Books for When Your Brain Is Melted
Consider these novels as the literary
equivalent of a spa day: lie back, relax and drift away.
2 of 4
Kitchens of the Great Midwest
Pamela Dorman Books
culinary comedy of manners revolves around Eva Thorvald, born with a perfect
palette and a passion for food. Shortly after her birth, Eva’s mother deserts
her to become a sommelier and her adoring father—a gifted chef—suddenly dies.
Although she’s raised by relatives who don’t have a clue about cuisine, her
genes prevail. By the age of eleven, Eva is growing hydroponic chile
plants in her closet—and taking red-hot revenge on the middle-school boys
who’ve mercilessly bullied her. By 20, she’s a rising food-world star in
Minneapolis—fearless and soon to be peerless. Even a supposedly simple sweet
corn succatosh tossed together for a potluck forces her rival to concede: “The
green beans and corn were each just slightly firm, the bacon was fragrant and
not too salty, and the nearly diaphanous white onion pieces were in that
Goldilocks zone of piquancy...” Surrounding Eva is a delightfully eccentric cast
of cousins, aunts and uncles, friends, and would-be lovers whose lives interlock
in unexpected ways. The author's gentle skewering of foodie snobs (from county
fair doyennes to the vegan/gluten-free/soy-free police) is spot on,
and the blend of humor, warmth, and longing that he uses to portray family
relationships make the book insightful and endearing. Savor it page by page.
— Dawn Raffel