Tag Archives: Foodie Culture

Review: Sourdough

Sourdough
By Robin Sloan
MCD, 9780374203108, September 2017, 272pp.

The Short of It:

Food and technology collide in what Amazon calls a “paranormal, urban fantasy.”

The Rest of It:

Lois is a software engineer in San Francisco. Her department focuses on robotics, specifically robotic arms and what they can do. Although the work they are doing is groundbreaking, her department is stumped by the simple task of cracking an egg. To date, they’ve not been able to crack that code. Pun intended. The arm applies too much pressure or not enough.

Each day Lois goes to work to ponder this issue. Each day she returns home to an empty apartment. Until one day she orders from a restaurant that delivers the spiciest of soups and the most delicious sourdough bread. This soup and bread affects Lois in a deeply personal way. How can food make a person feel so good?

All is great until the two brothers who run the delivery service tell her that they are closing up shop to move to another country. Seeing the desperation in her face, they share their sourdough starter with her.

What Lois produces through trial and error is also magical in its own way. Each loaf contains a face, unlike any other loaf. Even though she is not a baker, she finds herself newly motivated to share this bread with the world.

You may remember Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Well, Sourdough is written by the same author. It’s very similar in feel so if you liked Mr. Penumbra then you will enjoy this one. As an urban fantasy, it’s quite fun but there is one part of the story that I had difficulty wrapping my brain around. Nevertheless, it was still a fun, easy read. I think it provides a little more to discuss that you would think.

I will caution you. If you read this, you will crave sourdough bread. This was torture for my Celiac self. So be sure to have some on hand with a thick slab of butter at the ready.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

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Review: Sweetbitter

Sweetbitter

Sweetbitter
By Stephanie Danler
Knopf Publishing Group, Hardcover, 9781101875940, May 2016, 368pp.

The Short of It:

An apt title for a story that pushes you away as much as it pulls you in.

The Rest of It:

Youth. Remember it? Maybe it’s been awhile since you’ve felt that elusive, fleeting happiness that percolates ever so gently when it comes to love. Well, this story captures it beautifully.

New York City is the backdrop for this novel and it’s dizzying in its perfection. Even with the bug infestations and the rats running through the street, Tess finds it to be magical in its own way.

“It’s ludicrous for anyone to live here,” she thinks, at the same time, she thinks, “I can never leave.” ~Sweetbitter

Tess moves to the city with the hopes to reinvent herself. In her twenties, it’s as if the world is there for the taking so when she lands a job at a well-known restaurant, she quickly falls into the routine of the place which includes many players, much drama and Jake, the bartender she’s completely obsessed with.

Tess is a work-in-progress. She’s green when it comes to love and war and she takes a beating both professionally and personally. Her eagerness to learn and her willingness to take it all in makes her vulnerable and somewhat innocent. Often times I found myself wanting to shake her a little but as I approached the final pages, I realized just how masterful the writing was.

There’s so much to love about this book. There’s food and wine and plenty of flawed, interesting people and Danler absolutely nailed the restaurant industry. I suppose it’s a coming-of-age story but it’s sophisticated, gritty and brutal in its honesty. I highly recommend it.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.