The stories of two sisters, who are as different from each other as they can be, are the threads that weave together this multi-themed novel about love, loss, and family ties. What makes The Cookbook Collector
unusual is not that it follows several plotlines, but that the plotlines arelike the sistersso vastly different from each other. The fact that Goodman is able to tie them together is to her credit.
The chapters focusing on elder sister Emily, who is running a start-up tech company in Boston during the dot-com era, are fast-paced, mirroring Emily's high energy lifestyle and the rocket-fast rise of her data security business. Emily has lived a pressured life since the death of their mother when she and Jess were young, and has grown up practical, protective, and overly critical of Jess. Emily is financially successful now, but she...
Beyond the Book
In The Cookbook Collector
, George purchases a large collection of old and rare cookbooks - all of which exist in real-life.
Cookbooks have a wonderful and interesting history. The earliest surviving recipe collection in English are the 200 or so recipes known as the The Forme of Cury ("The Rules of Cookery") which is believed to have been written on vellum around 1390 by King Richard II's chefs, but was not put into book form until 1790. Below is a sample recipe from that volume, along with my own modern translation:
Caboches in Potage (Cabbage Soup)