Augusta "Gus" Simpson was widowed with two daughters at a young age. After some struggling, she found she was able to turn her love of cooking into a career. Now she has had her own television show, Cooking With Gusto!, on the Cooking Channel for the past 12 years. She has built a nice nest egg and put her daughters, Amy and Sabrina, through college. They live in an apartment in the City while she lives in a 19-room mansion in Rye. Her television show is filmed in her home every week.
She is turning 50. Her ratings have been dropping. The Cooking Channel may drop her show. Instead, it is revamped. Suddenly she is sharing her television show with Carmen Vega, a former Miss Spain who is determined to become famous. The only thing they have in common is a love of cooking. But neither of them see that. All they see are their differences.
Their new show becomes a family affair. Amy and Sabrina, who are opposites despite being sisters, are drafted to appear on the live show. Troy, Sabrina's ex-boyfriend, is invited because he owns a fruit vending company that Gus supports. Oliver, Carmen's fellow culinary school student and ex-Wall Street mogul becomes their production sous chef. Gus' reclusive neighbor, Hanna, is pulled in to work behind the scenes.
The tensions on the set are rife. Carmen is ready to do anything to earn fame so she can have her own show and own her own restaurant. Gus wants to keep her financial security and help her daughters. Amy wants to be an adult who doesn't have to care for her younger sister. Sabrina wants a relationship where she feels valued. Hanna wants to continue hiding from the world. Troy wants Sabrina back in his life. Oliver wants to make a success of his second career. Yet they are on live television and must make a success of the show so it is renewed.
Comfort Food sounded promising; it never quite comes together. It flows; it has the conflicts; it has the romance. But it never pulled me in. It's all right but nothing special. I've heard good things about Kate Jacobs' earlier book, The Friday Night Knitting Club. This one came available on audio so I thought I'd try it. I wasn't impressed.
It's all right and is readable. Comfort Food is a reminder that the world of television is always competitive. But more, it is the story of an older woman finding herself again once she has a chance to get past her responsibilities. It's charming, quiet, and forgettable.
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These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
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