Eva Thorvald was born to an earnest cook at an old-school Minneapolis restaurant and a young and restless waitress turned sommelier. One day Thorvald’s running what are perhaps the most expensive and secretive pop-up dinners in the world, where attendees spend years on a waiting list, but how did she get there? Stradal journeys through the changing times and culinary trends to tell Eva’s story, sometimes from her perspective, but mostly dancing around her character, and often leaving us to fill in the blanks. Shaped like short stories (in one of my favorite chapters, Bars, Eva is but a judge in a contest) but vital to the narrative, Kitchens of the Great Midwest is to restauranting what The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and The Little Paris Bookshop are to bookselling – a grand celebration of life, love, luck (or perhaps that’s fate), and meaning, told with spirit and style.— Daniel Goldin
August 2015 Indie Next List
“In the story of Midwestern chef savant Eva Thorvald and the people -- and foods -- that touch her life, Stradal has created a picture of the American foodie revolution of the past 25 years and of its intersections with class, economics, family, and culture. Along with irresistible characters and stories, this is a novel about the potential that food and cooking offer for joy and empowerment, for snobbery and shame, and for identity and reinvention. Beautifully structured and affectionately and hilariously written, this is a novel that -- like Thorvald's exclusive pop-up supper club -- everyone is going to be talking about!”
— Jessica Stockton Bagnulo (M), Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY
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 pur ed pork shoulder.