Sunday, January 7, 2018

The Promise Kitchen by Peggy Lampman ~ 2016

Two Women - Two Worlds - One table

Author: Peggy Lampman
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (August 16, 2016)
Publication: August 16, 2016
Pages: 396
Language: English
Cover design: Laura Klynstra
Cover photography: Jonathan Pollock / Getty Images
Author photographer: Close friends

"This book was provided by Peggy Lampman in exchange for my honest review alongside my proffered thank-you for asking."

3 Stars

Peggy Lampman
Peggy Lampman brings to the table a heart-warming tale of two southern ladies,  Shelby Preston and Mallory Lakes, who couldn't be more different from one another.

The tale is told in two parts with alternating chapters from Shelby, Mallory, and Miss Ann.  You will see how they get together through their love of food.

Shelby, who feels constricted in her poverty stricken life in a suburban town of Coryville, Georgia, dreams of becoming a chef.  A job that will bring a better life for herself and her daughter, Miss Ann.

Mallory, a newspaper food columnist in Atlanta is trying to pick up some threads of a breakup and tries to hold on to her job.  There are major changes at work, so she gets involved in writing a daily blog on the growing farm-to-table movement.

The tale covers a year's time of insightful thought, love, friendship, and of course - food.

A very slow read for me, where at times, I had a hard time getting back to it.  I did not feel the atmosphere I was expecting.  No smell from the peach trees, nor the stink from the pigs, nor any flower in bloom.  The setting was there, yet, not in the detail where it actually made me feel I was with the characters.

Repetitiveness was one issue for me.  Example - How many times, and in different ways, is it necessary to describe the jackalope's eyes?  I get Shelby's point on how she feels about that stuffed jackalope and his eyes 'following her', from the first couple of times.  Maybe after distinguishing Shelby's view of the jackalope, mention that issue with a bit less.  The reader knows all ready how that affects her.

This tale I felt was told to me instead of making me disappear into a fictional world that I need to have in order to escape reality for a moment.  I tried to feel with the characters - their heartbreaks, their joys - it wasn't there for me.  I read the words, but, wasn't evocative enough to  'being there'.

Inside the covers, the story was chock full of issues - racism, discrimination against Mexican immigrants, life of a single mom, spouses who cheat, there's bullying and prescription drug abuse, drinking and driving, drug dealers, the organic farm-to-table movement.  Folks, that is just a handful of the issues that are covered.  Hey, that's fine if you want to throw those issues in, but, cover them with how the characters have closure on them.  A sound closure.

I felt this tale had so much going on, yet, not enough 'meat' going on.

The ending came and my reflection was of love and hope, learning to forgive others, endearing friendship, how tight families are, and dedication to your offspring.

I will enjoy these recipes that are in the back - man, some of those sound so delicious - Chicken Gumbo Ya-Ya, Blue Cheese Chicken Salad Stuffed in Endive, Fried Green Tomato BLT, Bacon and Beer-Braised Brats with Apple Kraut - to name just a few folks.  Plenty more from where these came from, so, get hungry!

I would recommend this read if you are looking for a recipe book with a story.

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Here's where you can get your fingers on The Promise Kitchen:
  •  Amazon ~ Kindle $3.99 ~ Paperback $9.70 USD

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About the author  ~

 Peggy Lampman is the award-winning, best-selling author of THE PROMISE KITCHEN and THE WELCOME HOME DINER, both published by Lake Union Publishing.  She was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, summa cum laude, from the University of Michigan.  After graduating, she moved to New York City, where she worked as a copywriter and photographer for Hill and Knowlton, a public relations firm.

She moved back to Ann Arbor, her college town, and opened up a specialty foods store, The Back Alley Gourmet.  After selling the store, she wrote under a weekly food byline in The Ann Arbor News and MLive.

Her free time is spent herding kids and indulging in her barbecue addiction with Big Green Egg cult cookery.

Connect with Peggy

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 The Welcome Home Diner: A Novel

Betting on the city of Detroit’s eventual comeback, cousins Addie and Samantha decide to risk it all on an affordable new house and a culinary career that starts with renovating a vintage diner in a depressed area of town.  There’s just one little snag in their vision.

Angus, a weary, beloved local, is strongly opposed to his neighborhood’s gentrification—and his concerns reflect the suspicion of the community.  Shocked by their reception, Addie and Samantha begin to have second thoughts.

As the long hours, problematic love interests, and underhanded pressures mount, the two women find themselves increasingly at odds, and soon their problems threaten everything they’ve worked for.  If they are going to realize their dreams, Addie and Samantha must focus on rebuilding their relationship.  But will the neighborhood open their hearts to welcome them home?

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