The Recipe Club by Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel

The Recipe Club by Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel is a narrative mostly written in emails and letters, shifting from a budding friendship between young girls and blossoming into adulthood.  Beyond the emails and letters, the novel also includes recipes, which mesh well with the story as each of the girls deals with lost loves and problems with family, including Lovelorn Lasagna.

The novel begins after Valerie and Lilly have endured a 26-year silence in their friendship.  After an attempt to regain their lost companionship, the narrative shifts to letters written as children and the start of their recipe club.  Recipes are garnered from their parents, family, and friends and often coincide with events in the girls’ lives.  Many of the letters are ripe with adolescent angst and childlike retorts as they quarrel over ideals and perspectives.

“It was so awful.  I was standing in a crowd of other girls I know, and the boys came up to inspect us like we were fruit to be picked.  I only got asked to slow-dance once, by a kid who looks like Ichabod Crane with zits.  We stepped on each other’s feet so hard that I was actually relieved to sit by myself for the rest of the night.”  (page 136 of hardcover)

Valerie is a straight-laced student and highly moral girl who doesn’t understand her friend Lilly as she begins to emulate her free-spirited, actress mother more and more and rebel further against her straight-laced father.  Val spends a great deal of time wondering whether her friendship with Lilly is solid and kowtowing to her friend’s desires and opinions.  In many ways these letters get a bit trying, but eventually Val evolves into a stronger woman.  Lilly’s letters are very self-centered, which also can be exhausting, but eventually Lilly is reformed.

Overall, The Recipe Club is an interesting collection of letters, emails, and recipes that illustrate the frustrations women find in relationships with one another.  The time passes quickly with these women, but in the end, the women reach a satisfying place in their relationship.

This is my 47th book for the 2010 New Authors Reading Challenge.


  1. I enjoyed this one alot and even tried out one of the cookie recipes 😉 Great review.

  2. i’m glad you enjoyed this book! i love it when i find a book that has some recipes in it. although i have to admit i’m not the best chef out there and my cooking skills are quite nonexistent. can’t say i don’t try though.

  3. I really enjoyed this one except I thought the recipes sounded very difficult! 😀

  4. Glad you enjoyed this one! I enjoyed it when I read it, although I never have tried any of the recipes. I like the cover you posted a lot better than the original one that I got too.
    Kris´s last blog post ..The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

  5. I’m intrigued because of the title but I just have a feeling it’s going to take me awhile to get around to the actual book.
    Ladytink_534´s last blog post ..A Whole New World to Police

  6. I really enjoyed this book, especially how they interwove the recipes into the story.
    LuAnn Morgan´s last blog post ..Book Giveaway Winners!!!

  7. I love books that have recipes in them too. It adds even more to the story. I just finished Just One Taste, by Louisa Edwards, it had recipes too… great book!

    Thanks for the review!
    justpeachy36´s last blog post ..Review- Juliet

  8. What kind of recipes? The only book with recipes (that wasn’t a cookbook) that I’ve cooked from is Diana Abu-Jaber’s Language of Baklava. I think it was My Year of Meat that featured a recipe for beef fudge that pretty much put me off novel recipes! 🙂
    Audra´s last blog post ..Wildthorn – Jane Eagland

  9. I enjoyed this book a lot but didn’t think any of the recipes were worth trying. They had fun names, though!

  10. Sounds worth checking out at the very least for the recipes. Glad you enjoyed it for the most part.
    Anna´s last blog post ..Review- With Friends Like These by Sally Koslow

  11. Sounds a nice read – has to be interesting between the letters and the receipes!
    Mystica´s last blog post ..Mixed haul of books for my Mailbox Tuesday