Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Tasty Read

Title: Last Bite: A Novel of Culinary Romance
Author: Nancy Verde Barr

Nancy Verde Barr spent 18 years as executive chef to Julia Child. I wonder how closely the events in this novel relate to the ones from her life.

Casey is executive chef to Sally on Morning in America. Sally is 71, extremely friendly and fun, and fantastic at what she does (I wonder if her character is modeled off of Julia Child). One of the talents brought to the show to work with Sally is Danny O'Shea, a highly attractive Irishman who recently opened a restaurant in America.

Of course, Danny and Casey hit it off, but Casey tries to stay her distance because she recently got out of a relationship and also because she thinks Danny is too attractive and flirtatious to be a monogamous man. They hook up in Italy, then there's a tiff where Casey thinks he's not going to be happy with just one woman, but they make up in the end (sorry to spoil it for you, but it's not as if these types of novels ever end with the couple not happily-ever-after).

While the romantic stuff is happening, the extremely dislikable George Davis is blackmailing Sally and trying to control her life. Sally tells no one what is really going on, and tries to take care of it herself. It spirals out of control to the point where Sally very nearly has to leave the show. Casey finds out that George (whose real last name is Davinsky) has incriminating video of Sally's deceased husband presumably selling secrets to the Russians. Once Casey finds out George has mafia connections, she convinces Sally to go the FBI.

The book is chaulk full of Italian women cooking fantastic Italian dishes for huge families and for Sally's show. I have half a mind to make some of the recipes in the back of the book. Or perhaps, given my normal intense dislike of cooking, I've lost half (or all of) my mind. Interestingly, this is the second book I've read recently that involves a great deal of cooking and chefs. Maybe I'm going to turn over a new cooking leaf. Then again, I always did enjoy watching cooking shows, but that didn't do anything for my own culinary tendencies.

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posted by Kate at 10:25 AM


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