Tag Archives: food

Pleasure Reading for Bookish Foodies: That Part Was True by Deborah McKinlay #weekendcooking

cover image with Eiffel Tower and tulipsThe two main characters in That Part Was True by Deborah McKinlay are a reader and an author – both middle-aged, divorced, and love to cook. Both are slightly dissatisfied with how their lives have turned out in what is not quite the end, but is getting closer to being the final chapter. (Of their lives, that is…using a bookish metaphor here.)

With a picture of the Eiffel Tower on the front, you can guess how this story turns out, right?

Well, maybe and maybe not. Eve Petworth (the reader) lives in a suburb of London and Jackson Cooper (the author)  lives in the Hamptons. Eve sends Jack (think Lee Child, does he cook, I wonder?) a fan letter about his latest thriller and they begin a correspondence about cooking and eating that becomes an anchor for each of them in the swirl of their daily lives.

Dear Mr Cooper,

I could probably contact you more directly by e-mail, but the effort of handwriting will encourage me to choose my words carefully and I am conscious that I am writing to an author.

I wanted to tell you that I enjoyed your book ‘Dead Letters’ very much. The scene where Harry Gordon eats the peach (‘leaning over and holding back his green silk tie with one arm while the juice christened the shirt cuff of the other’) introduced a moment of summer into a watery English day. And it reminded me, as well, of the almost decadent pleasure that comes with eating fully matured fruit – sadly, a rarity.

With best wishes,
Eve Petworth

Eve’s and Jack’s correspondence continues through the novel, but it’s just the seasoning for the main storyline – Eve’s daughter’s engagement and marriage – with its underlying theme that it’s never too late to reinvent yourself or go to Paris.

Author Deborah McKinlay lives in the U.K. This Part Was True is her second novel. Instead of an author bio, here’s the recipe that she says defines her.

I’m sure I heard about This Part Was True from a past Weekend Cooking post, but I can’t find the post. I’m sure I’ve seen several mentions of it from book bloggers, possibly from one of these:

Book Journey

I enjoyed That Part Was True very much, especially because it was very much about reading and writing, and cooking and eating – some of my favorite things to read about! It’s also got that British depressive streak that keeps even their domestic fiction (which this is)and chick lit (which this isn’t) from being too cloying. On the book publicity, it’s compared to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society because of the letters and the cooking, but there’s no historic element here. I can’t think of another book to compare it to right now, but I’ll keep thinking!

That Part Was True
McKinlay, Deborah
Grand Central, 2/4/14
240 pp.

Weekend Cooking buttonThis post is part of Weekend Cooking, a weekly feature on Beth Fish Reads. Click on the image for more Weekend Cooking posts.

An Appetizing Mish-Mash: Delicious! by Ruth Reichl #weekendcooking @BethFishReads

cover imageDelicious! is a first novel by the long-time food writer and former editor of Gourmet Magazine, Ruth Reichl, and it’s a pleasant read. It makes a good book club choice because the themes are clear and there is a little something for everyone – a young woman’s journey into adulthood; a library scavenger hunt; budding romances; a race against time; a blend of contemporary New York life with small town life in World War II connected by old letters; and food! Enough talk about food and cooking to satisfy foodie readers.

Billie avoids her family by moving from California to New York, where her extraordinary palate and ability to discern various spices and ingredients lands her a job with the respected foodie magazine Delicious! (with an exclamation point).  When she gradually begins to uncover a trove of letters dating back to World War II written to a former magazine staffer (James Beard) Billie thinks they might be her own ticket to food writing fame.

Ruth Reichl is the author of several highly acclaimed memoirs about cooking, food writing, and being a restaurant critic, so she must have known she was going out on a limb by publishing a novel for the first time at age 60+. In fact, critical reviews kept me from reading this until it was a February book club choice, so I’m glad I finally gave it a chance. The parallels drawn between Billie’s life and the life of the young writer of the letters, Lulu, are a little obvious, but the multiple story lines and themes, as well as the twin quests that the two young women embark on in their different times, make it a good choice for a book club discussion, especially one with food!

Click here to read what our library book club thought of the book.

Reichl, Ruth
Whelan, Julia, narr.
Random House
May 2014

Disclosure: I received an advance reading copy (ARC) of this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program a long time ago! I ended up reading parts of the published book (not the ARC) and listening to parts of it on audio. Narrator Julia Whelan does a great job with all of the voices, including the male ones.

Weekend Cooking buttonThis post is part of Weekend Cooking, a weekly feature on Beth Fish Reads. Click here for more Weekend Cooking posts from bloggers around the world.

Foodie Links from Around the Web @BethFishReads #weekendcooking

Weekend Cooking button
Weekend Cooking is a weekly feature hosted by Beth Fish Reads linking up food-related posts. Click here to check out other Weekend Cooking posts.

It’s already Saturday, I didn’t post a single book review all week, and I don’t have a cookbook review ready for Weekend Cooking today, so I’m sharing foodie links today, in no particular order.

photo of turmeric in white bowl
Photo from Sharon Palmer’s Plant-Powered Blog

Sharon’s Plant-Powered Food Predictions for 2015
Sharon Palmer, author of Plant-Powered for Life, predicts what everybody’s going to be shopping for in place of kale and acai berries this year.

Fall 2014 Cookbook Preview graphicEater: The 43 Most Anticipated Cookbooks of Fall 2014
Cookbook porn you may have missed. Read it and drool.

photo from Eater of cookbooks piled together and stacked
Photo from Eater.com

Eater: The 21 Most Essential Cookbooks of 2014
Eater seems to have a penchant for odd-numbered lists and a lot of these cookbooks are a little high-end for me, but I’m interested in reading Prune and A Boat, A Whale, & a Walrus. I also don’t think I heard about First Prize Pies before, which came out back in February. Don’t forget National Pie Day is this month!

photo of vegetables in saute pan
Photo from Cook’s Country

Cook’s Country: Cider-Glazed Root Vegetables with Pomegranate and Cilantro
The link to this recipe came in with the America’s Test Kitchen “Notes from the Test Kitchen” newsletter. Doesn’t it look delicious? I have a pomegranate sitting here and need to look up how to get the seeds out of it and make this recipe.

And a fun trailer for But I Could Never Go Vegan by Kristy Turner, published by The Experiment:

Disclaimer: My daughter’s voice is on this book trailer, as are several of her friends, but she no longer works for the publisher. I’m sharing this more as a mom than a book blogger, I guess, but the book is doing very well and the book trailer really is fun to watch!

cover imageHappy Weekend Cooking!