The Kitchen Daughter

The Kitchen Daughter After The Unexpected Death Of Her Parents, Painfully Shy And Sheltered Year Old Ginny Selvaggio Seeks Comfort In Cooking From Family Recipes But The Rich, Peppery Scent Of Her Nonna S Soup Draws An Unexpected Visitor Into The Kitchen The Ghost Of Nonna Herself, Dead For Twenty Years, Who Appears With A Cryptic Warning Do No Let Her Before Vanishing Like Steam From A Cooling DishA Haunted Kitchen Isn T Ginny S Only Challenge Her Domineering Sister, Amanda, Aka Demanda Insists On Selling Their Parents House, The Only Home Ginny Has Ever Known As She Packs Up Her Parents Belongings, Ginny Finds Evidence Of Family Secrets She Isn T Sure How To Unravel She Knows How To Turn Milk Into Cheese And Cream Into Butter, But She Doesn T Know Why Her Mother Hid A Letter In The Bedroom Chimney, Or The Identity Of The Woman In Her Father S Photographs The She Learns, The She Realizes The Keys To These Riddles Lie With The Dead, And There S Only One Way To Get Answers Cook From Dead People S Recipes, Raise Their Ghosts, And Ask Them

She is a monthly pop culture columnist and Editor in Chief of Intrepid Media, online at intrepidmedia.com Her work has appeared in publications such as the North American Review, Indiana Review, and the Graduate Review at American University, where she earned her MFA in Creative Writing.

[Reading] ➿ The Kitchen Daughter By Jael McHenry – Online-strattera-atomoxetine.info
  • Hardcover
  • 272 pages
  • The Kitchen Daughter
  • Jael McHenry
  • English
  • 15 October 2019
  • 9781439191699

10 thoughts on “The Kitchen Daughter

  1. says:

    Reason for Reading The main character has Asperger s, as do I, and I make it a habit of reading books that portray Aspies.First, I d like to mention that this is as far from my regular type of reading as it gets I don t do women s fiction no matter what the topic I stay very, very far away from it But when I was introduced to this book I saw the protagonist was Asperger s and I didn t really pay attention to anything else I just wanted to read it.I loved this book with a passion I read it in an evening, staying up to 3 30 am in the morning to finish it I just couldn t put it down Ginny Selvaggio was my kindred spirit The first chapter really introduces her to the reader focusing a lot on her quirks, foibles and what goes on in her mind I found a lot of myself there in that first chapter, that I knew I was going along for the ride with her Ginny has Asperger s but has never been officially diagnosed, she doesn t even know herself, which I found odd throughout most of the story seeing as her father was a doctor, well a surgeon technically, but this works itself out by the end She has unfortunately been overprotected by her parents, her mother virtually taking care of her, leaving the house with her but at the same that same mother does manage to have a wealth of coping strategies for Ginny, insisting she go to school and also insisting she learn the niceties of social discourse Ginny is now in her early 30s and living at home with her parents, really incapable of dealing with the day to day of the outside world as she s never been given a chance.Then tragedy strikes this is all in the first chapter, btw and her parents are killed in a tragic accident leaving Ginny to her own defences Except her younger sister Amanda completely takes over her mother s role and starts to arrange a new life for Ginny where she, Amanda, will now look after her But Ginny eventually finds her voice and stands up for herself, she finds a friend, she starts venturing forth into the world All this causes extreme stress upon her, but she has coping methods and one of them is food, not eating but cooking Other reviewers will write about the food element of this book which has a major role, but I am not a cook nor do I like foreign, fancy foods, in fact the only recipe that interested my was the hard boiled egg LOL So I ll leave that to other reviewers But thinking about food and cooking are calming forces on Ginny This is when she realizes that she can bring back ghosts of people If she follows a recipe of someone dead in their own handwriting they will appear in her kitchen for a short time and Ginny starts talking to these ghosts to unravel a deeply hidden family secret.I found the story utterly charming The ghost part was fun, this magical realism added another layer to the story and as a fan of magical realism it probably added to my enjoyment of a women s fiction book The story of how Ginny tentatively makes a friend was interesting to watch and the fact that it was a member of the opposite sex is telling as well I, myself, do not relate to women very well and find it much easier to talk to men than women The story of two sisters, is wonderful, and realistic Both are trying to please, worried about each other, offended by the other s behaviour and have a major falling out in this time of stressful need when they should be supporting each other.But most importantly, to me, is the portrayal of Asperger s syndrome in a female I think Ms McHenry has done a fine job, especially considering she has no personal experience and received all her information through research from some renowned writers on the topic and through the Asperger s network online I found Ginny entirely believable and a fine voice for the community of aspies in the real world Personally I found many similarities between Ginny and myself the use of the closet as a place to get away from it all, the many obsessions, not being able to look people in the eye, not liking to be touched for me it s just my head face but I do need a personal space of an arm s width around me, not seeing the purpose of social chit chat, performing social niceties because they are expected not because they have a logical reason.Ginny learns to accept who she is an aspie, as we all do at some point, and begins a process of asserting herself and living with herself, as she is The book has a positive portrayal of Asperger s and one thing I really appreciated was when she went to see the psychiatrist this was her final discourse with Ginny Everybody struggles with this stuff, you know With social discomfort and grief and fitting in People with syndromes, people with disorders, people with diagnoses and without People who would be classified as neurotypical Idiots and geniuses, maids and doctors Nobody s got it all figured out Not even you Not even me So it doesn t actually matter whether I have it at all I didn t say that, she says But you want my personal opinion It matters a lot less than some people think it does Well done, highly recommended read for an insight into Asperger s in an adult just learning she has a syndrome.

