Stories penned specially for foodies

Foodies are a different breed altogether! These are stories that are written with them in mind. By the way, are you a foodie or not?
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Kitchens of the Great Midwest

by J. Ryan Stradal

About the book:  Who is Eva Thorvald? To her single father, a chef, she's a pint-sized recipe tester and the love of his life. To the chilli chowdown contestants of Cook County, Illinois, she's a fire-eating demon. To the fashionable foodie goddess of supper clubs, she's a wanton threat. She's an enigma, a secret ingredient that no one can put their finger on. Eva will surprise everyone. On the day before her eleventh birthday, she's cultivating chilli peppers in her wardrobe like a pro. Abandoned by her mother, gangly and poor, Eva arms herself with the weapons of her unknown heritage: a kick-ass palate and a passion bordering on obsession. Over the years, her tastes grow, and so do her ambitions. One day Eva will be the greatest chef in the world. But along the way, the people she meets will shape her - and she, them - in ways unforgettable, riotous and profound. So she - for one - knows exactly who she is by the time her mother returns. Kitchens of the Great Midwest is about the family you lose, the friends you make and chance connections that can define a life. Joyful, quirky or brazen, everyone lends their voice to tell Eva's story - one that's as heartwarming as it is irresistible, taking the bitter with the sweet.

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Sweetbitter

by Stephanie Danler

About the book:  A lush, thrilling debut about a year in the life of a uniquely beguiling young woman, set in the wild, alluring world of a famous downtown New York restaurant. "Let's say I was born when I came over the George Washington Bridge..." This is how we meet unforgettable Tess, the 22-year-old at the heart of this stunning debut. Shot like a bullet from a mundane past, she's come to New York to escape the provincial, to take on her destiny. After she stumbles into a coveted job at a renowned Union Square restaurant, we spend the year with her as she learns the chaotic, punishing, privileged life of a "backwaiter," on and off duty. Her appetites are awakened, for food, wine, knowledge and experience; and she's pulled into the thrall of two other servers--a handsome bartender she falls hard for, and an older woman whose connection to both young lovers is murky, sensual, and overpowering. These two will prove to be Tess's hardest lesson of all. Sweetbitter is a story about discovery, enchantment, and the power of what remains after disillusionment.

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The Belly of Paris (also known as: The Fat and The Thin)

by Emile Zola

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The Hundred-Foot Journey

by Richard C. Morais

About the book:  “Slumdog Millionaire meets Ratatouille” (The New York Times Book Review) in this “delicious fairytale-like read” (NPR) about family, nationality, and the mysteries of good taste. Born above his grandfather’s modest restaurant in Mumbai, Hassan Haji first experienced life through intoxicating whiffs of spicy fish curry, trips to the local markets, and gourmet outings with his mother. But when tragedy pushes the family out of India, they console themselves by eating their way around the world, eventually settling in Lumière, a small village in the French Alps. The boisterous Haji family takes Lumière by storm. They open an inexpensive Indian restaurant opposite an esteemed French relais—that of the famous chef Madame Mallory—and infuse the sleepy town with the spices of India, transforming the lives of its eccentric villagers and infuriating their celebrated neighbor. Only after Madame Mallory wages culinary war with the immigrant family, does she finally agree to mentor young Hassan, leading him to Paris, the launch of his own restaurant, and a slew of new adventures. The Hundred-Foot Journey is about how the hundred-foot distance between a new Indian kitchen and a traditional French one can represent the gulf between different cultures and desires. A testament to the inevitability of destiny, this is a fable for the ages—charming, endearing, and compulsively readable.

