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Ingredients for Friendship   2 comments

Labeled as a “novel about food and friendship,” The Recipe Club by
Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel chronicles a long-time friendship
through emails, letters and recipes. The latter are the real stars. From
appetizers such as, “Good Karma Veggie Samosas,” to desserts includ-
ing, “Wash-Away the Blues Berry Cobbler,” each recipe is named to
coincide with the events in the characters’ lives.

Roughly ninety percent of the book is written as correspondence. I
suspect each author assumed the role of one of the two main charact-
ers, friends Val and Lily, who weather every imaginable squall as
young girls/teenagers. The distinct voices reflect their contrary per-
sonalities, which add weight to the opposites-attract-theory of re-
lationships.

With two narrators, it’s easy to provide both sides to every story. It
is also not difficult to see how misinterpretations occur. The novel
begins with an email exchange between the two women as they try
to bridge a 28-year rift in their friendship. It’s no spoiler to say the
attempts prove fruitless. This is followed by the main section of the
book: letters written between 1964 and 1973, and nearly all are
accompanied by a recipe for their recipe club. Everything leads to-
ward their falling out.

The result of the book’s structure is a “Forest Gump” approach to
showing the times as they were a changin’ for Val and Lily. The for-
mat was an uncomplicated way to introduce others who impacted
their lives. Friendship and food are important connections; the
authors show sometimes they aren’t always stress-free.

The Recipe Club
Three Bookmarks (thanks to the recipes)
HarperCollins, 2009
337 pages

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2 responses to “Ingredients for Friendship

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  1. Did you try any of the recipes? Any keepers if you did?

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