Thursday, November 12, 2009

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

The Recipe Club was an interesting story of friendship, family and food told through letters, emails, recipes and also some prose. It jumps from the early twenty-first century to 60s-70s and back again, all revolving around two friends and their rough but caring relationship.

I love how the story unfolds, it starts after Lilly and Val haven't spoken in more than two decades and then goes back to their childhood when they started the recipe club. It follows them through school and into college where they eventually stop speaking to each other. And we think we know the cause of their friendship unraveling but then find out things even they themselves didn't know. It definitely shocked me. The Recipe Club really makes you think a lot about family dynamics and also what a true friendship is, it's not always sunshine and rainbows.

I was definitely drawn to the story because of the back and forth letters from Lilly and Val and the story did not disappoint. I also loved how the recipes were worked into the storyline and really how you could use this as a cookbook as well.

Overall a great and touching story told in an original way!

The Recipe Club was released on October 14th
Genre: Fiction/Recipes
4/5 Stars
ARC provided by publicity company


  1. Great review. I am putting this one in my wishlist!

  2. It sounds good! I like books on friendships.

  3. Can't wait to get into this one!

  4. I'm so glad you liked this one since I'll be reading it soon.

  5. I just finished this last night. I really liked it and thought it was told in a very original way. Lovely review.


  6. Food and relationships? That's my kind of book!

    Diary of an Eccentric

  7. You know, I've never met a book whose central plot revolves around food that I didn't like... Sounds interesting!


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