard to resist."

Title:Give a Girl a Knife
ISBN:9780307954909
Format Type:

About Amy Thielen

AMY THIELEN is a chef, TV cook, and two-time James Beard Award–winning writer. She is the author of "The New Midwestern Table" (2013) and host of Heartland Table on Food Network (2013–2014) and worked for celebrated New York City chefs David Bouley, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and Daniel Boulud before moving back home to the Midwest. Amy speaks widely about home cooking and contributes to radio pro


    Give a Girl a Knife Reviews

  • Larry H

    I'd rate this 4.5 stars.About 14-15 years ago (how can that be?) I went to culinary school, and worked as a personal chef for about 18 months until the economy started tanking. At that time, I always ...

  • Crystal King

    What a fantastic food memoir! I loved every page of this delectable dive into Theilen's journey as she navigated the world of cooking starting in the middle of nowhere and landing in the midst of one ...

  • Lorilin

    Amy Thielen is a popular chef, writer, and TV personality on Food Network's Heartland Table. She grew up in rural Minnesota but moved to New York in her 20s to work at various impressive fine-dining r...

  • Taylor Knight

    A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisherGive a Girl a Knife is probably one of the most surprisingly entertaining books I've ever read. I was super curious about this book when I started it...

  • Gwendolyn

    This is a really unusual memoir because it contains two distinct narratives. In one of them, Amy Thielen falls in love with a "back to nature" artist who has built a one-room cabin in the remote north...

  • The Suburban Eclectic

    I am not a big foodie, but a enjoy a good meal, and I love a good sip of tea and Give a Girl a Knife suggests an interesting tale as it follows Thielan’s path from a backwoods kitchen in the woods ...

  • Robin Bonne

    Amy Thielen has vivid memories associated with food, and her mouthwatering descriptions kept me interested in her culinary journey. Just make sure you have plenty of snacks handy while reading, becaus...

  • Tavia

    I received this book free through Goodreads Giveaways. I thought I'd like this book more than I did, as I am also from rural Minnesota and moved to a big city (not NYC, but still). I just thought it w...

  • Holly

    DNF - stopping around the halfway point. I wasn't finding Thielen's life story, her use of language, or her descriptions of food and restaurants very interesting....

  • Kayla

    If a book could crawl straight out of my soul I’m convinced it would be this book. It was already bound to top my favorite list- a Minnesota girl who fulfills her dream of becoming a chef? If ever I...