  2. says:

    This is actually my favorite kind of book It s about something relevant but also about something else much relevant It reminds me of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake which is about a girl who feels what people feel when they cook the food But it s really not It s about coping skills or it s a little story about growing upThis book is about Ginny who is 26 years old and has a personality At least that s what she s always been told Secretly, Ginny has never been officially diagnosed with Aspberger s Syndrome She has self soothed by hiding in closets and sticking her hands into her parents shoes or cooking She also self soothes by cooking or imagining chemical changes while she cooks One day she needs to feel comfort and whips up a dish by her Nonna Imagine her surprise when Nonna appears to her in the kitchen and talks to her Scares the dickens out of her This turns out to be a theme for her When a recipe is hand written, she can conjure a person up with the cooking and the smell They stay until the smell fades She learns from talking to them but also is forced to interact with the world about her Her trusted housekeeper begins as the artery to the outside world and slowly Ginny discovers what she can and can t do The introduction of David, the housekeeper s grief engulfed son is an interesting storyline The book is a story about grief and some of the different grieving styles So very, very interesting.

  3. says:

    A young woman with Aspberger s coming to terms with herself while grieving the death of her parents Ginny has always been different What has been apparent to her parents, has been kept from Ginny Ginny has coping skills which include food, it s tastes,textures and smells So when situations threaten Ginny she conjures food or she cooks Reluctantly brought out of herself by circumstances and those around her, Ginny slowly starts to see life beyond the walls of her family home A healthy dose of magical realism is introduced as Ginny inadvertently conjures her deceased Nonna while cooking The author s look into normality was well done The author invites her reader to look at themselves through the character s eyes.What is normal after all I think the edges of normal are ever expanding I thoroughly enjoyed this poignant story.

  4. says:

    I would probably rather give this book 3 stars for effort, and only 2 stars for result I get the sense that Ms McHenry isn t quite sure what she herself wants this book to be A cause book informing the public about aspbergers , a book about cooking, a book about relationships, a book about grieving or simply a narrative about life In any event, I don t think she accomplishes any of these particularly well I expected to like this a lot better than I did And I admit that I stuck with it, even though I was a little annoyed with the length of time it was taking me to finish it I m not compulsive about finishing something if I don t like it too many other good books waiting for me to turn their pages And the writing itself was fine I loved a lot of the descriptions, Ms McHenrey certainly does have a love for food I did not, though, feel like I was getting a good portrayal of someone with aspbergers syndrome It just didn t quite ring true for me Nor did I get a feeling of full character development in well, really, any of the characters It s almost as though the author is in love with the actual writing than in the meaning of the writing, if that makes any sense Lots of promise but little delivery.Won t be actively seeking of Ms McHenry s works to read.

