book review: The Promise Kitchen by Peggy Lampman

The Promise Kitchen is a tale of two Southern women, who through random chance (one is born into a wealthy family and one is poor), lead extremely different lives.  Their lives happen to intersect through food.  One is a food writer (Mallory) and the other is an aspiring chef (Shelby).

The author shows how, with or without money, everyone has problems.  Mallory is well-off financially but has to deal with a boyfriend who recently deserted her and a possible alcohol/drug addiction.  Shelby struggles to make a better life for herself and her daughter, Miss Ann.  Every time she seems to be getting ahead, something happens and she seems to be stuck in a rut.

I enjoyed the story, but I thought the ending was a bit rushed.  It felt a little like the fairy godmother descended and waived a magic wand.  I would have preferred to see Shelby survive on her own, given how hard she worked, but then maybe that’s part of the author’s message – we can’t do it all on our own.  Everyone needs someone, no matter what is in your bank account.

I especially enjoyed reading the pieces written about various Southern recipes by both Mallory and Shelby.  The end of the book contains actual recipes.  I haven’t tried any of them because most of them require quite a bit of time for preparation, but they sound good.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary e-copy of this book through Net Galley in exchange for my honest review.