The Recipe Club: A Novel about Food and Friendship

( 40 )

Overview

Loyalty, loss, and the ties that bind: These are the ingredients of The Recipe Club, a "novel cookbook" that combines an authentic story of friendship with more than eighty delicious recipes.

Lifelong friends Lilly and Val are united as much by their differences as by their similarities. In childhood, "LillyPad" and "ValPal" form an exclusive two-person club, writing intimate letters in which they share hopes, fears, deepest secrets . . . and recipes—from Lilly's "Lovelorn ...

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The Recipe Club: A Tale of Food and Friendship

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Overview

Loyalty, loss, and the ties that bind: These are the ingredients of The Recipe Club, a "novel cookbook" that combines an authentic story of friendship with more than eighty delicious recipes.

Lifelong friends Lilly and Val are united as much by their differences as by their similarities. In childhood, "LillyPad" and "ValPal" form an exclusive two-person club, writing intimate letters in which they share hopes, fears, deepest secrets . . . and recipes—from Lilly's "Lovelorn Lasagna" to Valerie's "Forgiveness Tapenade." The Recipe Club sustains Lilly and Val's bond across the decades: through the challenges of independence, the joys and heartbreaks of first love, and the emotional complexities of family relationships, identity, mortality, and goals deferred—until the fateful day when an act of kindness becomes an unforgivable betrayal.

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Editorial Reviews

People
“Told through letters and recipes, this novel traces the pair’s loving, competitive friendship from 1963, when the girls first meet, to the present. A look at the difficulties of sustaining childhood bonds, it’s also a satisfying meditation on how nourishment for the body can replenish the soul.”
People Magazine
"Told through letters and recipes, this novel traces the pair’s loving, competitive friendship from 1963, when the girls first meet, to the present. A look at the difficulties of sustaining childhood bonds, it’s also a satisfying meditation on how nourishment for the body can replenish the soul."
People
“Told through letters and recipes, this novel traces the pair’s loving, competitive friendship from 1963, when the girls first meet, to the present. A look at the difficulties of sustaining childhood bonds, it’s also a satisfying meditation on how nourishment for the body can replenish the soul.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061992292
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/21/2010
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 342
  • Sales rank: 547,905
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrea Israel is an Emmy Award-winning television producer and writer and the author of Taking Tea.

Nancy Garfinkel is an award-winning writer, design consultant, creative strategist, and editor, and co-author of The Wine Lover's Guide to the Wine Country.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 40 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(11)

3 Star

(13)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 40 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 17, 2010

    The Recipe Club

    Lilly and Val are best friends. They are the typical pairing of friends, as one is dramatic and charismatic, while the other is her other half to include shyness and a lacking of self confidence. The two friends started a letter writing habit at a young age and decided they would call it their Recipe Club and have a recipe included with each letter they wrote to each other. The letters chronicle the happenings in the lives of each girl with a recipe that often has a name derived from that event. Such names include Good Karma Veggie Samosa and Apple and Pear Friendship Fool, with the book containing 80 recipes.

    Overall, I liked the book. However, it seemed at times the characters were annoying and you wanted to tell them to stop bickering. The characters seemed more enemies than friends for most of the book and the ending didn't seem to fit well with the the overall concept of what had taken place during their lives. I think I would have liked the characters to have more depth so that the reader could have a better connection with them.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 13, 2012

    Good, quick read. Good old recipes.

    The recipes brought back good family memories for me. The story line was a little drawn out but still a good read.

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  • Posted September 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Connecting through food and time

    I love books that are set up as letters between two people. At the beginning of the novel the two women are exchanging email because on of their parents has just died. At first it seems like the two are striking back up a friendship that suffered a rift many years ago, but then the reach an impasse and call it off. Then we go back to the 1960's and 1970's and read letters between the two as children. Things get fleshed out, insight is given, and things start to make sense.

    I loved the letters and the childhood feelings and insecurities that are shown, how much more dramatic an eighteen year old is than a forty year old, how much they want to find themselves and find their place and be loved and accepted by their parents. In many of the letters a recipe is exchanged. I found myself wanting to try out the recipes. I haven't as of yet, but there are a few I may. I am torn because I usually pass along books I read unless I know I want to read it again, but with all the recipes I may save this one a little longer to have the chance to try them. It may even go with my recipe books in the kitchen cabinet.

