Kitchens of the Great Midwest - J. Ryan Stradal

Kitchens of the Great Midwest

By J. Ryan Stradal

  • Release Date: 2015-07-28
  • Genre: Literary
Score: 4.5
From 290 Ratings


“A sweet and savory treat.” —People

“An impressive feat of narrative jujitsu . . . that keeps readers turning the pages too fast to realize just how ingenious they are.”—The New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Pick

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Lager Queen of Minnesota, Kitchens of the Great Midwest is a novel about a young woman with a once-in-a-generation palate who becomes the iconic chef behind the country’s most coveted dinner reservation. 
When Lars Thorvald’s wife, Cynthia, falls in love with wine—and a dashing sommelier—he’s left to raise their baby, Eva, on his own. He’s determined to pass on his love of food to his daughter—starting with puréed pork shoulder. As Eva grows, she finds her solace and salvation in the flavors of her native Minnesota. From Scandinavian lutefisk to hydroponic chocolate habaneros, each ingredient represents one part of Eva’s journey as she becomes the star chef behind a legendary and secretive pop-up supper club, culminating in an opulent and emotional feast that’s a testament to her spirit and resilience.
Each chapter in J. Ryan Stradal’s startlingly original debut tells the story of a single dish and character, at once capturing the zeitgeist of the Midwest, the rise of foodie culture, and delving into the ways food creates community and a sense of identity. By turns quirky, hilarious, and vividly sensory, Kitchens of the Great Midwest is an unexpected mother-daughter story about the bittersweet nature of life—its missed opportunities and its joyful surprises. It marks the entry of a brilliant new talent.


  • Foodies will love this book.

    By Cookininpennsy
    I couldn't get enough of this book. From the characters to the recipes to the plot. I was hooked from the very beginning. An excellent and worthy read!
  • SO good!!

    By Hotdogfriend
    I loved this book. I loved how the stories jumped between different characters who were all connected through one person, Eva, and also by food. Every character's story was so interesting, an entire book could be written about each of them. I finished the book wanting to know more. This book gives you perspective about the lives and feelings of others. Even the most insignificant interactions with strangers can have a huge impact on their lives. You just never know. Every person has a story. I am very much looking forward to the next book from this author.
  • Disappointing

    By InsertLameNicknameHere
    Great characters, but would have loved to get to know them better!
  • But...

    By 4488662
    The story began with interest and somehow wandered away in the middle when the Eva character disappeared. We never had the opportunity to know her in any detail after her hot pepper experiences
  • Outstanding

    By Aisan pickle
    I don't often write reviews, but I read a lot. This book was wonderful! The character, story, setting and descriptions were great. Will happily read more by this author.
  • Kitchens of the Great Midwest

    By Aooowaaaa
    I love how this book intertwined stories of several seemingly unrelated people. I enjoyed this book so much I foresee myself re-reading. The book was masterfully unpredictable and satisfying and yes I will try one or two of the recipes. GA Grisham fan just was out of his/her genre and you should ignore his/her mindless review and there should be a mechanism for him/her to get their money back. I loved the book.
  • Just lovely

    By Swarnes
    Lovely lovely summertime read. That is all!
  • Kitchens of the Great Midwest

    By GA Grisham Fan
    I read the reviews and the free section to determine if I wanted to purchase this book. The first part was not great, but good enough to make the purchase. Immediately after buying the book, I wanted my money back. This has never happened before. However, the storyline seemed totally different, the language became so crude, and the pleasure of a good story was gone. Do not waste your money.
  • Kitchens of the Great Midwest

    By Grammi Barb
    An excellent read. Recipes are worth trying. Can't wait for book 2!