A Novel of Food and Friendship
From the publisher:
New York Times bestselling author Beth Harbison whips together a witty and charming–and delicious–story about the secrets we keep, the friends we make, and the food we cook.
MUST LOVE BUTTER: The Cookbook Club is now open to members. Foodies come join us! No diets! No skipping dessert!
Margo Everson sees the call out for the cookbook club and knows she’s found her people. Recently dumped by her self-absorbed husband, who frankly isn’t much of a loss, she has little to show for her marriage but his ‘parting gift’—a dilapidated old farm house—and a collection of well-loved cookbooks
Aja Alexander just hopes her new-found friends won’t notice that every time she looks at food, she gets queasy. It’s hard hiding a pregnancy, especially one she can’t bring herself to share with her wealthy boyfriend and his snooty mother.
Trista Walker left the cutthroat world of the law behind and decided her fate was to open a restaurant…not the most secure choice ever. But there she could indulge her passion for creating delectable meals and make money at the same time.
The women bond immediately, but it’s not all popovers with melted brie and blackberry jam. Margo’s farm house is about to fall down around her ears; Trista’s restaurant needs a makeover and rat-removal fast; and as for Aja, just how long can you hide a baby bump anyway?
In this delightful novel, these women form bonds that go beyond a love of grilled garlic and soy sauce shrimp. Because what is more important in life than friendship…and food?
I used to facilitate a cookbook club, AKA cookbook discussion group, so this title grabbed me right away. Harbison writes women’s fiction with some humor, romance, but mostly friendship. This book and one other of hers that I have read (When in Doubt, Add Butter) have a foodie slant, which I always enjoy, especially when there are recipes included. I must confess I haven’t made any of the recipes, but I might! I do have a recipe for a taco salad with Doritos (thanks, Judy!) and it is always a winner at any potluck.
Three women meet over an ad and a shared interest in cookbooks and cooking. I loved these women. I could be friends with all of them. There is a lot of humor and a lot of food and some very sweet moments as well. They all have stuff going on in their lives, but this friendship brings them something joyful. I knew I was going to like this book when Margo threw her husband out:
“Eat,” she said, shoving his bowl closer as she passed him. “You’re going to need your energy.”
“For what?” He took a big bite and rolled his eyes in bliss. “You’ve really gotten so good at this lean stuff.”
She gathered her internal strength, vision blurring. “Packing and getting the hell out of here.”
He shook his head, chewing. “I don’t have to leave right away,” he said with a mouthful.
“Oh yes, you do.” Seeing how much he was enjoying her food enraged her. It was probably more accurate to say it pulled the pin on the anger that was already tightening deep beneath her disbelief, but whatever caused it, she found herself unable to fight it. “In fact, you’ve got three seconds to eat whatever else you’re going to eat there before you’re wearing it.”
He looked genuinely shocked. “Margo, this isn’t like you!”
“Correction: this isn’t like Margo your wife.” The flames of fury engulfed her. She couldn’t believe this was happening, and that it was happening so… so casually. “Let me introduce you to Margo your ex-wife.”
“Can’t we be friends?”
The idea that they could suddenly shift baffled her violently.
“No.” She picked up the bowl and dumped the whole thing in his lap, careful to make sure the oily dressing saturated his shirt. She looked him over and clicked her tongue against her teeth. “Get yourself cleaned up, Calvin, honestly, you’re a mess. Oh, and you have half an hour to pack what you want and get out. If you don’t, I’ll call the police. I don’t know if they’ll be able to enforce anything, but I do know that will embarrass you to death, and if there’s one thing you hate, it’s being embarrassed.”
Gutsy move! Almost sounds like a fantasy, but life can be tricky sometimes so why not just go with it. These women share a love of cooking and learn to love one another, to lean on one another, and that makes for a delicious read.
1/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™
THE COOKBOOK CLUB by Beth Harbison. William Morrow Paperbacks (October 20, 2020). ISBN 978-0062958624. 384 pages.