Amanda Hesser's COOKING FOR MR. LATTE tells the tale of her
courtship with Tad Friend and provides the readers with many yummy
recipes to boot.
Set up on a blind date, Amanda and Tad go out to dinner. Amanda, a
New York City food columnist who reviews gourmet restaurants for a
living, almost writes off Tad when he orders a latte after his
meal, a cardinal sin in her eyes. She decides though that Tad is
trainable on the food issue, and the two begin a
The book details their first meeting of each other's family and
friends, their decision to move in together, and their engagement
--- all culminating in their wedding. Amanda is territorial about
her kitchen, which sort of symbolizes her independence and
individuality. Tad is usually understanding about this and will
tell Amanda if she is getting out of hand. Eventually, she learns
that the kitchen has room enough for both of them.
The chapters are short, almost as if Amanda reprinted her food
columns into a book, ala Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the
City. However, these chapters flow nicely into each other. They
tell a chronological story of the progression of Amanda and Tad's
relationship; each chapter seems to be the next logical step in a
relationship. In addition, several recipes of the dishes that
Amanda mentions follow each chapter. This can make readers very
hungry, inspire them to cook, or hope that a private chef comes
Food is central to Amanda's life: it provides comfort, gives her
confidence, and connects her to family and friends. When she is
upset or lonely, she cooks. She actually has meals in her head for
when she's depressed or when Tad is out of town and she is on her
own. She also uses food to impress Tad's family and friends so they
will like her; to Amanda, food is a way of winning people over.
Cooking is also somewhat ritualistic for Amanda and her circle of
people. She cooks Sunday dinners with a friend, teaches another
friend how to cook, and when she visits her energetic grandmother,
the kitchen is the first stop.
Food is central to the book as well. Readers may find themselves
craving gourmet food that they had never even heard of before
reading this book. However, the descriptions are so vivid that
readers will feel like a food expert too by the end. This book will
especially appeal to women in their twenties and early thirties who
are either still looking for or have already found their Mr. Right.
It is a romantic story of two nice people getting together. Food
fans will enjoy this book for the luscious details of the feasts
and the vast collection of recipes anthologized throughout.
COOKING FOR MR. LATTE will leave readers with a warm, fuzzy
feeling. They will genuinely like Amanda and Tad, and will be
satisfied when they're finished reading the book, both from the
romance and the "food" for thought.
Reviewed by Melissa Martin on January 21, 2011