For a Happy Stomach
'Tis the season for great food -- and lots of it. But here's a low-cal alternative: novels that serve up marvelous meals, with no guilt attached. Let me know what dish you'd add to this literary buffet.
1. Joanne Harris's "Chocolat," about a single mother who moves into a repressed French village. It contains the most sensual descriptions of chocolate I've ever read.
2. Laura Esquivel's "Like Water for Chocolate." Okay, so it's obvious what my weakness is.... But there's more than just sweets in this charming Mexican novel: Each of the 12 chapters begins with a recipe. (Esquivel's book was a flop before her husband made a beautiful film of it.)
3. Diana Abu-Jaber's "Crescent" is a refreshing mix of Iraqi and American ingredients. Best of all, this delightful romance comes with a marvelous side order of Arabic cooking.
4. John Lancaster's "A Debt to Pleasure." The narrator of this deliciously wicked novel travels the world to prepare the quintessential food book, but beware: This gourmand has some deadly tastes.
5. Phyllis Richman's "The Butter Did It." This is the first murder mystery in a witty series by the Post's legendary restaurant critic. Her heroine, Chas Wheatley, can detect the subtlest flaws in a gourmet meal or a suspect's alibi.
-- Ron Charles
By Christian Pelusi |
December 7, 2007; 7:20 AM ET
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