Last summer, a friend sent me this book. I read it and was enthralled; it gave me an escape from the mental pressures of getting the yard ready for Shannon's wedding. I read it again after our attic fire, in the little spare time I had, because it was such a welcome escape from the filthy realities of my ash covered, unroofed world.
DELICIOUS! A NOVEL
Billie has just dropped out of college and moved to New York City to work for a storied food magazine, Delicious! Her first day on the job, she was sent off to get an obscure ingredient, and met Sal there, who took her to his family deli, Fontanari's, where he had her sampling cheeses and whatnot, delighting in her perfect sense of taste. Her job originally was assistant to the editor, and she was required to cook something as soon as she was hired, which caused her to have a panic attack - we learn why as the book unfolds. Lonely and alone in New York, she also works at Fontanari's on the weekends, learning to love Sal's family, and enjoying the customers there. Then, one day, the publisher announces that Delicious! is being closed down, and Billie stays on to answer the mail and phones, including the complaints made against the Delicious satisfaction guarantee (you will like every recipe in the magazine, no matter how old the issue, or they'll give you a refund). One old lady in particular is a real pip in her terrible recipe substitutions, and she lends some levity to the book. Then, as she's wandering through the empty building, which is a 200 year old house (and the architectural descriptions of the building are wonderful - I longed for that house), she finds a locked room upstairs containing a library, in which Billie discovers correspondence between Lulu Swan, a 12 year old girl in Ohio during World War II, and the legendary James Beard (who worked for the magazine at that time). Following the correspondence with Billie is wonderful. On the personal side, Billie is emailing her sister frequently, and her emails are full of sorrow - we learn why toward the end of the book. A Fontanari's customer known as "Mr. Complainer" makes a few appearances in the book, too; it's all well written and woven together, and leaves you really caring about the characters (and the house, too, at least in my case).
Happy Friday, everyone!