Thursday, March 24, 2016

Nothing says romance like food porn in Milwaukee: The Coincidence of Coconut Cake, by Amy Reichert


The Coincidence of Coconut Cake
Amy E. Reichert
Gallery Books, 2015
9781501100710


Oh hey you guys. Sorry I disappeared for most of this year so far. Please allow me to introduce you to a book (and recipe) that I sometimes wish there were more like: a pseudo-realistic contemporary romance novel about food with plausible things happening to plausible people and just enough shenanigans to remain in the trope.  Did you get that?  A sort of realistic romance novel...about FOOD.  Not to be trite, but the publisher had me at hello.  It was no coincidence that this part time lover of smutty books and full time lover of food was  going to make a love match with this hot ticket, The Coincidence of Coconut Cake.


Here is my rough summary:
On the day she catches her cheating boyfriend at it, a down on her luck Milwaukee chef gets a bad review by a snarky Brit food critic (ten points to Gryffindor already), who then falls for her after a chance encounter over beers at a bar leads to Lou giving Al a tour of the city's best eateries and breweries.  Al pieces together who Lou is, but Lou has no idea that Al is the critic who single handedly caused her restaurant to fold, which gets increasingly more complicated when feelings start to develop...but what could go wrong in the land of milk, honey, beer, and cheese?  


Here is the publisher’s way better jacket flap:
In downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Lou works tirelessly to build her beloved yet struggling French restaurant, Luella’s, into a success. She cheerfully balances her demanding business and even more demanding fiancĂ©…until the morning she discovers him in the buff—with an intern.
Witty yet gruff British transplant Al is keeping himself employed and entertained by writing scathing reviews of local restaurants in the Milwaukee newspaper under a pseudonym. When an anonymous tip sends him to Luella’s, little does he know he’s arrived on the worst day of the chef’s life. The review practically writes itself: underdone fish, scorched sauce, distracted service—he unleashes his worst.
The day that Al’s mean-spirited review of Luella’s runs, the two cross paths in a pub: Lou drowning her sorrows, and Al celebrating his latest publication. As they chat, Al playfully challenges Lou to show him the best of Milwaukee and she’s game—but only if they never discuss work, which Al readily agrees to. As they explore the city’s local delicacies and their mutual attraction, Lou’s restaurant faces closure, while Al’s column gains popularity. It’s only a matter of time before the two fall in love…but when the truth comes out, can Lou overlook the past to chase her future?
Set in the lovely, quirky heart of Wisconsin, The Coincidence of Coconut Cake is a charming love story of misunderstandings, mistaken identity, and the power of food to bring two people together.


This one came to me in a fit of curiosity.  I belong to NetGalley, but as of spring 2015, I hadn’t really explored much in their offering beyond what is available in the children’s and young adult category.  After a few tipples of wine, I took a perusal of what was what.  It was, as anticipated, mostly amusing.  Tens of dozens of bodice rippers, a horde of vampwolfviking hulksmashing for lurve, a few Amish rumpshrimgerings in the fields, a poke or two by a gay firefighter/marine/SEAL, a few horrifying things (I’m looking at you, presumable autism soft porn), and...The Coincidence of Coconut Cake.  I’d done the bodice rippers and vampwolfvikings (who can resist a cover that promises to be a Case of the Terribles?), but I was admittedly in need of a snack, and the cover of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake was tantalizing, along with the plot.  It was either going to be horrifyingly bad, or alarming good.

Basically, I knew within seconds it was the later. Sure it is silly at times.  SURE.  It’s a romance novel, dudettes (yeah, shocker, this one is recommended primarily for the ladies who like them some cooking amongst us).  Al is predictably British.  Don’t all British guys go to like...Eton, have their Marc Darcy moments, and use their accent as a sexy weapon?  And also write food columns in Milwaukee?  If so, please send one my way yesterday, Mother Britannia. And don’t all normal healthy relationships start on a hidden truth/lie?  But perhaps the greatest part aside from the bounty of silly lurvvve is the bounty of delicious sounding things the characters talk about, make, or eat.  It gets serious bonus points for possessing a recipe that makes a seriously delicious coconut cake.   How do I know it is delicious?  Because I made it, fool.  And it was just as delicious as this book.  


This is a delicious book, and it is a recipe for a fun beach/vacation/braincation book if you find yourself in need of an escape.  If you find yourself reading this and thinking “Gosh, I wish I could mix this more often, this food and softladyliterary porn, because two birds one stone,” well friends, let me take the opportunity to recommend Liza Palmer’s Seeing Me Naked.  I was never able to ascertain what the title has to do with the content (LA pastry chef with celeb author dad and brother is in a rut...until a basketball coach wins private cooking lessons at a charity auction...andsothen), because nobody wants their chef naked when doing cooking activities, but gosh darnit was it super fun!  Get after both of these, team.  They are best enjoyed with a tasty snack.  Perhaps a slice of coconut cake?  

1 comment:

Sham Monk said...

Gorgeous place, I just went here with someone. The place itself was beautiful and spacious, the seats were comfortable and wide. From where I was sitting at least, the views were great. I think the music at venue Houston really did a great job of filling up the space.

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