Jan 27, 2010

~CLOSED~ Review & Giveaway - The Recipe Club: A Tale of Food and Friendship

The Recipe ClubA Tale of Food and Friendship

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?

“Food and love without the schmaltz and warm fuzzies is what kept me turning the pages of this book. Yes, there are recipes, nostalgic and good ones, but the fascination is in how they mark the years of a childhood friendship struggling to become a life long one. If you’re lucky enough to have that one true best friend, you’ll find all the love, prickliness, laughter, blood curdling honesty, and joy here.”

— Lynne Rosetto Kasper, host of The Splendid Table, National Public Radio

“I found elements of every one of my own friendships in the 40-year relationship between Lilly and Val, the heroines of this delicious and delightful novel. I also discovered heaps of recipes that I can’t wait to try out. Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel bring to life the joys as well as the disappointments inherent in attachments between women, and the power of food to sustain intimacy when those bonds are strained. The Recipe Club had me nodding in recognition as I hungrily devoured this satisfying and surprising story.”

— Giulia Melucci, author of I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti

“Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel have written an absorbing novel that reflects the wisdom of MFK Fisher, namely that there is no separating food and dining from family and friends. . . . “A satisfying meal for both body and soul.”

— Sara Moulton, host of Sara’s Weeknight Meals and executive chef, Gourmet magazine

My Review

The Recipe Club is a story of a life-long friendship, with it's ups-and-downs. Lilly and Val have very different backgrounds and interests, yet they become friends as young children, sharing their lives, letters, and recipes, throughout the years. Their differences sometimes come between them, and even cause them to sever their ties for a long time. Years go by, then they attempt to re-connect, only to encounter obstacles that could draw them even further apart.

I liked this book right away, for a couple of reasons: I'm a child of the 60s (yes, I'm that old!), as are Lilly and Val; and I love to cook, and collect new recipes, which this book has in abundance!

As I read the early letters exchanged between Lilly and Val, I was transported to my own childhood days of Moon-Pies, bicycles, and writing notes in class (remember that?). I was very much like Val - bookish, introverted, and cautious, and I also had a close friend who was similar to Lilly - daring and wreckless. Thankfully, that's where the similarities ended. Lilly and Val's childhoods were difficult, and even dysfunctional. Despite this, Val excelled in school, academically if not socially. She was so advanced, that she was able to enter college early, and once there, she "came into her own" socially as well. Lilly did the opposite, struggling to meet her father's expectations educationally, her talents leaned more toward the dramatic. She rebelled against her father by becoming a singer and performer. Eventually, these differences were what severed Lilly & Val's friendship.

I liked this book. The story drew me in and kept me interested, and the recipes made me want to get in the kitchen and cook!

You can buy a copy of The Recipe Club at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other book sellers listed here.


Thanks to Kyle and HarperCollins Publishers, I'm giving away 3 copies of The recipe Club!


(You MUST do this First for your entry to count!) Check out The Recipe Club at HarperCollins.com, and tell me in a comment something you learned about the book or the authors (other than what is already in this post). Duplicate comments will be deleted.


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PLEASE make sure your email is either linked to, or included in your comment. Entries will be accepted until February 12th at 11:59pm EST. Winners will be drawn by random.org and validated per rules. US & Canada addresses. Winners will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to reply before an alternate winner is chosen. Good Luck!

Disclaimer/Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my review. This is my honest opinion, and was not influenced by the sponsor in any way.