Friday, October 7, 2011

Let ‘em Eat Cake .....

Or pie, oh my! I don’t know if it is because lunch is coming soon, or I have watched one too many episodes of The Cake Boss, but my thoughts are all about food at the moment. There are many novels whose titles either involve a food or the act of eating. Here are a few of my favourites:

Susan Jedren is a former teamster who delivered snack cakes in New York City, so she know of what she speaks in Let ‘em Eat Cake. Her character, Anna, is a 24 years single mother struggling to make ends meet in the Big Apple. From what I have heard of NYC it is especially difficult for that to happen. Anna takes a job as a delivery person for HomeMade Cakes. She has to put up with a boss who hates women and struggles to keep the storekeepers from squeezing her "buns". How she survives is a amusing read.

Admittedly I am not a huge fan of short stories. I get caught up in a story and then it is finished! Novellas are a different kettle of fish, I can sink my teeth into them (pun intended). With My Father Took a Cake to France by Cynthia Flood. I experienced a little of both feelings. This title story of this collection of short stories won the Journey prize in 1990.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender. While I loved the prose in this novel, I did have trouble swallowing the plot. On the eve of her ninth birthday Rose Edelstein discovers that she can taste her mother’s emotions in her homemade cake. This is not limited to just her mother's cooking, but to all food. She ends up preferring factory food for the sterileness of it. Rose’s unique gift was plausible in my mind but that of her brother were completely unbelievable. The ending was not satisfying for me but I did enjoy the journey to the end.

There’s Cake in My Future by Kim Gruenenfelder. I am a superstitious person, to a point. There are certain little traditions that I enjoy, the placing of an object in a cake for luck. Gruenenfelder uses this as the premise for this novel. Superstitious bride to be, Nicole, places silver charms in her bridal shower cake. Each charm has a different meaning and she rigged the cake so that they would go to specific people. Nicole does everything she can to control who gets what . But when the cake gets moved and the luck gets placed with different people than who Nicole intended it for. Can you change people’s fortune or does Lady Luck play her own games?

To throw one pie book into the mix, I will add one of my favourite books of the past few years, Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrows. For those who missed this gem when it was released in 2008 it is worth a visit. In January of 1946 Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a stranger, a founding member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Thus begins the wonderful tale of mystery, love , friendship, and community.

So hopefully there is one or two of these novels that will whet your appetite and make you want to gobble them up.

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