Thursday, August 12, 2010

My take on: The Recipe Club

"Wild Duck with Cherry Orchard Sauce!"


"Cheerful Salmon Croquettes!"


"Potato Latkes with Homemade Applesauce!"

Hungry still!!

"Chocolate Chip Cannolis!!" -- Torture

Rule No. 1 never ever read a book about food and friendship while you're hungry!! I was often reading The Recipe Club by Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel at 2 or 3 A.M., not exactly the time to fire up the stove.  Food is not the main focus of the story, it is more of a backdrop. A rather tasty backdrop!! Lilly Stone and Valerie Rudman had been friend since childhood, but a blowup in their teen years led to a 26-year estrangement. The death of Valerie's mother sparks a renewed communication between the two. The renewed friendship quickly dissolves again. Israel and Garfinkel then take us back in time to the start of the friendship. A friendship told through their letters to each other. Lilly and Val start a club between themselves -- A recipe club.

Their early recipes seem a little complex for pre-teens, meatloaf, mac and cheese and chess pie. But if you grow up with a love of food as these two, it's second nature. As Lilly and Val grow into young women, cracks in their friendship begin to surface. Lilly is wild and brash, she wants to explore life outside of the box. Who needs college? She wants to be aloof and wild like her mother "Katherine the Great," but her father Isaac would rather Lilly be more like Val, who follows the rules, is practical and wants to go to college. Lilly wants to explore new things and meet new people, while Val wants things to remain the same. Val has a special bond with Isaac, a bond that Lilly never had. A bond that leads to increasing jealousy. Val spills Lilly's secrets to her father, leading to a 26-year estrangement. Even after they reconnect, a long buried secret could tear them apart again.

Food and friendship are a part of our everyday lives -- especially women -- and The Recipe Club paints a very powerful, tasty picture. The novel is told through letters and e-mails between Lilly and Val. The letters start off very sweet. Tales of experiences in camp evolve into stories about boys, growing up and what they want to with their lives. Sometimes those letters were angry, but at the end of the day friendship still prevails.

Rating: Give it a try

Notes: I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. For more information on The Recipe and authors Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel, visit

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