Comfort Food

( 53 )

Overview

A smart and deliciously funny novel by the bestselling author of The Friday Night Knitting Club—and “readers will be cheering” (Bookreporter.com)...

Shortly before turning the big five-oh, Cooking with Gusto! TV personality Augusta “Gus” Simpson finds herself planning a birthday party she’d rather ignore—her own. To make things worse, the network wants to boost her ratings by teaming Gus with the beautiful, ambitious, and younger Carmen ...

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Comfort Food

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Overview

A smart and deliciously funny novel by the bestselling author of The Friday Night Knitting Club—and “readers will be cheering” (Bookreporter.com)...

Shortly before turning the big five-oh, Cooking with Gusto! TV personality Augusta “Gus” Simpson finds herself planning a birthday party she’d rather ignore—her own. To make things worse, the network wants to boost her ratings by teaming Gus with the beautiful, ambitious, and younger Carmen Vega—the former Miss Spain, no less.

But Gus isn’t going without a fight—whether it’s off set with her two demanding daughters, on camera with the vicious beauty queen herself, or after hours with Oliver, the new culinary producer who’s raising Gus’s temperature beyond the comfort zone. Now, in pursuit of higher ratings and culinary delights, Gus might be able to rejuvenate more than just her career.

“Fresh, tasty Comfort Food goes down mighty easily…Kate Jacobs’s breezy follow-up to her bestselling The Friday Night Knitting Club is a satisfying read that showcases Jacobs’s skill in creating endearingly flawed characters…The kind of book you rush home to finish.”USA Today

“[A] warm and irresistible story...Highly recommended.”Library Journal

“Jacobs has once again crafted a luxuriant yarn of a story…Comfort Food is good for the heart and the soul, serving up a rich pastiche of friendship and motherhood, with a savory side of romance, too.”BookPage

“Real comfort food makes us feel safe and warm inside. It brings together family and friends by blending years, memories, and tastes. The novel Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs brings all these elements to the table.”—The Paper Palate

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
"Gus Simpson adored birthday cake. Chocolate, coconut, lemon, strawberry, vanilla -- she had a particular fondness for the classics. Even though she experimented with new flavors and frostings, drizzlings with syrups and artfully arranging hibiscus petals. Gus more often took the retro route with piped-on flowers or a flash of candy sprinkles across the iced top. Because birthday cake was really about nostalgia, she knew, about reaching in and using the senses to remember one perfect childhood moment." The first words of Kate Jacobs's novel establish the power of food to evoke memories and bring people together. But Comfort Food isn't all sugary icing. As Cooking Channel star Augusta "Gus" Simpson contemplates her fast-approaching 50th birthday, she realizes that she faces scary risks in her plans to rejuvenate her life. A smoothly themed follow-up to The Friday Night Knitting Club.
Marie Claire
Without resorting to stereotypical personalities or over-the-top plot twists . . . Jacobs does something unexpected—she changes things up, and [Club] goes from being a good book to being a really great story.
Publishers Weekly

Jacobs follows The Friday Night Knitting Club with another multigenerational tale, this time on the foodie circuit. Popular Cooking with Gusto! host Augusta "Gus" Simpson, a widowed mother of two adult daughters who's about to turn 50, is tiring of her many obligations, which include throwing an annual birthday bash for herself. That trial pales, however, in comparison with the introduction of saucy former beauty queen and YouTube star Carmen Vega as Gus's cohost: Carmen is younger, hotter and very tight with the boss. It's soon apparent on the set that this new situation isn't working, so the two are packed off, along with a forgettable cast of secondaries, to a corporate team-building weekend, complete with New Age guide. When the resort's head chef calls in sick, a team-building opportunity presents itself. Jacobs gives Gus a reasonable love interest and provides the requisite bickering and backstabbing, but the foodie moments lack passion, and the results yield no stars. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Jacobs's cheery followup to the bestselling Friday Night Knitting Club(soon to be a feature film starring Julia Roberts) is another multigenerational tale with broad appeal, one tracking the personal and professional tribulations of a popular celebrity chef and her two twentysomething daughters. While the secondary story lines are at times a bit thin, Barbara Rosenblat's (www.barbararosenblat.com) ebullient narration and the string of happy endings make this a good choice for popular collections. [With tracks every three minutes for bookmarking; also recorded by Penguin Audio. 9 CDs. unabridged. 10 hrs. ISBN 9780143143161
—Beth Farrell

