Thursday, November 20, 2014

Three on Thursday: Fiction for Foodies

In these days leading up to a feast of gratitude and goodies, I have another thing to be thankful for: Books! And today, books of the delicious fiction variety. Foodie fiction comes in many varieties, too. There are cozy mysteries full of recipes and/or set in restaurants, coffee shops or catering companies. There are novels which take the reader to exotic locales full of delicious delicacies and vibrant stories. Or coming of age stories that include working in restaurants. Or family dramas featuring many a heartfelt conversation around a kitchen table. Whatever you're tasting, rest assured there is a novel to suit your craving. Here are three in particular that we've found just delicious--I'm sure you'll have room for one or two.

Eat Cake, by Jeanne Ray. This has been a personal favorite since I read it more than ten years ago. Ruth has always found baking cakes to be a source of relief from the stresses of life. And now-as her husband loses his job, her life-of-the-party father arrives for an extended stay (much to the dismay of her mother, who also moved in recently), and her teenage daughter perfects the art of sulking-Ruth is going to have to save the day. Quiet, heart-warming and delectable, this short novel is a perfect little treat, even if you think you don't have a moment to spare.

Chocolat, by Joanne Harris. Many know Chocolat as the Oscar-nominated film starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. But first, it was the tantalizing novel about hedonism, whimsy and chocolate that intoxicated readers. In a tiny French town, where little has changed over the last hundred years, beautiful newcomer Vianne Rocher and her exquisite chocolate shop arrive and instantly begin to play havoc with Lenten vows. Each box of luscious bonbons comes with a free gift: Vianne's uncanny perception of its buyer's private discontents and a clever, caring cure for them. Is she a witch? Soon the parish no longer cares, as it abandons itself to temptation, happiness, and a dramatic face-off between Easter solemnity and the pagan gaiety of a chocolate festival. Perfectly indulgent.

Need something a bit more savory? I have to recommend Ruth Reichl's recent Delicious! , which follows young Billie Breslin from her home in California to New York, where she lands an internship at the long-running gourmet magazine, Delicious! What follows is part love-story to the rich and varied food traditions of New York City and part mystery as Billie delves deep into the magazine's hidden archives, hot on the trail of a decades-old connection between a young girl and culinary icon James Beard during the second World War. Fascinating, captivating, and completely delicious, this might just make an ideal respite from your holiday preparations.

I'm back next week to wrap up what I've been reading recently. In the meantime, happy reading!

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