Friday, June 14, 2013

Recommended Reads: A Girls' Guide to Love and Supper Clubs

 The Girls' Guide to Love and Supper Clubs by Dana Bate.
Call No.: FICTION BATE (Adult New Fiction)
Find it in the catalog!

Foodies looking for a funny and light beach read will love this new book by Dana Bate.   It follows 26-year-old Hannah Sugarman who seemingly has her life together.  She's a researcher at a Washington think tank (the Institute for Research and Discourse aka. NIRD) and shares a swanky D.C. pad with her politically ambitious boyfriend Adam.  However, Hannah despises her job and desperately wants to work as a chef, but her parents and boyfriend don't take her cooking ambitions seriously.  Also, her boyfriend is getting tired of her occasional big mouth and general way of being.  

When Adam dumps Hannah, she rents a garden apartment from Blake, a pirate talking aspiring politician whose frequently away on business.  Finally on her own and with encouragement from her friend Rachel, she decides to finally start an underground supper club (an unlicensed restaurant run out of someone's home).  But when her place floods before the first meeting, she decides to use her out-of-town landlord's apartment and barely used gourmet kitchen without his knowledge.  The supper club takes off and Hannah continues to use Blake's pad on the sly; a precarious arrangement as Blake is running for a local office on the platform to crack down on the illegal supper clubs.  Obviously at some point this is going to blow up in Hannah's face.  But in the meantime, she becomes increasingly good friends with Blake, who encourages her culinary aspirations. 

Hannah makes a lot of poor decisions in this book, mostly because of her desire to live up to other people's expectations, and she wrestles with guilt over using her landlord's apartment for her semi-illegal business venture.  But in spite of her mistakes, Hannah eventually learns to take charge of her own life.  This is a great book about growing up and finding your own path.   Being from the northern Illinois, I had an entirely different idea of supper clubs, a term which also refers to rural(ish) Midwest dining establishments with cocktails and very large portions.  However, it was interesting to learn about these clandestine dining clubs and the food sounded a lot better!  There are lots of drool worthy dishes in this book including a grilled cheese sandwich with smoked gouda and caramelized Asian pears and deep fried turkey leg confit.  Recipes are included at the end of the book.