Monday, November 2, 2009

Last Bite by Nancy Verde Barr

I just closed the back cover on a really sweet novel. "Last Bite, A Culinary Romance" by Nancy Verde Barr.  Ms Barr was, at one time, the culinary producer for "Good Morning America and an executive chef for Julia Child.   She uses her experience and memories from morning TV, Julia Child and her family to create a delicious  romantic romp around the world.
The plot of this book is the romance between Casey Costello, an executive chef for morning show "Morning in America" and Danny O'Shea, the sexy chef owner of a hot NYC restaurant.  Their romance moves from the kitchens of their respective workplaces to kitschy, rustic locales in Tuscany.
I think I won't go much further into the plot because the plot is very loose and extraneous.  What makes this book so special is how I related to the characters.  Casey is half Irish and half Italian.  She has the crazy, lovable family down perfect. The family comes together every Sunday after church for dinner.  They drive Casey crazy but she wouldn't be who she is if not for the strong Italian women who raised her. No problem is so great that a cannoli can't fix it.  As they gather to make the gravy, meatballs and braciolle they discuss the family and resolve all the problems in their world.  I especially liked Aunt Alfonsa who was caught stealing change from the poor box to cover her gambling debt.  She got involved with her bookie through her weekly church bingo game.Over cannolli and coffee the family convinced the Father to just ban her from the church but not send her to jail! 
Danny is a sexy Irish transplant who worked his way through culinary school in Dublin to move to New York and take the restaurant world by storm.  While he is as hot as a guy can get he is also pretty human.  I liked that he was seriously interested in Casey but instead of grabbing her and sweeping her off to bed immediately, he wooed her and respected her issues coming out of a bad relationship.  Okay, maybe that makes him too good to be true.
The supporting cast was funny and interesting but the one thing that tied this story together wasn't what was happening with the people but what was happening with the food.  The people were really not all THAT special but when added with a great time cooking, eating, and shopping food they become fun, sexy and interesting.
This is a fluffy, take to the beach, sit in the airport, or doctor's office read.  Better yet, wait for a snowy day, make a savory stew or comforting chowder and snuggle up to "The Last Bite".  It will fill you up!

Sunday, November 1, 2009