Book Style // Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal


One of the best books that I have read this year is Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal. This book tells the story of a chef on the rise through the lens of different ingredients that have shaped her.

When we would get little glimpses of Eva I could really picture her style, so I styled this outfit based on her looks. 

Whenever I thought of Eva, I thought of her height, and I got the impression that she wears a lot of simple and basic colors. For this look I wanted to make sure that we kept things natural and basic with a bit of glitz for when Eva has to attend events.

To achieve this look, I started with a pair of Anne Klein Linen Pants. These pants will provide a relaxed fit while still being elegant and ready for a night out.  To complement it, I chose a LE3NO Womens Lightweight Button Down Denim Jean Shirt. This is a little more fitted to contrast with the loose-fitting pants and the blue color will really bring out Eva’s Scandinavian coloring.

To keep with her on-the-go lifestyle I selected the Adidas By Stella McCartney Yoga Cotton-Canvas Tote. I believe this bag will be big enough to include any personal essentials and maybe even a change of clothes.

To add a little bit of glamour to the look I selected an adorable pair of Kate Spade Vanna Flats.

For the jewelry, I selected jewelry that fits the culinary themes of the book. While, not ideal for a kitchen, these would perhaps ideal one of Eva’s infrequent appearances during her dinners.

To start, I selected an Alex and Ani Endless Knot Spoon RingFor a necklace, I selected a DB Designs Sterling Silver Diamond Accent Chili Pepper Necklace for the hydroponic peppers that Eva grew in her closet in “Chocolate Habaneros.”  The NOVICA Fish Sterling Silver Earrings are in the shape of a fish to represent the “Walleye” chapter.

For her makeup, I imagine that Eva’s beauty routine is really subtle. So I started off with the Urban Decay Naked Basics Eyeshadow Palette and Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in RoachFor her lips, I selected Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in “Unicorn Comfort”

As a finishing touch, I think if Eva ever did her nails she would opt for a natural looking color. I think that Essie’s “Marshmallow” Nail Polish fits the bill perfectly.

And there’s a look inspired by Eva from Kitchens of the Great Midwest!

Get the Look: Pants | Shirt | Handbag | Shoes | Ring | Necklace | Earrings | Eyeshadow | Eye Pencil | Lipstick | Nail Polish

The Book That Inspired the Look

9780525429142_Kitchensofth_JKF.inddKitchens of the Great Midwestabout a young woman with a once-in-a-generation palate who becomes the iconic chef behind the country’s most coveted dinner reservation, is the summer’s most hotly anticipated debut.

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 puréed pork shoulder. As Eva grows, she finds her solace and salvation in the flavors of her native Minnesota. From Scandinavian lutefisk to hydroponic chocolate habaneros, each ingredient represents one part of Eva’s journey as she becomes the star chef behind a legendary and secretive pop-up supper club, culminating in an opulent and emotional feast that’s a testament to her spirit and resilience.

Each chapter in J. Ryan Stradal’s startlingly original debut tells the story of a single dish and character, at once capturing the zeitgeist of the Midwest, the rise of foodie culture, and delving into the ways food creates community and a sense of identity. By turns quirky, hilarious, and vividly sensory, Kitchens of the Great Midwest is an unexpected mother-daughter story about the bittersweet nature of life—its missed opportunities and its joyful surprises. It marks the entry of a brilliant new talent.

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal is now available. You can purchase a copy at your local independent booksellerBarnes & Noble, or Amazon.


Published by Lauren Busser

Lauren Busser is a fiction writer and essayist. She is an associate editor at Tell-Tale TV, where she writes about all things tv. She has had fiction appear in five : 2 : one magazine’s #thesideshow and her nonfiction has appeared in Bitch Media and The Hartford Courant. You can find her talking about tv, film, and knitting on Twitter @LaurenBusser.

5 thoughts on “Book Style // Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: