Book Review: Check, Please!

Ngozi Ukazu

Check, Please!

Just have you a little slice of this pie, now, while I attempt to explain why there's a graphic novel about a Canadian college hockey team among all these food-oriented books being reviewed in conjunction with the 2018 Texas Book Festival.

That pie you're eating, it was baked by one Eric "Bitty" Bittle, a valuable member of Sam­well University's hockey team. And Samwell University is the fictional college wherein the narrative – the comedic, romantic, pastry-studded narrative – unfolds in the series Check, Please! by Austin's own Ngozi Ukazu. Two notes: 1) Check, Please! is the most highly funded webcomic in the history of Kickstarter. 2) Those comics are being compiled into beautifully printed volumes by First Second; the first one's just been released.

And Bitty, the character, a young man from Georgia who learned how to use an oven during a childhood often spent in his momma's kitchen, he's an amateur baker. "Amateur" in the sense of doing it for love, mostly, as what he conjures in the kitchen of his hockey team's shared (and slightly beer-stained) dormhaus is professional-level confection. But also "amateur" in the sense of I-can't-help-it-I-gotta-bake-something-right-now obsession, at least in times of stress. So, while much of Check, Please! is about the challenges and hilarity of collegiate hockey and the diverse social lives entangled therein, there are also more sparks of culinary delight in the series than there are morsels of cacao-derived goodness in an average chocolate chip cookie. (I mean, the kid's got himself a baking vlog, FFS.)

And because Ukazu will be at the Texas Book Festival with this first volume of hers ... and because the Check, Please! stories are addictively enjoyable even for folks who don't give a damn about hockey or other team sports ... and because everybody likes pie ... I figured a recommendation here wouldn't come across as, ah, half-baked. And you're welcome.


Check, Please!

by Ngozi Ukazu
First Second, 288 pp., $16.99

Ukazu will be on the “YA Buzz Books!” panel at 10:30am Saturday, Oct. 27, in the YA HQ Tent, and will sign Check, Please! at 11:30am in the Adult Signing Tent on Congress.

Sign up for the Chronicle Cooking newsletter

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

If you want to submit a recipe, send it to food@austinchronicle.com

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
MORE Texas Book Festival
A Cookbook a Day Keeps the Munchies at Bay
A Cookbook a Day Keeps the Munchies at Bay
Texas Book Festival showcases seven food books from around the world

Emily Beyda, Oct. 25, 2019

The Peached Tortilla’s Cookbook Can Make You a Dinner Party Star
The Peached Tortilla’s Cookbook Can Make You a Dinner Party Star
Explore Asian comfort food from Tokyo to Texas

Emily Beyda, May 3, 2019

More Food Reviews
Tips and Techniques From a Kosher Cooking Expert
Tips and Techniques From a Kosher Cooking Expert
Cookbook aims to free readers from cookbooks

Amy Kritzer, Dec. 14, 2012

A Knead To Read
Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War
Sit down with a book when it's too hot to cook

MM Pack, May 27, 2011

More by Wayne Alan Brenner
Abbott Don't Care, Real Fish and Faux, Crave Improves Pville, Everybody Requests Freebirds
Abbott Don't Care, Real Fish and Faux, Crave Improves Pville, Everybody Requests Freebirds
All the news that's fit to get your taste buds quivering

March 2, 2021

Booze News & Views
Booze News & Views
Just a wee dram of What's Happening as March marches in …

March 1, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Texas Book Festival 2018

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle