My new novel, The Secret of Everything, hits the shelves this week. At the heart of the book is a restaurant called The 100 Breakfasts Café (which I really wanted to be the title for a long stretch). One of my favorite review quotes so far is from PW, who said the book shows “a talent for persuasively portraying men, women and children and a definite reverence for cooking”.
“A definite reverence for cooking.” It thrilled me, because this business of food and fiction, stories risen from the table, is something I take pretty seriously.
This subject has been on my mind because not long ago, I heard a writer comment that recipes are de rigueur these days in women’s fiction. Her attitude was that one might as well include them—it’s what one does. The offhandedness, that slightly dismissive tone, the idea that food in fiction is a trend that will pass, pained me.
Perhaps I’m being overly sensitive. It’s true that food in fiction is a trend at the moment. Food in our culture is a trend. Over the past decade or so, Americans have awakened to the pleasures the plate, to the seduction of the vine, and have fallen in love with the idea—if not the actual act—of cooking. Chefs have become celebrities, and there is an entire television network devoted to food.
Naturally, commercial fiction follows the curve of cultural passions. [Read more…]