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Gourmet Rhapsody

by Muriel Barbery

About the book:  From the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Elegance of the Hedgehog. In the heart of Paris, in the posh building made famous in The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Pierre Athens, the greatest food critic in the world, is dying. Revered by some and reviled by many, Monsieur Arthens has been lording it over the world?s most esteemed chefs for years, passing judgment on their creations, deciding their fates with a stroke of his pen, destroying and building reputations on a whim. But now, during these his final hours, his mind has turned to simpler things. He is desperately searching for that singular flavor, that sublime something once sampled, never forgotten, the Flavor par excellence. Indeed, this flamboyant and self-absorbed man desires only one thing before he dies: one last taste. Thus begins a charming voyage that traces the career of Monsieur Arthens from childhood to maturity across a celebration of all manner of culinary delights. Alternating with the voice of the supercilious Arthens is a chorus belonging to his acquaintances and familiars?relatives, lovers, a would-be protégé, even a cat. Each will have his or her say about M. Arthens, a man who has inspired only extreme emotions in people. Here, as in The Elegance of Hedgehog, Muriel Barbery?s story celebrates life?s simple pleasures and sublime moments while condemning the arrogance and vulgarity of power.

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The Joy Luck Club

by Amy Tan

About the book:  In 1949 four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, meet weekly to play mahjong and tell stories of what they left behind in China. United in loss and new hope for their daughters' futures, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. Their daughters, who have never heard these stories, think their mothers' advice is irrelevant to their modern American lives - until their own inner crises reveal how much they've unknowingly inherited of their mothers' pasts. The international bestseller

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The Last Chinese Chef

by Nicole Mones

About the book:  Struggling to recover in the wake of her husband's premature death and stunned by a paternity suit against her husband's estate, food writer Maggie McElroy plans a trip to China to investigate the claim and to profile rising chef Sam Liang, who introduces her to the Chinese concept of food, while drawing her into his extended family and helping her come to terms with her life. Reprint.

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Chocolat

by Harris Joanne

About the book:  Try me...Test me...Taste me. When an exotic stranger, Vianne Rocher, arrives in the French village of Lansquenet and opens a chocolate boutique directly opposite the church, Father Reynaud identifies her as a serious danger to his flock - especially as it is the beginning of Lent, the traditional season of self-denial. War is declared as the priest denounces the newcomer's wares as instruments of murder. Suddenly Vianne's shop-cum-cafe means that there is somewhere for secrets to be whispered, grievances to be aired, dreams to be tested. But Vianne's plans for an Easter Chocolate Festival divide the whole community in a conflict that escalates into a 'Church not Chocolate' battle. As mouths water in anticipation, can the solemnity of the Church compare with the pagan passion of a chocolate éclair? For the first time here is a novel in which chocolate enjoys its true importance, emerging as a moral issue, as an agent of transformation - as well as a pleasure bordering on obsession. Rich, clever and mischievous, this is a triumphant read.

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Bread Alone

by Judith Ryan Hendricks

About the book:  The life of 31-year-old trophy wife Wynter Morrison suddenly changes course when her husband announces one evening that their marriage is over. Emotionally devastated and desperate for a change of scenery, Wyn moves to Seattle where she spends aimless hours at a local bakery, sipping coffee and inhaling the sweet aromas of freshly-made bread. These visits bring back memories of her long-ago apprenticeship at a French boulangerie, and when offered a position at the bakery, Wyn quickly accepts -- hoping that the rituals of baking will help her move on. Working long hours among the bakery's cluster of eclectic women -- Linda, the irascible bread baker; earth mother Ellen and her partner Diane; and Tyler, the blue-haired barista -- Wyn awakens to the truths that she missed while living the good life in Hancock Park. Soon Wyn discovers that making bread possesses an unexpected and wondrous healing power, helping her to rediscover that nothing stays the same... bread rises, pain fades, the heart heals, and the future beckons.

