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Cookbook Reviews

Cooking for Love: A Novel With Recipes

by Sharon Boorstin

iUniverse, 288 pp., $17.95 (paper)

Miriam Levy ghostwrites cookbooks for Hollywood stars, is slightly overweight and under-groomed, and has a jaundiced world-view and self-deprecating sense of humor. Her best friend Kate is all that Miriam is not: rich, glamorous, assured, and up for adventure. Together, they take off for Kuala Lumpur, Kate in pursuit of a long-lost love and dragging Miriam along for moral support, with Miriam reluctantly agreeing to be dragged away from her vaguely unsatisfying work and unappreciative family. Following a slow start, this self-published novel (apparently based on a true story), evolves into the mildly hilarious romp of two midlife girlfriends through Malaysia – Thelma & Louise 20 years later and on the opposite side of the globe. If 60 is the new 40, then these fortysomethings are acting out a better-funded version of the unfettered traveling adventures that were once strictly the domain of carefree youth. Way outside their Southern California comfort zone, Miriam and Kate explore new territory (in all senses of the word), lose some inhibitions, and, in the wisdom of their years, laugh at themselves in the process. Their earnestly frank discussions of sex and food, love and men, and the vagaries of bodies no longer young are both entertaining and sweet. As it should be, eating is an integral part of the adventure, and Boorstin includes a recipe at the end of each chapter. From Grandma Estelle's traditional cheesecake to Iron Chef tzimmes and Malaysian latkes, Miriam integrates the new food she encounters into her Hollywood-Jewish cooking style.

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