Kirkus Reviews
The lives and loves of a TV chef, her daughters, neighbor and associates all receive a makeover in this lighthearted but sometimes sagging romantic problem-solver. Jacobs (The Friday Night Knitting Club, 2007) turns to the subject of food on television. Widowed control-freak and mother of two Gus Simpson, approaching 50, has been a star of the CookingChannel for 12 years with her show Cooking with Gusto! But now, under pressure to improve her drooping ratings, she finds herself sharing a new program-Eat Drink and Be-filmed in her own kitchen, with pushy Carmen Vega, a ruthlessly ambitious ex-Miss Spain. Helping out on the live program are Gus's adult daughters Sabrina and Aimee, her neighbor Hannah (a reclusive journalist with a disgraced sporting past), one of Sabrina's ex-boyfriends and Oliver, the show's attractive producer. In a rather slack middle section, the story gets diverted down multiple paths, involving career, family, finance and relationships, while dodging from one mini-crisis or set piece to the next: a kitchen fire, a teambuilding weekend, a bride with extreme wedding nerves. But late in the day, Jacobs marshals her occasionally tepid characters, cuts back on the life philosophy, connects various predictable dots (and one or two less predictable ones) and delivers a slew of happy endings. Not quite as satisfying as the title would lead us to expect. Agent: Dorian Karchmar/William Morris Agency
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425269961
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 4/1/2014
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 366,774
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.60 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Kate Jacobs

Kate Jacobs is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Friday Night Knitting Club, Knit Two, Knit the Season, and Comfort Food. A former magazine writer and editor, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 53 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(13)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(14)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(7)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 53 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2008

    THIS WAS NOT A 'COMFORT' READ

    After reading The Friday Night Knitting Club and loving it, I had to read this one also. I waited a long time for this one at my library and then 'pulled the bookmark' after 60 pages. Gus was 50? I felt like she was more like 70 in her demeanor and the way she dressed. It was boring and poorly written in my opinion. If she's writing another one I hope it'll be a big improvement over this one. This is why I don't buy books and why I borrow them from the library -- so I can return them and not feel guilty that I didn't finish a book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2009

    Do not bother reading this tedious book...

    This is a terrible read and not to be recommended - the characters are shallow and formulaic and the plot line is non-existent. An ultimately forgettable read - save yourself time and money and avoid this book entirely -it is not worth picking up, even less so reading it.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 20, 2008

    Comfort Food

    On the cusp of 50, Gus Simpson, a celebrated Food Network host, is about to ¿reinvent¿ herself, much to her dismay. Her cooking show ratings are dropping and the new producer decides to take the show in a different direction, spice it up a bit, with the diva of all diva cooks, Carmen Vega. Carmen, is a former Miss Spain and tends to forget she¿s in America, and Americans don¿t care that she was Miss Spain. Oh, but they¿ll never forget, if Carmen has anything to do with it. <BR/>Gus, accidentally brings her entire extended family, people who¿s paths otherwise would never have crossed, onto a filming of the new show and viewers love it. This unlikely pack of friends and family come together, in a hilarious comedy of errors, making the show a hit and giving Gus the second wind she needs for the second half of her life.<BR/><BR/>I made the mistake of absolutely loving Kate Jacobs first novel, The Friday Night Knitting Club, and having high expectations for this second novel. In the end it did not disappoint, however, it took a good 100 pages to grab my interest and persuade me to keep going, hoping it would get better; and indeed it did. However, I was getting a little worried. In the end this was a delightful book with a wonderful unexpected ending. The characters where folks next door and from each of our own lives. People we know, have known or could be ourselves. Please pick up this book and have a wonderful read.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Why is Everyone Hating on This So Much?

