In The Recipe Club: A Tale of Food and Friendship, Val and Lilly have been close friends for a long time. The two of them have shared many recipes over the years as the only two members of "The Recipe Club". However, a misunderstanding has left them estranged. As they try to reconnect, a long kept secret is finally revealed and once again their friendship is threatened.
I loved so many things about this book. First, the format. It's a little quirky as most of the story is told through letters going back and forth between Lilly and Val. I thought the style and the story were a good fit. Second, the recipes. I love to cook and am always pleased to find new recipes. This is especially nice when I find recipes in unexpected places, like in a novel. Third, the story. Val and Lilly had a falling out and openly shared their thoughts about that. I loved that it wasn't just a big love fest. I also loved that the story was unique and unpredictable. I had no clue where the story was going or where it was going to end up.
Having said all that, I didn't think the recipes went that well with the story. Mostly the recipes were mentioned as an aside or after thought in the letters. Although one of the characters was a caterer, she didn't do a lot of that in the story, so there was little or no connection there. In addition, some of the recipes were a little exotic for girls of that age. For example, Lilly sent Val a recipe for "Wild Duck with Cherry Orchard Sauce" (page 81). This was when they were thirteen-year-olds. This recipe would not at all have appealed to me when I was that age. Perhaps they were more sophisticated. Also, the "Turkish 'Cigarettes'" (page 67) calls for phyllo dough. Was that readily available in 1965? I'm pretty sure we wouldn't have been able to find it in our area.
I haven't made any of the recipes in the book, but I plan to. The "Cheerful Salmon Croquettes" (page 145) look promising. Also, the Turkish "Cigarettes" (with the above mentioned phyllo dough) sound wonderful.
For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit the HarperCollins website or The Recipe Club website.
I'd like to thank those nice people at HarperCollins for this review copy.
The Recipe Club by Andrea Israel & Nancy Garfinkel, HarperCollins, ©2009. ISBN 9780061992193(Hardcover), 363p.