Saturday, April 13, 2013

Book Review: Angelina's Bachelors by Brian O'Reilly

A Showcase for Food

Good Italian Food with a Plot

Angelina finds herself a young widow in the beginning of this story, facing a struggle to support herself and keep her home. In her grief she turns to the store of food in her kitchen that was supposed to be for a niece's party that had been planned before the tragedy. Spectacular dishes emerge, as she cooks nonstop throughout the evening, with wonderful descriptions and visual imagery. Now what to do with all this food? And so the plot unfolds as the dishes are distributed throughout the local neighborhood and everyone gets a taste of her masterpieces. Within a short amount of time, Angelina is cooking for pay from others, with an impromptu supper club being formed in her own home, catering to bachelors who form an informal family and network of support.

The story is pleasant and the characters are all likable. I would say it's an easy read with not a lot of depth but a heart warming story. You will end up rooting for Angelina and will cheer her on, encouraging her in your mind that she should find love and happiness again. I can't tell for sure what time period this book was set in, but with the descriptions it would seem to me to be about 20-40 years ago. It definitely did not ring "current" but more nostalgic.

That being said, the real showcase here is the food. Each chapter includes recipes and detailed instructions for the dishes described in the narrative. Most of these recipes are quite complex but I think I will be trying a couple. They were all mouth watering and made me quite hungry for Italian cuisine.  Apparently the recipes were created by the author's wife Virginia. In reading up on the author, it turns out he is an Executive Producer at the Food Network and has published cookbooks  - this was his first published novel. He knows food, I can say that for sure.

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