Summary and book reviews of Dinner with Edward by Isabel Vincent

Dinner with Edward

A Story of an Unexpected Friendship

by Isabel Vincent

Dinner with Edward by Isabel Vincent X
Dinner with Edward by Isabel Vincent
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    Readers' Opinion:

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  • First Published:
    May 2016, 224 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2017, 224 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Rebecca Foster

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About this Book

Book Summary

A nonagenarian and a recently divorced reporter meet weekly for dinner, and the discussion ranges from the importance of beauty, to living after loss, to the power of love to redeem and renew, to how to make a succulent duck breast.

When Isabel meets Edward, both are at a crossroads: he wants to follow his late wife to the grave, and she is ready to give up on love. Thinking she is merely helping Edward's daughter - who lives far away and asked her to check in on her nonagenarian dad in New York - Isabel has no idea that the man in the kitchen baking the sublime roast chicken and light-as-air apricot soufflé will end up changing her life.

As Edward and Isabel meet weekly for the glorious dinners that Edward prepares, he shares so much more than his recipes for apple galette or the perfect martini, or even his tips for deboning poultry. Edward is teaching Isabel the luxury of slowing down and taking the time to think through everything she does, to deconstruct her own life, cutting it back to the bone and examining the guts, no matter how messy that proves to be.

Dinner with Edward is a book about sorrow and joy, love and nourishment, and about how dinner with a friend can, in the words of M. F. K. Fisher, "sustain us against the hungers of the world."

Christmas Eve Dinner

I heard about the promise Edward made to his dying wife long before I met him.

Valerie, Edward's daughter and one of my oldest friends, related the story when I saw her shortly after her mother's death. Paula, who was just shy of her ninety-fifth birthday and had been bedridden and drifting in and out of consciousness for days, sat up in bed specifically to address her beloved husband.

"Listen to me, Eddie." Paula spoke firmly, emphatically. "You can't come with me now. It would be the end of our little family."

Paula knew that Edward had already made the decision that he wanted to die rather than face life without her. That was wrong, she said, and exhorted him now to keep on living. When he finally agreed, she serenaded the man she had been married to for sixty-nine years. She began with "My Funny Valentine" and segued into half-remembered lyrics of Broadway show tunes and ballads that topped the charts in the 1940s and 1950s, when they ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Despite each chapter opening with a menu, there are no recipes here per se, just a few pointers regarding pastry and scrambled eggs. This is a bit of a disappointment given that "foodoirs" (memoirs about food, especially ones that include recipes) are among my favorite things to read. I also wish the book could have been a little bit longer. Still, it is a delightful blend of memoir, biography, food writing, and life lessons. Like Mitch Albom's Tuesdays with Morrie, it's a book that makes you think about the things that matter in life: love, family, and making the most of the time you have.   (Reviewed by Rebecca Foster).

Full Review (647 words).

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Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Food lovers will swoon from the first chapter ... It is easy to fall deeply for Edward's tender heart as Vincent learns how he has savored his life, and over time, begins to create a life that's more inviting and full for herself. Readers will finish the book satisfied, yet wanting more

Library Journal

This is a book full of life lessons, a reminder that no matter how old we grow, we still have much to share, and to learn.

Kirkus Reviews

Vincent fills her pages with accounts of her life and Edward's past, but for readers, the narrative becomes lighter on epiphany than calories.

Booklist

Starred Review. Vincent's descriptions of food, written with the sumptuous detail of a restaurant review, are something to savor, as are her recollections of Edward himself and the way he dedicated himself to living after having lost the love of his life.

Author Blurb George Hodgman, New York Times bestselling author of Bettyville: A Memoir
Although the food (I am partial to the roast chicken, lovingly described) is excellent, it is the charming, sweet, and effortlessly wise company that makes this sweet read a charming way to pass a day.

Author Blurb Susannah Cahalan, bestselling author of Brain on Fire
Over mouthwatering dinners, an odd couple ... engage in a series of discussions, from the importance of beauty, to living after loss, to the power of love to redeem and renew, to how to make a succulent duck breast. I loved every moment of this book.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

Tips for Making the Perfect Pie Crust

In Dinner with Edward, Isabel Vincent's memoir, Edward's two tricks for making a perfect pastry crust are crushed ice and a mixture of grated butter and fresh lard (from his Queens butcher), all kept as cold as possible. What are other chefs' top tips? The choice of fat(s) and their proportions are the main differences.

Perfect flaky pie crust Julia Child's shortcrust pastry recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking suggests butter to (vegetable) lard in a ratio of 3:1. One should use chilled butter and cold water and work as quickly as possible. "The mixing of pastry should be accomplished rapidly, particularly if your kitchen is warm, so that the butter will soften as little as possible."

The Betty Crocker cookbook (2000 edition) calls for ...

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