Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Book Love: Sugar

I've read all of Elin Hilderbrand's novels but my favorite is The Blue Bistro which is set behind the scenes of a fancy Nantucket restaurant.  It might be because it has "blue" in the title (#blueismylovelanguage) but also because fancy restaurants and fancy food and people who can whip up fancy foods easily is super fascinating to me.  I've read a few "foodie" novels since I first read that one and none of them have lived up to my (maybe too) high expectations.

Until this lovely little book.  Just the cover alone has be wanting to bake something ridiculously yummy without a recipe (which I doubt would turn out yummy...I'm good at directions, not at spontaneous kitchen creativity). 

It follows the story of Charlie (short for Charlotte, I do believe) who is a second in command pastry chef at a fancy NYC restaurant but yearning to be the head pasty chef.  She is fantastic and doesn't like/get along with/respect/etc. the head pastry chef and leaves her long hours of work feeling pretty fed up.  Then an old friend from culinary school, Avery, reaches out to her and wants her to come run the desserts at his new fancy restaurant in Seattle. 

Obviously, she goes, after a little convincing from Avery.  He sets her up in a super fancy (how many times can I say fancy?) apartment in Seattle and gives her a great kitchen and a not so great sous chef and lets her have complete creative control.  Since I can't throw together fantastic meals/desserts/anything on a whim, I always enjoy reading the process of those that can.  Charlie considers different desserts for their menu and trying out local produce and is having a great time...when she finds out that not only did Avery want her to come be a chef, but also be on his new reality show about the kitchen of the restaurant.  DRAMA.

So there is that going on, and long restaurant days and a guy that owns a cute local diner and also lives down the street from Charlie's BFF (who just happens to already live in Seattle) and manufactured drama for the show and living.  Life is busy for Charlie and she gets some things sorted out and priorities reconfigured and all those growth things that typically happen over the course of a good book.

It made me glad I've never worked at a restaurant (unless we're counting a stint at Arby's in high school?  Even though it's fairly decent fast food it's still barely a "restaurant") and definitely glad I don't work those hours although the idea of "family meals" and a bunch of wonderful cooks making food for me every night does sound pretty great.

It was also a surprisingly "clean" novel although wasn't obviously Christian Fiction.  I had never heard of this author before and didn't have any expectations going in but was pleasantly surprised by that.  There was still romance but not overly sexual which was nice.

This was an enjoyable surprise read for me.  It was hard for me to put down and I looked forward to picking it up because it was just a fun read.  I'd recommend, especially if you like food.

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