    CD/Unabridged: This is my first Kate Jacobs book and it was fun. It's about a woman who just turned 50 and is the perky host of a cable cooking show. Think Paula Dean, only thinner. She is a widow with two daughters when her professional life falls apart. Her show is in jeopardy of getting the boot when a Spanish internet host joins her show: think Penelope Cruz. There is a wide cast of characters including the bald, handsome producer, disgraced ex-tennis player neighbor, daughter's boyfriend still in the picture, and group counselor. I found most of the book enjoyable with the right amount of drama and tension mixed with comedy and lilt. The best part is Oliver stuck in the elevator by himself. The narrator, Barbara Rosenblat, does a great job with the different voices and accents. I had to slow down my listening because I didn't want it to end. I do recommend this and a good summertime read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2012

    disappointing

    I have read Ms Jacobs' other works and find them moving from fun and entertaining to something that seems to have been written quickly for a sitcom. I really did enjoy Friday Night Knitting Club.

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  • Posted December 31, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    LOVED it

    I enjoy Kate Jacobs and this was my 3rd book from her. This book had a Julia Child like character mixed with Martha Stewart. The book is an easy read, was fun and entertaining. I LOVED reading this and would recommend it to anyone. This is a great rainy day story and I hope Kate writes more like this.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Delicious

    Fab, Fab fab. Fun and Funny. Playful and addictive.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Great book club read!

    This is a wonderful story that celebrates food and freindship. What more can I say? A fabulous book from the author of Friday Night Knitting Club makes for great book club material. Interesting characters with lots of dilemmas to dish.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2010

    Abominable

    I heard great things about her first book, but after reading this one, I don't even want to attempt her first book, "Friday Night Knitting Club." The story never grabbed my attention. All the characters were immature & unprofessional & I don't see how they ever got a show in the first place. It was poorly written with no plot, & the dialogue atrocious (one thing that really bothered me for some reason was that the characters kept saying "stellar" over and over). I had to force myself to finish the book, and the ending was very predictable. There was way too much melodrama for me to say anything good about this book. Overall one of the most disappointing books I've read.

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  • Posted May 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Tastefully Fun

    Ms. Jacobs characters are so delightful and real. You feel like you're right on the set of Gus kitchen. The food that is prepared sounds delicious and easy to prepare.

    This book would make a pleasant holiday take along.

    You should read The Friday Night Knitting Club for certain. I plan to purchase Knit Two on my next foray.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Comfy Reading

    I actually enjoyed the characters in this novel better than the ones in the Friday Night Knitting Club. Kate Jacobs creates characters who are loveable and I was rooting for them the whole way.

    I loved that the happy endings were not the expected endings and that characters were really developed throughout.

    The plot itself was slightly harried, and I found the idea of the jumbled up mess of a cooking show slightly unbelievable. However, if you look at the cooking channel today...this might be the norm!

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  • Posted November 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Thoroughly Enjoyable!

    Just a delightful read! The characters are well developed and after reading this book, you will want to become a cooking maven even if you don't like cooking! I would highly recommend this book for one of those days when you just want to curl up and immerse yourself in a good read! Enjoy!!

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    Comfort Food

    Enjoyed her other book more. The Friday night Knitting club.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2009

    A waste of time

    I have a rule to give any book a chance by reading the first 100 pages. While I loved "Friday Night Knitting Club", I hated the first 100 pages "Comfort Food". It was painful to read for several reasons: it's clich&#233;, slow paced, poor character development, and oh, did I mention clich&#233;? I was bored and rolling my eyes from page 1 to 100. I really don't recommend this book unless you just want some generic brain candy.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A tasty treat

    Author Kate Jacobs , who wrote the successful THE FRIDAY NIGHT KNITTING CLUB, moves to the culinary world in her new novel, COMFORT FOOD. If you enjoy spending the evening watching Food TV, this novel is for you.

