Fort Greene

New memoir explores ‘A Man, A Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage’

Brooklyn BookBeat: Author To Speak in Fort Greene

May 8, 2014 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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No one ever said that marriage is easy, and if they did, they probably weren’t in the process of opening a restaurant with their spouse. Add grueling physical labor, financial strain and the challenges of hiring a staff to that already formidable mix and you have “Delancey” (Simon & Schuster), a tale of two young people discovering just what it means to stand by someone unconditionally, covered in flour, coated in sweat and in too deep.

The author, Molly Wizenberg, will appear in Brooklyn for a reading and signing on Monday, May 12, at Fort Greene’s Greenlight Bookstore.

When Molly Wizenberg married Brandon Pettit, he was a trained saxophonist and composer with a handful of offbeat interests: espresso machines, violin construction, boat building and ice cream making, to name a few. So when Brandon decided to open a pizza restaurant, Molly was supportive—not because she wanted him to do it, but because the idea was so far-fetched that she didn’t think he actually would. But before she knew it, he’d signed a lease.

As Molly quickly found out, opening a restaurant is not like hosting a dinner party every night. Molly and Brandon’s budget was small, and the tasks at hand were overwhelming. They had to find a space they could afford, renovate it themselves, hunt for second-hand furniture and equipment, buy and install a wood-burning oven, pass health inspections, hire staff, and establish a payroll system. Their cook disappeared the day they opened. Still, the restaurant was a success, and Molly managed to convince herself that she was happy in their new life. Until one night when, in the heat of the kitchen, she was forced to admit that she could no longer pretend.

[‘Delancy’ is] about growing up,” says Molly, “about taking risks and making a lot of ridiculous mistakes, about a small business that we built with our hands, the community that came with it and a life that I had no idea would be ours.”

The book offers delicious recipes from the people and moments that helped bring “Delancey” into being and kept Molly sane on the journey. Among those included are Sautéed Dates with Olive Oil and Sea Salt, inspired by Boat Street Café and Kitchen, the restaurant that fueled Brandon’s vision for Delancey; Brandi’s Coconut Rice Pudding, made with fresh cherries and coconut milk and introduced by Brandi, Molly’s friend and Delancey’s extraordinary pastry chef; and Poppy’s Bourbon Sour, a much-needed refresher in the days just before Delancey’s opening, with tips from Molly on how to update this classic cocktail.

With evocative photos taken by Molly, “Delancey” is a bravely honest and moving portrait of a tender young marriage and two partners who had to find out how to let each other go in order to grow together.

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The May 12 event will begin at 7:30 p.m. Greenlight Bookstore is located at 686 Fulton St. in Fort Greene.
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Molly Wizenberg is the voice behind Orangette, named the best food blog in the world by the London Times. Her first book, “A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table,” was a New York Times bestseller. Her work has appeared in Bon Appétit and The Washington Post. She lives in Seattle, Washington, with her husband Brandon Pettit and their daughter June.


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