Molly Wizenberg on Her New Memoir: "Food Gives Rhythm to Our Lives"

London author and restaurateur Molly Wizenberg.
London author and restaurateur Molly Wizenberg.
Courtesy of Kyle Johnson

Molly Wizenberg's food blog Orangette has been called the best food blog by the London Times. Her first memoir, A Homemade Life (2010), chronicled her food memories, dealing with her father's death, and meeting her husband-to-be, Brandon. Delancey (2014) is Wizenberg's second memoir, and it focuses on their decision to open a pizza restaurant in Seattle with recipes thrown into the mix. Short Order sat down with the New York Times bestselling author to discuss the new book, the restaurant, and tear-worthy pasta.

See also: Ruth Reichl Talks New Novel at Books & Books

New Times: What made you want to write about opening up Delancey?

Molly Wizenberg: For one thing, I sensed there was a story there that I should write down. I write because writing helps me keep perspective on my own life. This experience was so big and changed so much about my life, I felt compelled to try to write about it.

Did you write the memoir while working at Delancey or afterwards?

[I wrote it] quite a while after. I was still very much in the throes of promoting A Homemade Life. I actually felt burnt out and I didn't know if I wanted to write anymore. It took a good year [after opening Delancey] to feel ready to write about it.

How would you describe your writing style?

I describe myself as a food writer, but I'm interested in how food gives rhythm to our lives, how food adds a lens to our lives and helps us understand them. My style is honest and conversational.


How would you describe your cooking style?

I'm a pretty simple cook. I like straightforward flavors. I'm very happy with a delicious green salad and a fried egg on top. I'm much more interested in the role food has in my life and my family's life.

There's a scene in the book where you have an amazing pasta dish at The River Café in London. It's so good, you start crying. What exactly was going on there?

I was coming off of an intense time, opening the restaurant, that whole experience, and I didn't know if I'd ever have that again, being able to travel and having the finances to do so. And the restaurant was beautiful, it was clear that the people who worked there really cared and it showed, and I understood what went into that.

What is your favorite pizza that Delancey serves?

The white pie. It has no tomato sauce, just the dough, and on top goes four different kinds of cheese: fresh mozzarella, aged mozzarella, ricotta, which we make in house, shaved fresh garlic, and grated Grana Padano on top. It's my absolute favorite because it's not overly cheesy or overly rich.

Do you have any plans to write outside of the memoir genre?

Food is what got me into writing, but I love storytelling. I'd like to do some more travel writing, but I don't know if I'd ever do fiction writing, even though some people have suggested that I do it. I'm not sure I have that in me.

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