When you’re facing a 15 hour travel time, magazines, books, and television shows downloaded on your computer are a must. I am notorious for being able to fall asleep anywhere, yet planes are an anomaly. Since I’m awake for the entirety of international travels, I need a hefty load of entertainment to pass the time. In the wake of my recent book review, Matt’s mom, Nancy, lent me a book that combined a great mix of fiction, and my newfound obsession with cooking for the flight.
Enter The Recipe Club, by Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel, and you’ve got a book that can certainly pass a few hours. Told mainly as an epistolary novel, letters between two old friends detail the loyalty and betrayal that create the “ingredients” of their friendship. Valerie and Lilly have been best friends since childhood due to the unconventional relationships their families share. We get to know them through their correspondence, each letter ending with a recipe for their two person “Recipe Club.” Each recipe is titled appropriately to the mood of the letter – i.e. Lovelorn Lasagna, Diploma Dip with Veggies, Missing You Warmly Lentil Salad, etc.
I truly enjoyed this story, though the characters did make me crazy at times. Both Val and Lilly are such blunt personalities, that at times I wondered how long a true friendship like theirs would last in the real world, due to all of the mistakes they make and the frank nature of their relationship. However, the story so beautifully pulls and pushes these two in ways that test their relationship time and time again. I found myself siding with one, only to change sides pages later. And when they come together, their friendship is so raw and encouraging; when at their most connected, they bring out the best in each other. The food was the “icing on the cake” for this moving and inspirational story. Each recipe they shared conveyed messages of their own: apology, confusion, warmth, depression, etc.
I guess you could say I’m on a foodie kick right now, following my review of Barefoot Contessa at Home. I am indeed loving the power that a good combination of ingredients can create. The Recipe Club only reinforced my adoration for the craft of cooking through its beautiful meals, emotions, and friendships that stand the test of time.