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            Book Lover's Cookbook
            By: Janet Kay Jensen and Shaunda Kennedy Wenger

            Non-fiction (cooking)
            Reviewed By: Carrie Byrd
            Review Date: 1/30/04

            Previously mentioned in our recommended reading section, I decided, upon closer inspection that this book deserved a full review. This heavy-duty cookbook is a lot of fun, even if you never set foot into the kitchen. Filled with snippets of stories, and quirky quotes, the Book Loverís Cookbook will appeal to readerís who donít cook almost as strongly as to readerís who do. I admit, sometimes I donít want to put down whatever Iím reading long enough to fix a meal, but this book might introduce a level of compromise for those who, like me, have a hard time admitting that food is as necessary as books.

            What can you say about this book? The authors suggest that food, as such an integral part of our lives, brings us closer to characters in our favorite books. Itís hard to deny the influence that food has on us. The smell of green beans simmering on the back of those stove still takes me back to summers in Ohio.

            Food is something of an insidious force in our lives. It fills the pages of books in the most unexpected ways. Diane Mott Davidson has made a place for herself writing mysteries that revolve around food. In fact, a whole sub genre of ďfood mysteriesĒ has developed. Most books arenít so obvious about their associations with food, however. It often seems more incidentally, they sit down to a meal of x which gives them the opportunity to discuss y which leads to the next plot point. But as they linger over their meal, the characters are doing the most human thing possible, and we relate to that. This cookbook reaches out to that relationship, and wisely taps into it, letting us share the same meal as those characters.

            The book itself is a fantastic collection of recipes that range from Oscar Wilde to Fannie Flag, from the classic to the modern. The recipes are clearly written, and accompanied with clever quotes and explanations for the origin of the recipe. Some recipes were invented by the authors, drawn from clues in the stories they came from. Others were pulled directly from the text they appeared in. All of them are interesting.