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The Sugar Queen

by Sarah Addison Allen

About the book:  NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In this irresistible novel, Sarah Addison Allen, author of the bestselling debut, Garden Spells, tells the tale of a young woman whose family secrets—and secret passions—are about to change her life forever. Josey Cirrini is sure of three things: winter is her favorite season, she’s a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her closet. For while Josey has settled into an uneventful life in her mother’s house, her one consolation is the stockpile of sugary treats and paperback romances she escapes to each night…. Until she finds her closet harboring Della Lee Baker, a local waitress who is one part nemesis—and two parts fairy godmother. With Della Lee’s tough love, Josey’s narrow existence quickly expands. She even bonds with Chloe Finley, a young woman who is hounded by books that inexplicably appear when she needs them—and who has a close connection to Josey’s longtime crush. Soon Josey is living in a world where the color red has startling powers, and passion can make eggs fry in their cartons. And that’s just for starters. Brimming with warmth, wit, and a sprinkling of magic, here is a spellbinding tale of friendship, love—and the enchanting possibilities of every new day. From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Pomegranate Soup

by Marsha Mehran

About the book:  An enchanting tale of family, friends and renewal, with a taste of something truly magical. It has been seven years since Marjan Aminpour fled Iran with her younger sisters Bahar and Layla. In a sleepy Irish town beneath the holy mountain Croagh Patrick she hopes they might finally find a home. the sisters open the Babylon Cafe right at the heart of Ballinacroagh's Main Mall, sending the spicy, sensuous wafts of traditional Persian cooking to work their magic on the townsfolk. Soon, business is booming and Marjan is thrilled with the demand for her cooking and with the transformation in her sisters - young Layla finds first love, and even tense, haunted Bahar seems less nervous. But then the lives they left behind in Iran begin to bleed into the present and everything the sisters have worked for is under threat... Infused with the textures, scents, trials and triumphs of two cultures, POMEGRANAtE SOUP is a delectable journey, highlighted with delicious recipes, into the heart of Persian cooking and Irish living. 'A novel of great timeliness and charm' - Sydney Morning Herald Continue the story of the Aminpour sisters with Marsha Mehran's second novel ROSEWAtER & SODA BREAD.

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When in Doubt, Add Butter

by Beth Harbison

About the book:  From the New York Times bestselling author of Shoe Addicts Anonymous and Always Something There to Remind Me comes a delicious new novel about the search for true love and all the ingredients that go into it. As far as Gemma is concerned, her days of dating are over. In fact, it's her job to cater other peoples' dates, and that's just fine by her. At thirty-seven, she has her own business, working as a private chef, and her life feels full and secure. She's got six steady clients that keep her hands full. There's Lex, the fussy but fabulous department store owner who loves Oysters Rockefeller and 1950s comfort food; Willa, who needs to lose weight under doctor's orders but still believes butter makes everything better; a colorful family who may or may not be part of the Russian mob; an überwealthy Georgetown family; the picture-perfect Van Houghtens, whose matriarch is "allergic to everything"; and finally, a man she calls "Mr. Tuesday," whom she has never met but who she is strangely drawn to. For Gemma, cooking is predictable. Recipes are certain. Use good ingredients, follow the directions, and you are assured success. Life, on the other hand, is full of variables. So when Gemma's takes an unexpected turn on a road she always thought was straight and narrow, she must face her past and move on in ways she never would have imagined. Because sometimes in life, all you need is a little hope, a lot of courage, and---oh yes---butter.

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Julia's Chocolates

by Cathy Lamb

About the book:  When Julia Bennett leaves her abusive fiancÌ© at the altar, she knows life will never be the same again. Seeking comfort, she heads to her Aunt Lydia's rambling farmhouse where she is welcomed by an eccentric, warm, and wise group of women. Meeting once a week for drinks and the baring of souls, it becomes clear that every woman holds secrets that keep her from happiness.What will it take for them to become their true selves? For Julia, it's chocolate. All her life, baking has been her therapy and her refuge, a way to heal wounds and make friends. But it can't keep her safe. As Julia gradually opens her heart to a new life, with new friendships, and a new love, the past is catching up to her. And this time, she'll have to face it head on.

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The Coincidence of Coconut Cake

by Amy E. Reichert

About the book:  The story of "a talented chef and the food critic who brings down her restaurant, whose chance meeting turns into a ... romance of mistaken identities"--Amazon.com.

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