  5. says:

    The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry is the story of a young woman, Ginny, who suffers from Asperger s Syndrome and overcomes her perception of herself as a social outcast through an eventual acceptance and love for who she is as an individual In my belief, this novel is certainly quite an interesting read as it provides a perspective of the world from the eyes of a person who is not quite the same as the rest of us There is not much physical action used to develop the plot of the story as as most would expect in literature of our fast paced, materialistic era, but it speaks volumes in terms of its emotional depth instead One aspect which I would certainly critique this novel on however, is that through Ginny s constant procurement of ghosts used to clear up the mysteries of her past, there is not enough character development in the present throughout the entire novel As a result, McHenry is only able to display an externally subtle change in Ginny s demeanor, which is brought about by an equally subtle and underwhelming climax scene Therefore, the overall effect of the novel is one of an interesting read for sure, but one that does not reach its full potential in moving the reader due to the structural issues which it holds The first major aspect of this novel is of course the character development of the protagonist, Ginny At the beginning of the novel, she is scarred with the recent death of her parents, whom she had been fully dependent on for her whole life up to this point Further, Ginny reacts violently to any physical touch or social interaction due to her Asperger s, resorting to sensory thoughts about food, her one true passion, in order to soothe herself and avoid panic attacks Obviously, from this preexisting set of conditions, she experiences social rejection in her own heart and, even though she manages to falsely convince herself that she is normal, her sister, Amanda, compels her not to feel like it all the time, domineering over any situation involving the two of them because she does not trust her sister to make informed decisions However, through procuring family ghosts to clear up her confused past, gaining emotional intelligence through interaction with the maid, Gert, and her son, David, and learning how to control her Asperger s in social situations through an involuntary visit to the psychiatrist, Ginny is able to not only to break out of her shell in her own mind, but also develop a equal role in her relationship with Amanda by the end Once again, this change is brought about in a subtle manner This character development also depicts two main, endearing themes which capture the essence of what McHenry tries to convey In this man vs self conflict, Ginny struggles with her own identity and part in society This is embodied first and foremost through the motif of The Normal Book , which also depicts the first theme Ginny reads this compilation of advice column clippings frequently towards the beginning of this novel in order to reassure herself that she is human and normal, as its stories convey the message that there is no defined normal and that people come from a broad spectrum If Ginny s development is the Hero s Journey, then the Normal Book is the herald, or call, to adventure as it prompts Ginny not only to read the advice but to act upon its ideals as well as she initially displays inner desires to want to learn how to conform to society s perception of normal through objective techniques I find the title How to be Good Curious, I open it up I am disappointed to find it s fiction She has had her sister and many others brand her as broken or defective all of her life, but in the climax, when David, whom she has developed an intimate friendship with through opening up and expanding her own personality, dies in an accident, Amanda visualizes the same human emotions in her sister that she thought were not explicitly present before and, in this moment, realizes that Ginny is a normal individual who experiences life just like her every day and therefore deserves to be treated as equal individual As I have expressed before, I do not find this climax to be truly embodies the fulfillment of this theme, as there is no definitive action which Ginny takes to bring about this change and rather simply an arbitrary event which evokes this change of heart in Amanda in itself Although it does not make a perfect fit with the rest of the plot, the climax does revolve centrally around the second theme And the motif used to embody this one is that of Ginny s ghosts Throughout the novel, Ginny procures ghosts, which are inexplicably and wrongly given the same powers of physical individuals rather than being portrayed as figments of imagination, and interacts with them to dissipate the confusion of the past Yet, this symbolizes Ginny s existence in the past than in the present, further quantified through her frequent emotional escapes to within her parents old closet when she is distressed This theme that one should live in the present is embodied through David s death, which although is cited to be an accident, actually is implied to be a suicide over the memory of his late wife which haunts and scars his psyche Similarly, Ginny and Amanda see that they have been living in the sorrow of their parents deaths too after this incident and realize how it has driven them apart They resultedly promise to live in the present together as loving sisters and enjoy life as it comes Therefore, Ginny s realization of both of these theme allow her to overcome her self conflict and create a definitive image of her own identity A last aspect of this novel is the writing style itself, which revolves heavily around analogies to food to depict Ginny s train of thought This factor is actually one of my favorites in the novel actually as although the connections of the past to ghosts and the theme to the climax may be muddled, these analogies of food connect with the reader through incredible sensory detail and relevance found in their comparisons From day one, Ginny is a passionate and excellent cook, but uses her gift as a method of escape to begin with The development of this skill in the opposite direction as an instigator of social interaction, to me, most clearly manages to represent Ginny s direction of change in confidence throughout the novel I want them to bite into a cookie and think of me and smile Food is love Food has a power She is still the same person, but cooking provides her with the support that she needs to evolve throughout the novel and McHenry brilliantly incorporates this human evolution into the evolution of the purpose to which cooking is wired So not only do the comparisons to food work really well on a microscopic level, they also serve as the glue to hold the macroscopic structure of the story together Elsewhere, McHenry writes with standard vernacular, using a smooth flow of dialogue as the main narrator for her novel Overall, I recommend this novel to essentially everybody who enjoys reading I have to agree that if one is looking for an action packed plot, this is not the book for them, but others will appreciate the emotional complexity of both Ginny s perspective of the world and her evolution throughout the novel Despite its structural flaws, I would have to say The Kitchen Daughter is a solid read.

