Yep, I said I’d be reviewing cookbooks from here on out, but I’ve got to be honest – this month was a lot of the same. Spaghetti with tomato sauce, grilled meat + salad with cherry tomatoes, and bruschetta have been on rotation as we try to work through the ongoing onslaught. No recipes needed for that.
Instead, I went back to fiction books for the month. I’ve got two good ones that at least sort of talk about food. That’s worth something, right?
When I saw Ruth Reichl’s fiction book, Delicious!, on the shelf, I honestly took it home because I thought this would be a laugh. A famous magazine editor only gets a book deal because of her rolodex, right? 75 pages later and I realize homegirl’s got some fiction writing chops! Ms. Reichl’s description of food and all things surrounding are substancially better than the paragraphs on love, but the characters are well thought out and the scenes vivid.
Here is the description of Delicious! from the editor:
Billie Breslin has traveled far from her home in California to take a job at Delicious!, New York’s most iconic food magazine. Away from her family, particularly her older sister, Genie, Billie feels like a fish out of water—until she is welcomed by the magazine’s colorful staff. She is also seduced by the vibrant downtown food scene, especially by Fontanari’s, the famous Italian food shop where she works on weekends. Then Delicious! is abruptly shut down, but Billie agrees to stay on in the empty office, maintaining the hotline for reader complaints in order to pay her bills.
To Billie’s surprise, the lonely job becomes the portal to a miraculous discovery. In a hidden room in the magazine’s library, Billie finds a cache of letters written during World War II by Lulu Swan, a plucky twelve-year-old, to the legendary chef James Beard. Lulu’s letters provide Billie with a richer understanding of history, and a feeling of deep connection to the young writer whose courage in the face of hardship inspires Billie to comes to terms with her fears, her big sister and her ability to open her heart to love.
Kinda cute, kinda easy – its the perfect “curl-up in the warm afternoon sun” kind of literature AND you’ll get a great recipe for gingerbread cake.
Also, totes* adorable is Sloane Crosley’s collection of essays, I Was Told There’d Be Cake. Yes, again I’m reading a book that reads like a series of blog posts, but this is just too funny. I listened to this one on my phone which might have made it even better. Ms. Crosley read the audiobook version herself, so you get the inflections exactly as she intended.
Here’s the description:
From despoiling an exhibit at the Natural History Museum to provoking the ire of her first boss to siccing the cops on her mysterious neighbor, Crosley can do no right despite the best of intentions — or perhaps because of them. Together, these essays create a startlingly funny and revealing portrait of a complex and utterly recognizable character who aims for the stars but hits the ceiling, and the inimitable city that has helped shape who she is. I Was Told There’d Be Cake introduces a strikingly original voice, chronicling the struggles and unexpected beauty of modern urban life.
This book makes for perfect background noise when you’ve run out of podcasts and can’t possibly shake off another turn at Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off”. If nothing else, take a gander at Sloane’s twitter feed. Pretty dang hilarious.
*After you read the book, let me know… Does Ms. Crosley seem like the type that would use a word like “totes” or abhor it?
Vacation can be seen on the horizon, so I’m sure there will be many more books to review in the next couple of weeks. Any last minute suggestions for me to pack in physical, audio, or Kindle forms?? TIA!