A beautifully written food memoir chronicling one woman'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 plated rings of truffled potatoes in some of New York City’s finest kitchens—for chefs David Bouley, Daniel Boulud, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten—she grew up in a northern Minnesota town home to the nation’s largest French fry factory, the headwaters of the fast food nation, with a mother whose generous cooking pulsed with joy, family drama, and an overabundance of butter. Inspired by her grandmother’s tales of cooking on the family farm, Thielen moves with her artist husband to the rustic, off-the-grid cabin he built in the woods. There, standing at the stove three times a day, she finds the seed of a growing food obsession that leads to the sensory madhouse of New York’s top haute cuisine brigades. When she goes home, she comes face to face with her past, and a curious truth: that beneath every foie gras sauce lies a rural foundation of potatoes and onions, and that taste memory is the most important ingredient of all. Amy Thielen’s coming-of-age account brims with energy, a cook’s eye for intimate detail, and a dose of dry Midwestern humor. Give a Girl a Knife offers a fresh, vivid view into New York’s high-end restaurant before returning Thielen to her roots, where she realizes that the marrow running through her bones is not demi-glace, but gravy—honest, thick with nostalgia, and hard to resist.