  6. says:

    Won a copy of this from MangoJuiced My review is originally posted here.Ginny has never been good with people she doesn t like strangers and she doesn t like talking to people She s not comfortable with physical contact and only allows a handful of people to touch her She lives with her parents, in the house where she grew up and fills her days with cooking Food comforts her and that s what she uses as a coping mechanism Here s a sample of the writing and how Ginny uses food to calm herself Her hand is close to my arm My options are limited I can t run away I can t handle this.I lose myself in food.The rich, wet texture of melting chocolate The way good aged goat cheese coats your tongue The silky feel of pasta dough when it s been pressed and rested just enough How the scent of onions changes, over an hour, from raw to mellow, sharp to sweet, and all that even without tasting The simplest magic how heat transforms.It s not surprising that when her world is shaken by several events the death of her parents, the presence of strangers in her home because of the funeral and her sister s demands , Ginny turns to food Even though I m not a good cook like Ginny is, I could relate to how food comforts her I find food comforting too but my interests lie in consumption rather than production I m sure I m not the only one who feels this way The Kitchen Daughter is something that I d recommend to readers who like their fiction with generous helpings of various food items Just make sure that you have a snack within reach when you decide to pick this up Each chapter starts with a recipe and this is it how it looks on my Kindle I think we ve established that there are a lot of food references in The Kitchen Daughter but it s than just about food it s also about Ginny coming to terms with the death of her parents and in the process, learning about herself and her family It was interesting being inside Ginny s head because she s such a unique character Right from the start, the reader knows that there s something different about Ginny When asked if she has a condition or anything, she says that what she has is a personality I liked that the story is told from her perspective because it gives us an inside look of how she processes everything around her It makes me realize that I take so many things for granted in my life that I m not socially awkward, that I m not bothered by physical contact, which I think is a big thing when you live in the Philippines because people have no respect for personal space around here e.g public transportation So even if I don t think I have a lot of things in common with Ginny, I could still sympathize with her.I feel like The Kitchen Daughter is a quiet sort of novel because it s mostly about Ginny and her internal struggles how she copes with everything that happens in her life and how she tentatively reaches out to the secondary characters It s a book about relationships between family members and between friends It s also about the intricacies of life how people have different ways of handling grief and sadness The Kitchen Daughter is a heartwarming read and a well written debut novel, the kind of book that you read during a weekend afternoon when you want to get cozy I m looking forward to seeing what Jael McHenry has in store for us next.

  7. says:

    Forgot I read this once upon a time but I remember the story A Jewish girl with Asperger s syndrome finds a way to heal through cooking after a death in the family The storyline is okay but kind of slow I wouldn t voluntarily read for a second time.

  8. says:

    Ginny Selvaggio is a 26 year old with Asperger s Syndrome whose parents have died suddenly in an accident Cooking is her stress outlet, and quite by chance, she realises she can summon ghosts when she cooks from recipes written in the person s own handwriting But she only has a short time with each of them before the fragrances of their dishes waft away, and visits are limited to once only.My heart warmed to Ginny straight away She couldn t avoid a complex that she lacks something essential, since people treat her different from others It s easy to shun what we don t quite understand, but this book makes it clear what a lot we may miss when we don t make the effort I like Ginny s Normal Book in which she tries to convince herself that she really is the same as everyone else, and most of all, I enjoy the way she perceives people s voices in terms of food and drink Amanda s is like orange juice, sweet but sharp, Dad s sharp and round like tomato juice, David s dark and muddy like coffee left on the burner, and Mum s, like regular spearmint but with a laugh like popping bubble gum From those descriptions, I could certainly hear them How interesting that Amanda was cast as the antagonist, since she seems pretty normal to me Perhaps she represents a side of most of us which we flinch from facing It s easier to criticise somebody else than acknowledge it The desire to want to run the show has definitely surged up in me at times I hated the way Amanda fobbed her sister off whenever the subject of the house sale came up, yet as this story is told from Ginny s point of view, Amanda is bound to show up as domineering and controlling It s obvious from the things she says that it s a different story from her own vantage point Maybe it s a bit of a worry that so many of us are ready to come down so hard on a frazzled young mother who has just lost her parents.In the author interview at the back of the book, Jael McHenry states that agents advised her not to include the Asperger s aspect, thinking it might be harder to sell the book, but she stuck to her guns I m so glad she did, as the Asperger s theme was definitely a highlight, and it would ve been a poorer book without it.The story leaves us with the comfortable feeling that just because people may not understand us, doesn t mean we re bad It s about keeping our wits about us, because when well meaning people like Amanda put a word on us it may mean the difference between whether we prosper in own unique way, or cave in to the labels which are thrust on us And so many us really don t fit at the top of the bell curve when it comes to definitions of normal Let s not think harshly of ourselves for not fitting neatly into the world s narrow definition.David What have you got Ginny A personality.I ll be careful to give no plot spoilers here, but the part near the end where Ginny makes the hot chocolate I m sure many of us figured out what was happening before she did I groaned out loud I wish that part of the story could have worked out differently, but it s a neat wrap up for all that, and I consider it an upbeat book in spite of everything.It s a story I recommend to all foodies and anybody with an Asperger s diagnosis in their family.

