Just when Maggie Mcelroy started to gain some semblance of a life after the death of her husband when she receives a phone call from China that will cause old wounds to reopen and up end all that she knew about her deceased husband.
“It wasn’t so much that China was crueler than the West, only more honest.”
Sam is a half American, half Chinese chef trying to reclaim his grandfather’s legacy as chef to the Chinese emperor but he can’t acceptance he needs to get his restaurant up off the ground.
Maggie travels to China to clean up the mess her husband left behind. She also decides to take on the job of writing an article for her food magazine about Sam and his restaurant. In doing so she discovers a whole new world of cuisine and life.
I loved this book a lot more than I expected to. It was a pick for my slow food book club, which is a testament to the importance of book clubs because they help me extend my taste in books.
In so many of the foodie lit books you have a story and then there is the food to accentuate it. However, in this book, food is central to the story. Not just through Sam being a chef but also with his family and it’s connection to the food of that culture. To say that cooking is in his blood is an understatement.
Food is not just a part of the family but a way for the characters to reach out to each other. Sam was able to reach out to Maggie through food to help her cope with the situation she faced.
You know how a certain dish of pasta will make you feel all warm and cozy or a bowl of chicken soup will be just enough to pull you out of a cold. The food that Maggie experienced in China did much of the same thing, I would say going so far as to bring her back to life.
My only problem: It’s for my slowfood book club. Which means I have to bring a potluck dish based on the book. I have no idea what I am going to make.