Foodie Book Friday: Girl Cook

"Chick lit" meets the chef scene in Hannah McCouch's 2003 novel Girl Cook. The author knows of what she speaks, as besides being a writer, she is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu and has worked as a cook in many restaurants, just like her heroine, Layla. Layla is longing for culinary success, but must fight her way through the misogyny of the restaurant world in order to get it. Her tale starts, "I've been tossing mesclun greens in the garde-manger at Tacoma for the past nine months, and I'm about to lose my sh*t. I've been begging the chef to let me give the Caesar salads and cold beet couscous specials a rest and actually cook something for once." The food talk is completely satisfying - suffice it to say, the description of the mashed potatoes (pages 90-91 in the paperback edition) changed the way I'll cook them forever. But there's more to the story than food, there's the problem Layla's love life (or lack thereof). Part romantic comedy, part inside-look into the world of professional cooking, if you like both, you'll love this quick read.

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