Monday, December 14, 2009

Review: The Recipe Club by Andrea Israel & Nancy Garfinkel

For me, this is the perfect time of year to read books about women's friendships. I am a fan of these types of novels as well as the epistolary style novel of a story told through letters. I enjoyed reading The Recipe Club: A Tale of Food and Friendship by Andrea Israel & Nancy Garfinkel which fits both of my favorites as it is a story of women's friendship told through emails and letters and an added bonus is the focus on food with more than 80 recipes included. Food and friendships always seem to go hand in hand in most women's lives.

Lilly and Val are lifelong friends and the book opens after they reconnect through emails after a falling out 26 years earlier. As young girls, they write to each other as pen pals after one has moved farther away. They form a Recipe Club between them and share favorite recipes along with intimate letters in which they share their hopes, dreams and deepest secrets. The two girls continue to write letters and share recipes from their younger school years through to college. They are both very different, Lilly is dramatic, confident and quite the adventurer and risk taker. Her parents are both distant and are often fighting and she craves their attention. Val is plain, shy and idealistic. She struggles with the emotional baggage of a mother who is housebound and demanding and a father who is a dreamer.

Their lives take different paths and these differences and misunderstanding may often keep them apart. They always seem to reconnect along the way through their recipe club until one day when an act of concern is perceived as a betrayal. Decades later they try to reconnect and recapture that lost trust only to uncover a shocking secret.

I connected to this story in many ways as I am the same age as Lilly and Val and had a best friend who moved away and I wrote letters to. She returned in high school and we remained close friends. We didn't have a recipe club but she often sent me the poetry she was writing and we shared many secrets and dreams. We had a falling out as adults and I had to make the painful decision to disconnect from her. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done and I still miss her but know that the chaos in her life was just too much for me to manage anymore.

The recipes are a nice addition to this book and makes it a cookbook as well as a novel about friendship. It is printed beautifully with artwork and drawings that are a nice touch. The feel of the book is like a cookbook as well, nice and solid and thicker pages. I look forward to trying some of the recipes in the book.

This book would definitely make an excellent book to discuss with a book club. It would be great to pair food and drinks around recipes from the book at a book club meeting. You could even have a recipe swap or start a recipe club. My book club has our own cookbook where we share favorite recipes from our book club meetings and favorite family recipes. We have an organizer who compiles and prints out the recipes each December that we submit and she passes them out for us to add to our cookbooks. We all look forward to this every year so I would say we do have our own recipe book club.

Check out the authors website The Recipe Club, here.

FTC Disclosure: Thanks to Caitlin from FSB Media, for sending me a copy of this book. I am an Amazon Associate.


  1. Thanks for sharing that personal side of your life and how it helped you connect with this book. I liked this one a lot too, except I found the recipes hard!! Probably because I'm not a cook...LOL!!

  2. I'm really looking forward to reading this book! I can see why you related to it - you almost have your own recipe club.

  3. I'm glad to see you liked this one Bonnie. I plan on getting to it quite soon.

  4. A book always works for me if I can connect to it on a personal level.

  5. Hey Bonnie...just wanted to let you know you won a copy of Hope Edelman's The Possibility of Everything! Email me at Congratulations!

  6. Bonnie, my bookclub read this book last month and we all enjoyed it. We actually skyped with the 2 authors! They are really funny! Glad you liked the book!

  7. Your book club sounds great! The one I am in is much less organized, but then we are a very small book club (just 5 of us). I've got this book on my shelf, and I'm saving it for a day when I need a good fun read.


Thanks for visiting and sharing a comment!