March’s selection is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

Hang on for the ride: With characteristic poetry and pluck, Barbara Kingsolver and her family sweep readers along on their journey away from the industrial-food pipeline to a rural life in which they vow to buy only food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. Their good-humored search yields surprising discoveries about turkey sex life and overly zealous zucchini plants, en route to a food culture that’s better for the neighborhood and also better on the table. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle makes a passionate case for putting the kitchen back at the center of family life and diversified farms at the center of the American diet.

Purchase of the book from the shop is not required, but we do have copies available. RSVP’s are helpful so we know who to expect.

February’s selection is Jello-O Girls by Allie Rowbottom 

In 1899, Allie Rowbottom’s extended family bought the patent to Jell-O for $450. The sale would turn out to be one of the most profitable business deals n American History, and the generations that followed enjoyed immense privilege- but they were also haunted by suicides, cancer, alcoholism, and mysterious ailments.

More than 100 years later, Rowbottom’s mother, Mary, began obsessively researching her family’s past, determined to understand and combat what she had come to consider the “Jell-O curse”. Before she died, Mary passed her research along to Rowbottom, in the hope that her daughter might someday write what she could not. Jell-O Girls is the liberation of that story.

A gripping examination of the dark side of an iconic American product and a moving portrait of the women who lived in its long shadow, Jell-O Girls is a family history, a feminist history, and a story of motherhood, love, and loss.

Purchase of the book from the shop is not required, but we do have copies available. RSVP’s are helpful so we know who to expect.

January’s selection is The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy Reichert

You’ve Got Mail meets How to Eat a Cupcake in this delightful novel about a talented chef and the food critic who brings down her restaurant—whose chance meeting turns into a delectable romance of mistaken identities.

In downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Lou works tirelessly to build her beloved yet struggling French restaurant, Luella’s, into a success. She cheerfully balances her demanding business and even more demanding fiancé…until the morning she discovers him in the buff—with an intern.

Witty yet gruff British transplant Al is keeping himself employed and entertained by writing scathing reviews of local restaurants in the Milwaukee newspaper under a pseudonym. When an anonymous tip sends him to Luella’s, little does he know he’s arrived on the worst day of the chef’s life. The review practically writes itself: underdone fish, scorched sauce, distracted service—he unleashes his worst.

The day that Al’s mean-spirited review of Luella’s runs, the two cross paths in a pub: Lou drowning her sorrows, and Al celebrating his latest publication. As they chat, Al playfully challenges Lou to show him the best of Milwaukee and she’s game—but only if they never discuss work, which Al readily agrees to. As they explore the city’s local delicacies and their mutual attraction, Lou’s restaurant faces closure, while Al’s column gains popularity. It’s only a matter of time before the two fall in love…but when the truth comes out, can Lou overlook the past to chase her future?

Set in the lovely, quirky heart of Wisconsin, The Coincidence of Coconut Cake is a charming love story of misunderstandings, mistaken identity, and the power of food to bring two people together.

 

Purchase of the book from the shop is not required, but we do have copies available. RSVP’s are helpful so we know who to expect.

October’s selection is Kitchen Yarns by Ann Hood.

Notes on Life, love, and food, this is a heartwarming collection of essays and recipes that are sure to nourish the body and the soul.

Purchase of the book from the shop is not required, but we do have copies available. RSVP’s are helpful so we know who to expect.

October’s selection is The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister

Once a month on a Monday night, eight students gather in Lillian’s restaurant for a cooking class. Among them is Claire, a young woman coming to terms with her new identity as a mother; Tom, a lawyer whose life has been overturned by loss; Antonia, an Italian kitchen designer adapting to life in America; and Carl and Helen, a long-married couple whose union contains surprises the rest of the class would never suspect.

The students have come to learn the art behind Lillian’s soulful dishes, but it soon becomes clear that each seeks a recipe for something beyond the kitchen. And soon they are transformed by the aromas, flavors, and textures of what they create….

Purchase of the book from the shop is not required, but we do have copies available. RSVP’s are helpful so we know who to expect.

Our cozy bookshop is the perfect backdrop for a fun game night, and we’re not going to disappoint this month with a murder mystery! You’re invited to Heathcliff Manor, where Lord Heathcliff is hosting a dinner party in honour of his new bride. All the usual suspects are here – the cook, the professor, the butler – as well as some unusual ones. But before anyone can toast his happiness, Lord Heathcliff is killed with the candlestick in the pool room. Find out who snuffed out his candle.

We’ll have warm drinks and snacks on hand for a fun evening! Please note-we must cap the evening to 8 registrations, so register early to secure your spot as a suspect!

Cost – $10 per person

 

 

September’s selection is Midnight at the Blackbird Café by Heather Webber

Nestled in the mountain shadows of Alabama lies the little town of Wicklow. It is here that Anna Kate has returned to bury her beloved Granny Zee, owner of the Blackbird Café.

It was supposed to be a quick trip to close the café and settle her grandmother’s estate, but despite her best intentions to avoid forming ties or even getting to know her father’s side of the family, Anna Kate finds herself inexplicably drawn to the quirky Southern town her mother ran away from so many years ago, and the mysterious blackbird pie everybody can’t stop talking about.

As the truth about her past slowly becomes clear, Anna Kate will need to decide if this lone blackbird will finally be able to take her broken wings and fly.

Purchase of the book from the shop is not required, but we do have copies available. RSVP’s are helpful so we know who to expect.

Our cozy bookshop is the perfect backdrop for a fun game night! We’re bringing back a murder mystery! Everyone’s a suspect when murder is on the menu! The mystery- It’s a tour of the California Wine Country with its peaceful vineyards and picturesque wineries. The annual wine-tasting festival is in full swing when the body of a local Vineyard owner is found beneath his wine cellar. He’s been missing five years but with the discovery of his body comes new clues to solve. Don’t miss being a part of this fun night!

We’ll have warm drinks and snacks on hand for a fun evening! Please note-we must cap the evening to 8 registrations, so register early to secure your spot as a suspect!

Cost – $10 per person

 

 

August’s selection is “Kitchens of the Great Midwest” by J. Ryan Stradal

When Lars Thorvald’s wife, Cynthia, falls in love with wine–and a dashing sommelier–he’s left to raise their baby, Eva, on his own. He’s determined to pass on his love of food to his daughter–starting with puréed pork shoulder. As Eva grows, she finds her solace and salvation in the flavors of her native Minnesota. From Scandinavian lutefisk to hydroponic chocolate habaneros, each ingredient represents one part of Eva’s journey as she becomes the star chef behind a legendary and secretive pop-up supper club, culminating in an opulent and emotional feast that’s a testament to her spirit and resilience.

Each chapter in J. Ryan Stradal’s startlingly original debut tells the story of a single dish and character, at once capturing the zeitgeist of the Midwest, the rise of foodie culture, and delving into the ways food creates community and a sense of identity. By turns quirky, hilarious, and vividly sensory, Kitchens of the Great Midwest is an unexpected mother-daughter story about the bittersweet nature of life–its missed opportunities and its joyful surprises.

Purchase of the book from the shop is not required, but we do have copies available. RSVP’s are helpful so we know who to expect.

In July we will be reading Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl.

Trailblazing food writer and beloved restaurant critic Ruth Reichl took the job of a lifetime when she entered the glamorous, high-stakes world of magazine publishing. Now, for the first time, she chronicles her groundbreaking tenure as editor-in-chief at Gourmet, during which she spearheaded a revolution in the way we think about food.

Purchase of the book from the shop is not required, but we do have copies available. RSVP’s are helpful so we know who to expect.