  9. says:

    I love, love, loved THE KITCHEN DAUGHTER, it was one of those books that you pick up and are unable to put it down willingly for even one minute Ginny is 26 and still lives at home with her parents, she doesn t work and never finished university, her parents provide for her Ginny has all the earmarks of having Asperger s but has never been diagnosed Instead her parents encouraged her to depend on them no doubt thinking they were doing the right thing protecting Ginny from distress of knowing that she had Asperger s Now her parents are dead, killed in a tragic accident, and Ginny is thrust into normal society with no protection So what are the indicators of her Asperger s Well everyone is different and has different symptoms by with Ginny it is her dislike of eye contact, hiding in a dark cupboard when she is overwhelmed, her dislike of loud noise, her fixation on one thing in this case cooking She is very logical in how she figures things out, and she speaks very bluntly in short sentences What she isn t though is stupid.THE KITCHEN DAUGHTER opens on the day of her parents funeral, with crowds of well meaning mourners firstly at the service and now back at the family home The reader starts to cotton on to Ginny s plight when she tries to avoid eye contact with, and being touched by the sympathetic guests Ginny retreats to the kitchen because the process of following a recipe, physically or mentally, is calming for her, whenever she is overwhelmed, upset, or uncomfortable she copes by turning to recipes, and cooking Today she needs comfort food and cooks her late grandmother s recipe of bread soup to settle herself down What she didn t expect was for her grandmother s ghost to appear in the kitchen and talk to her and give her a cryptic warning to stop her sister Amanda.Amanda is married with two children and thinks she knows what is best for Ginny Amanda wants to sell the family home and have Ginny move in with her What Amanda doesn t realise is that Ginny is growing as a character and learning to live with her peculiar quirks and deal with life In other words, Ginny wants independence and acceptance Amanda wants her tested and put in a box marked Asperger s and won t sit down and discuss things with Ginny But Ginny has a family mystery to solve, friends to support her, ghosts to advise her and she learns that she can live life her way At this point I have to say that my one and only disappointment in the novel was David, but I will have to tease you all and say that I can t say why Amanda is very unreasonable and the trickery that she inflicted on her sister was unforgivable, but backfired on her completely.The writing is beautiful and inspirational the paranormal elements blend effortlessly into the story and seem to be well so normal It seemed perfectly normal to me that Ginny could conjure up ghosts while others can t in fact THE KITCHEN DAUGHTER tries to answer the question what is normal when it comes to human behaviour, and I think Ginny has the answered nailed There are so many flavours of normal, it doesn t matter which one I am There really is no normal

  10. says:

    Ginny Selvaggio has just lost both of her parents and from the beginning of the novel, we readers understand that Ginny is different She probably has Asperger Syndrome But what keeps her grounded is her cooking, and she cooks from her recipe box recipes of dead people.Each time she finishes the recipe, a ghost is sitting in her kitchen Her Nonna tells her, Don t let her Who and what Her domineering and protective sister wants to sell the house But that would disrupt Ginny s routine and most likely hurt her But as Ginny tries to figure out Nonna s message, ghosts keep appearing in her kitchen with messages of their own as Ginny cooks their recipes, until a ghost refuses to come to her kitchen We readers follow Ginny s struggles, her grief, and her Asperger s Yes You ll probably will need to whip a tear from you eye here and there when reading.

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