There are many many cooking related books... Many of which I do plan to read at some point, but just have not gotten to yet... I was ambling through the crowded Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle on a cold, crisp Sunday afternoon, a few weeks back when The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman, caught my eye. It could have been the beautiful painting on the front of the book, or the fact that a cookbook collector sounds intriguing in these days when we are so virtual.
The book intertwines the complicated worlds of two sisters who both reside in the Bay Area, but who lead incredibly different lives. Having a sister, I could easily relate as Goodman perfectly described many different emotions that surrounded them. The book switches between scenes, causing you to become increasingly interested in one character's story, just in time to be switched back to another character's story, where you left off fifty pages back. The novel is set in the heart of the Dot-Com era, although it was published only last year. Goodman brings you into each character's community and allows you hear those feelings that they only express to themselves. Without giving away the plot, this book is a beautiful story about so, so much more than cookbooks. In fact, the cookbook collector, is not directly in the novel, but instead becomes a metaphor in the plot, as we learn that substitutions are not only in recipes but are sometimes necessary in life, and can often create something superior to what was originally planned. There are also some great paragraphs as we see how one of the main characters begins to fall in love with the writings. We see how they begin to influence her to experience the life that she had previously tried to stave off.
As I sat each evening in the bedroom reading, one night Brian called in from in front of the TV. "That must be a really good book?".
I answered quickly so as not to lose my place, but my voice unveiled my absorption, "...it is...".
If you are looking for a great read, during these winter months. Check out The Cookbook Collector or any other of Allegra Goodman's books. For all of you getting a new Kindle for the holidays, the e-book is $12 on Amazon.