    Augusta "Gus" has been hosting a successful TV show on the CookingChannel for years. She was widowed several years ago and left alone to raise her two young daughters Aimee, a global economic analyst, and Sabrina, an up-and-coming decorator. Gus is about to turn fifty years old when she receives news from her boss- the format of her show is going to be changed and she is getting a sexy young co-host, Carmen, a former Miss Spain.

    Carmen appears to be a manipulative woman, gunning for Gus's job. Somehow, Gus's daughters, Sabrina's ex-fiance Troy, Gus's reclusive neighbor Hannah, and new chef Oliver all end up on the TV show, making for a crowded kitchen, with insults being tossed around the kitchen, along with the ingredients.

    Gus has been told that if this doesn't work, she will be out of a job. So as she has always done, she rolls up her sleeves and is determined to make it work.

    Jacobs writes interesting characters, and the family dynamic amongst Gus and her daughters is very real. They never dealt openly with the loss of their father and husband, never spoke about it. Eventually all of the repressed feelings come to light and must be dealt with. Many families handle situations like that in the same manner, and readers will identify with this. A passage that I found thought provoking was this:
    "You don't know what it's like to struggle." Gus was getting angry; her cheeks were turning red. "I have done everything for you two."
    "Maybe don't do so much, then," Aimee said quietly. "We may not have had your struggle, but we've had our own."
    That sounds like a conversation many families could have.

    All of the characters have strengths and weaknesses, they are three dimensional, and for the most part likable, just as most people are. Everyone is just trying to do their best to get what they want out of life. Gus meddles in her daughter's love life, Hannah is reclusive for a good reason, Troy wants to win Sabrina back, and Oliver has his eyes on romance; Jacobs manages to keep all of these plates spinning while the story unfolds.

    Many people watch Food TV for the personalities as well as the food, and if you are one of them, you'll find COMFORT FOOD a tasty treat. You get a bit of a backstage look at how those shows work, and for good measure, Jacobs gives the reader a few recipes mentioned in the story at the end of the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2009

    comfort food

    I really enjoyed the characters as the book unraveled the plot.
    I could feel for the main character as she adjusted to life changes.
    Kate Jacobs is very good letting you in on waht the cahracters are feeling and how things resolve themselves. I truly loved the Friday Night Knit Club and she did nlet me down on her 2nd novel.

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  • Posted July 4, 2009

    Ho-Hum

    The book did not ever grab my attention, but I did persevere to the end. It was busy with characters - none of them were strong and identifiable by this reader.

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  • Posted May 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Another slice of life...with a happy ending.

    Kate Jacobs never disappoints. With a liberal sprinkling of humanity...and a touch of mystery...it's a pleasure to join her characters in their kitchens...and follow them through their life challenges. I always end up with a case of the warm fuzzies when I undertake a new Kate Jacobs book. To me...there's always something about her main character that makes me want to be adopted.

    Comfort Food is a comfort!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Jacobs does it again!

    Enjoyed this book just as much as I did her other two. The characters are great and develop as the story progresses. In tune with the times, Jacobs has written a very enjoyable story that is sure to please.

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  • Posted March 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    She's not Martha Stewart

    The premise of this book is a TV Chef who reaching the age of 50, is confronted by the network owner with a young, beautiful, ambitious newcomer who is to co-host her weekly program. The supporting characters are her grown children (with problems of their own), a reclusive neighbor, and few boyfriends who can't quite figure out whose girlfriend is whose. A comedy of errors ensues. I especially loved the teambuilding experience with everyone not wanting to participate and the camp counselor getting the participants involved in childish games. The characters are well-integrated and the plot twist are entertaining.
    The finish was somewhat predictable but enjoyable just the same

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