Thursday, December 10, 2009

Day 368 - The Recipe Club

The Recipe Club: A Tale of Food and Friendship
Andrea Israel & Nancy Garfinkel

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Release Date: November 2009

Publisher: Harper

Pages: 368

My Rating: 4/5

Source: Copy provided by publisher

Synopsis [from]:

Loyalty, loss, and the ties that bind. These are the ingredients of The Recipe Club, a "novel cookbook" that combines an authentic story of friendship with more than 80 delicious recipes.

Lilly and Val are lifelong friends, united as much by their differences as by their similarities. Lilly, dramatic and confident, lives in the shadow of her beautiful, wayward mother and craves the attention of her distant, disapproving father. Val, shy and idealistic—and surprisingly ambitious— struggles with her desire to break free from her demanding housebound mother and a father whose dreams never seem to come true.

In childhood, "LillyPad" and "ValPal" form an exclusive two-person club, writing intimate letters in which they share hopes, fears, deepest secrets—and recipes, from Lilly's "Lovelorn Lasagna" to Valerie's "Forgiveness Tapenade." Readers can cook along as the friends travel through time facing the challenges of independence, the joys and heartbreaks of first love, and the emotional complexities of family relationships, identity, mortality, and goals deferred.

The Recipe Club sustains Lilly and Val's bond through the decades, regardless of what different paths they take or what misunderstandings threaten to break them apart . . . until the fateful day when an act of kindness becomes an unforgivable betrayal.

Now, years later, while trying to recapture the trust they've lost, Lilly and Val reunite once more—only to uncover a shocking secret. Will it destroy their friendship, or bring them ever closer?


I'm not really into cookbooks and it's probably because I can't cook. However, I've always been interested in just taking a day out to experiment with (easy) recipes and see what unknown skills (if any) I may possess =) This different kind of "recipe" book has a wonderful story woven into the pages between each of the cute and delicious sounding recipes. A story about a lost friendship that will be tested again in hopes of maybe rekindling a bond that should never have been broken.

Lilly and Val have been the best of friends since they were children. They decided to make a special club (The Recipe Club), just for the two of them, where they would exchange yummy new recipes. However, the book opens up in their adult years. The two haven't spoken in decades for some unknown reason. After Val's mother dies, she discovers all the letters and recipes that she had exchanged with Lilly while growing up. The letters and recipes bring back so many memories for Val that she sends an email to Lily in hopes of re-connecting with her long lost friend. The two begin a very guarded and reluctant email exchange until one of the contact again.

After that interesting introduction to the novel, I was naturally curious as to what happened to these two women. After the two have another falling out the story goes back in time to 1964 where they girls are in sixth grade. Both of their lives are told through childhood letters that the reader can actually see develop and mature as the two characters do. As their personalities change in their lives so do their letters and the way they write to each other. The unique storytelling is executed quite well by the authors in my opinion. I understood and followed the characters and their lives perfectly just through their letters.

I recommend this to anyone that wants to read a unique story about friendship or someone who is a food-fan. It's a fun read that I think will appeal to those of us who aren't really into cooking as a hobby.


lilly said...

I, like you, am not a fan of cookbooks or any kind of food memoirs. Not even so much because I can't cook but because I simply don't like to cook and don't find reading about it interesting either. However, I like to try new to me things and in reading genres so maybe this book will be a prefect start to liking food memoirs.

Ladytink_534 said...

I can't cook either but I love cookbooks for the desserts. I love to bake! Sounds like a neat premise.

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