For the love of food (foodie book reviews)

In New England it is impossible to miss that today is the “big game.” For me it’s all about the food & friends rather than watching football. I guess that makes me a bit of a foodie…but I already knew that. I imagine that anyone who is as obsessed with all of the different flavors of tea as I am would define themselves as a lover of food. Foodies, oenophiles, and tea-lovers: they all just love the different flavor notes and smells. That is why, although this is a tea blog, I’m about to tell you about two foodie books that I recently read and very much enjoyed.

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The first is a novel, Aftertaste by Meredith Milletti.
You can see an excerpt [or an amuse bouche] from the book here: http://meredithmileti.com/sample-aftertaste/

I was sent a copy of this book by Ms. Milletti’s agent and I found it to be a great read. While this is a work of fiction it has the format or a memoir. It is about a woman, Mira, who discovers that her chef husband is having an affair just weeks after the birth of their infant son. (Yeah, I have some choice words for that guy.) She is also a chef and they own a restaurant together. This book is the story of Mira’s journey from a good restaurant but bad marriage to her new life with her baby. I found this book to be a little like “Eat Pray Love” but mostly just the eat part. [slight spoiler alert] How predictable and boring would it have been if she just found love again? Instead she finds herself.

There is something very rewarding about reading a book about a woman finding herself. With some good food added in the story is even better. What I particularly love about this novel is not just the description of flavors, but that the idea of food as a way of caring. Food = love. To cook food for another is to care for them and nurture them. My Polish grandmother could never feed us enough and maybe that’s why I relate to this idea so easily and find it to be such a beautiful sentiment. Also, If you like the book as much as I do you may want to know that she is  joining the popular blog Under the Tuscan Gun as a regular contributor. I give this book 4 out of 5 leaves – a good book well worth reading!

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The second foodie book I read is a memoir. “Blood, bones, and Butter.”
Visit the website for more info & excerpts here:
http://bloodbonesandbutter.net/

I’ve been hearing about this book for quite a while. However, unless someone gives me a book, or I happen to see it on the CD shelf at the library, I tend to forget about it. Sometimes it feels a bit like fate when a book that I’ve been wanting to read is just sitting there on the shelf at the library and happens to catch my eye. Luckily this book and it’s red cover art practically jumped out at me. How lucky!

I love that this book doesn’t just tell a success story. Gabrielle Hamilton was a dishwasher and a waitress. These are hardly the glamorous food career positions that people romanticize. The plot line of her story, like her use of similes in her writing, is somewhat poetic. Things just happen to her and she dives right into them. That is a quality that I truly admire. My favorite part of the book is when someone refers to cooking as a fun job. As a photographer, this is something that I hear a lot. She responds with something like this: (from my flawed memory not a direct quote) Cooking as a chef is fun, but it’s not the same kind of fun as testing out a recipe in your own kitchen. She continues to the effect that it is work, hard work, but also rewarding. I need to get a copy of the book, or try to find it on the CD, to get the exact quote. On behalf of all creative people who are tired of the patronizing “your job must be fun”comment, thank you Ms. Hamilton! 5 out of 5 leaves for this book – a MUST read!

Note: Aftertaste was given to me at no charge to review on my blog. Blood, Bones, and Butter I acquired on my own. As always Abby & I will continue to let you know when we’re getting something for free but that doesn’t change how we rate the books! Happy reading foodie friends.

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