    I liked Valerie more than Lilly, but could see traits of who I used to be in some of both of their actions, especially some of Lilly's. Part of her growing up and fitting in and having boyfriends, not the singing and performing parts.

    The last part that brought them up to their present, or second to last part I guess, where it was actually in a regular novel format was my least favorite, I was glad when they went back to emails and letters. Some of it was tied up a bit tidier than I would have liked, but I was satisfied with the ending.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 26, 2010

    Awesome book!

    This book was a good read. I found it hard to put it down. As a pastry chef I found a lot of great recipes. I'm now in the process of finding another book just like this. Any other books like this with recipes is what I'm looking for.

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  • Posted October 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Take two friends and add lots of love and you've got a great book!

    Lilly and Val have been childhood friends forever. Back when they were growing up in their teen years during the 1960's they spent their time writing one another letters and sharing a recipe. In the letters they would share whatever was going on with them at that stage whether it was their first kiss, fights between their parents, or even what their first job was going to be, they shared it all.

    In the book, The Recipe Club by Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel, you are taken back in time and have the opportunity to read the letters that Val and Lilly wrote to one another along with some incredible recipes that are found on virtually ever page. It's a combination of a journal and recipe book all in one. You feel like you have discovered a treasure in the words these two best friends shared and during a turbulent time, they lost contact for 26 years. However when Lilly's mom dies, she reaches out for the comfort she once shared with her best friend to see if they can recapture what they once had.

    I received this amazing and unique book compliments of TLC Book Tours for my honest review and have to say it's like getting two books in one. The recipe's are amazing and so fun to try. The heartfelt letters between these two close friends shows such a love and friendship that has lasted through the years makes you feel like you know them personally. I would easily rate this book a 5 out of 5 stars. It's just what you could imagine two girls growing up would write if you could read their letters.

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  • Posted March 16, 2010

    A great novel/cookbook!

    "The Recipe Club" is an engaging, unique novel/cookbook that celebrates the power of women's friendships. It tells the story of childhood friends, Lilly and Valerie, who each have very distinct personalities and live vastly different lives. Separated by distance, they begin exchanging intimate letters, with a recipe included that reflects the events in their lives. Both sets of parents complicate matters for the two. During their college years, an argument leads to an estrangement, which lasts for 26 years. In the end, a secret changes their lives forever.

    This compelling book is a totally different type of reading experience that kept me turning the pages. The story is creatively told through the two friends' letters, drawings, e-mails, and also a narrator. This allowed me to feel and experience their lives right along with them. I learned about each girl's family and enjoyed watching their friendship evolve. There are more than 80 tantalizing recipes cleverly woven throughout the story. I truly enjoyed reading this entertaining book and look forward to trying some of the recipes. I definitely recommend it for everyone, especially fiction/cookbook lovers!

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  • Posted January 16, 2010

    Could not stop reading this infectious book

    By about page 20 or 25, this book had grabbed me and wouldn't let go. At first, it seemed a simple story about old friends who had long ago lost touch and regained it at a time of sorrow for one via e-mail. But the hints were there that there was so much more to it than that. The two women (about 25 years later, after some bizarre "incident" that parted them) began to communicate again. They were careful, but glad to re-connect, yet they bickered, cautiously moved forward, bickered some more, argued, made up---all via the e-mails. Their communications began to move back and forth between these adult e-mails and old letters from their childhood and youth that both had kept and they finally re-read. The plot unfolds via the earlier letters and grows to a flourish as the end of the earlier friendship explodes. Along the way, we learn that The Recipe Club was a two-girl club they created in which they would write long letters about their thoughts and feelings and include each time a recipe. They had once gone to the same school, but ended up living far enough apart in the NYC area that long public transport rides were required to see each other. So the letters became their glue. Their families also had an odd and secret connection, and occasional get-togethers, which the girls accepted but did not understand. The girls had very different personalities and lifestyles and both admired and disdained what the other had. They learned from each other, but would never be much alike. They didn't seem natural friends, yet the connection between them was oddly very strong. When family issues came to an strange and volatile head (in their youth), one they still don't understand, they came apart, became angry and took off in their own directions. The gap of many, many years ends with the death of a parent. Then the e-mails begin and tell the story of their adult lives, their former feelings, friendship, suspicions, jealousies and pull the mystery together with a wild flourish. And another explosion and parting. It all becomes clear in the end and the mystery is solved with high drama and emotion and.....I won't spoil the end. But as this bizarre story unfolds, I could not stop reading. At every point I thought I should stop, I would decide to read one more letter or e-mail, and then another, until I had read much farther ahead. And then the book ended and I missed reading it immediately. It's a great, riveting story told engagingly and dramatically all via the letters and e-mails---a unique method that actually works far better than I had expected.

