Who is Eva Thorvald? To her single father, a chef, she's a pint-sized recipe tester and the love of his life. To the chili chowdown contestants of Cook County, Illinois, she's a fire-eating demon. To the fashionable foodie goddess of supper clubs, she's a wanton threat. She's an enigma, a secret ingredient that no one can put their finger on. Eva will surprise everyone.
On the day before her 11th birthday, she's cultivating chili peppers in her wardrobe like a pro. Abandoned by her mother, gangly and poor, Eva arms herself with the weapons of her unknown heritage: a kick-ass palate and a passion bordering on obsession. Over the years her tastes grow, and so does her ambition.
One day Eva will be the greatest chef in the world. But along the way, the people she meets will shape her - and she them - in ways unforgettable, riotous and profound. So she - for one - knows exactly who she is by the time her mother returns to find out.
Kitchens of the Great Midwest is about the family you lose, the friends you make and chance connections that can define a life. Joyful, quirky or brazen, everyone lends their voice to tell Eva's story - one that's as heartwarming as it is irresistible, taking the bitter with the sweet.
"Kitchens of the Great Midwest is a big-hearted, funny, and class-transcending pleasure. It's also both a structural and empathetic tour de force, stepping across worlds in the American midwest, and demonstrating with an enviable tenderness and ingenuity the tug of war between our freedom to pursue our passions and our obligations to those we love." (Jim Shepard)
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