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 assembled rings of truffled potato salad for New York City’s finest chefs—including David Bouley, Daniel Boulud, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten—she grew up in a northern Minnesota town next to the nation’s largest French fry factory, the headwaters of the fast food nation, with a mother whose generous cooking pulsed with joy, sorrow, family drama, and an abundance of butter. Inspired by her grandmother’s tales of making sausage and jam at the family farm, Thielen moves with her artist husband to the rustic, off-the-grid cabin he built in the woods. There, growing vegetables and standing at the stove three times a day, she develops a food obsession that leads her to the sensory madhouse of New York’s top haute cuisine brigades, where she rediscovers the workhorse ingredients of good cooking—that beneath every foie gras sauce lies a foundation of potatoes and onions. But when it comes time to put down roots, she comes face-to-face with her inconvenient nostalgia for home. A coming-of-age account tracing a migration between city and country, with their different yet equally seductive kitchens, Give a Girl a Knife offers a fresh, vivid view into New York’s high-end restaurant scene while reminding us that taste memory is the most important ingredient of all. When Thielen returns to her roots, she realizes that the marrow running through her bones is not demi-glace, but gravy—honest and irresistible.