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  • Posted January 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A tasty treat!

    This was a very interesting book, as it is told almost entirely through the two friend's correspondence. Part One starts off the book with the two friends trying to reconnect via email after 26 years apart. Then Part Two goes back to their early friendship and the start of their Recipe Club, where they exchange recipes along with their letters. It takes us all the way up to their big argument which ends the friendship, then we come back to the present with Part Three, which takes place 2 years after Part One. It's not confusing at all, honest!

    Despite being mostly restricted to letters and emails, we still get to know Val and Lilly and watch their friendship evolve as the girls get older. Both sets of parents play a large role in shaping the girls and their friendship, and I liked the extra touch of having the girl's letters go from a child's scrawl on notebook paper to more grown-up stationary as the girls get older. Same thing with the included recipes.

    Parts One and Two are strictly emails and letters, but Part Three is a combination of traditional storytelling and emails. Thought the authors handled the transition very well, as I don't see how Part Three could have been told only through emails. All in all, thought they did a great job with the entire book!

    Gave this book a 4/5 rating as it had a good plot, the use of emails and letters was very well executed, and the writing and characters were also well done. Also liked the recipes sprinkled throughout the book, and have earmarked a few to try. There's even a recipe index at the back, which I thought was another nice touch! I enjoyed reading this original book and look forward to reading more from these two talented ladies!

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  • Posted November 13, 2009

    Would make good teen lit...

    I was very disappointed with all the good ratings for this book. It reminds me of something I would have read in Junior High. It was not just the subject matter, but the predictable plot that did not grab me at all. I'm not sure why so many rated this so well. It was not for me.

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  • Posted October 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Readers will enjoy this fine story of friendship

    Valerie "Valpal" Rudman and Lilly "Lillypad" Stone are like close sisters who are totally opposites. They became BFFs forever when they formed the Recipe Club when they were ten years old pen pals; as each letter required a recipe be included. Lilly is a classic extrovert hoping to make it as a singer; Valerie is the centerfold of introvert studying diligently to become a doctor. Over the years they remained friends through all types of family crisis until one incident devastated their friendship.

    Over a quarter of a century pass with neither communicating with the other until Val's mom dies from cancer and she sends Dear Lilly an email while Lilly's mom Katherine the Great ran away. As they near fifty, Valerie and Lilly write to one another like they used to only using email. Both are stunned with what they learn that could split them apart again.

    Using email letters to tell the tale of two women and their families, The Recipe Club is a strong character driven drama. The lead duet comes alive through their correspondence and provides enough insight into the support, mostly relatives, to enhance the loving relationship between BFFs. Although gimmicky with the mouth watering aptly titled recipes leading each chapter, fans will enjoy this fine story of friendship.

    Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 22, 2009

    in a nutshell

    This heartwarming book was so creative and fun to read. It begins as emails going back and forth through two former friends. We can tell there is some tension and you immediately want to know why. The book then flashes backwards to the childhood of these friends, through Pen Pal type letters. The letters dont tell you everything like a book does. You never are privy to what happens between each letter or when the girls are together unless they write about it to each other. With the letters they send each other recipes. Some of them are easy and quick to make and others become more complicated and experimental. You get to grow up with Lilly and Val, experience love, loss and fun. After the misunderstand separates them, the book transforms into a typical fashion, giving the reader a bit more focus into the life of the two women. It then ends full circle with emails. I found this approach so interesting.

    If you are anything like me the story will engross you and you will need to clear your schedule to read this book in one sitting.

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  • Posted October 18, 2009

    A Special Treat!

    Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel's new book, The Recipe Club: A Tale of Food and Friendship is the smart women's book we've been waiting for. It begins with a series of emails, letters and recipes between Val and Lilly. We learn about these two friends and the power of friendship and food to enrich and nourish us. They work through issues of trust, love, anger and betrayal. You will see yourself and at least one or more of your own friends in these two women. The book will engage you from the first page. Without realizing, I completed it straight through in one sitting. The book cover, recipes, quirky drawings- all are just lovely and inviting. I have already recommended this book to many friends - to those who relish a smart and honest book about real relationships.

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