Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Jenn's Review: Aftertaste

Summary:  Mira Rinaldi lives life at a rolling boil. Co-owner of Grappa, a chic New York City trattoria, she has an enviable apartment, a brand-new baby, and a frenzied schedule befitting her success.

Everything changes the night she catches her husband, Jake, "wielding his whisk" with Grappa's new waitress. Mira's fiery response earns her a court-ordered stint in anger management and the beginning of legal and personal predicaments as she battles to save her restaurant and pick up the pieces of her life.

Mira falls back on family and friends in Pittsburgh as she struggles to find a recipe for happiness. But the heat is really on when some surprising developments in New York present her with a high stakes opportunity to win back what she thought she had lost forever. For Mira, cooking isn't just about delicious flavours and textures, but about the pleasure found in filling others' needs. And the time has come to decide where her own fulfilment lies - even if the answers are unexpected.

Keenly observed and deeply satisfying, Aftertaste is a novel about rebuilding and rediscovery, about food passionately prepared and unapologetically savored, and about the singular contentment that comes with living--and loving--with gusto.  ~product description

Review:  There are many kinds of Food-Lit, and really, I love them all.  Needless to say, I was excited to see Aftertaste come up on the Library Thing Early Reviewer's list and even more excited when I was awarded a review copy.  Aftertaste is Food-Lit in the sense that the story revolves around the life of a chef... and there are some nice recipes at the end of the novel (a la Barbara O'Neal).  It's a novel of self-discovery through food, family, and friends.

It is a true testament to an author's writing skills when they can enthrall me with a tale even though I don't like the main character.  Debut author Meredith Mileti reeled me right in.  Mira is a woman scorned, and while she has every right to be angry, her rash behavior when she looses her temper continues to cost her dearly.  She also continues to give her soon-to-be-ex-husband the benefit of the doubt time and again, repeatedly opening herself, and worse yet their daughter, up to heartache and rejection over and over.  Quite frankly, I wanted to shake her throughout most of the book.  She is slow to learn a lesson and oh, so naive.  But Mira's true to life and her friendships are genuine and it is those traits that kept me engaged.

I liked the concept of 'a novel in five courses' but while I was reading, I honestly paid very little attention to the divisions as I was too engrossed with the story.   In retrospect I think they were very fitting.  The food and food preparation included is done seamlessly and is a warm, hearty part of the story.  While there aren't a ton of twists and turns, it is a lovely read just for the relationships. I would have been happy to see Meredith Mileti dig even deeper into each character as they were all so different and so important in their own right. I was glad that Mira learned her lesson before she was clobbered over the head with it ~again; it was a relief.  The recipes at the end were a nice touch, but had they been excluded, I wouldn't have missed them.

All in all, I am very impressed my Meredith Mileti and anxiously await her next book.  I hope she sticks with the Food-Lit because it is most definitely her niche!  If you enjoy food-lit, Aftertaste is for you; and Meredith Mileti is an author to watch.

Final Take:  4.25/5

Want your own little taste?  Here is an excerpt.
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4 comments :

quirky girls February 15, 2012 at 9:23 PM  

I don't read enough Food-Lit, although I do enjoy it when I do. Thanks for another Food-Lit book to add to my book list. :)

-jehara

Jenn February 16, 2012 at 12:40 AM  

Ok, then I also highly recommend anything by Sarah Addison Allen, Jael McHenry's The Kitchen Daughter, and The Love Goddess' Cooking School
by Melissa Senate. :D

(Book pusher? Yup, that's me! LOL)

caffeinejunkie February 16, 2012 at 10:19 PM  

I love Food lit! I didn't it had a name. I just like reading about food. Stacey Ballis has a food lit novel "Good Enough to Eat". Made me hungry.:)

Jenn February 17, 2012 at 12:09 AM  

Thanks, I'm always looking for more food-lit.

I'll have to check that one out!

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