Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Review: The Food of Love by Anthony Capella

Thanks to a quick road trip up to Idaho to visit my mother, I had the chance to listen to an audio book, The Food of Love.  I'm not sure if the cat enjoyed it, since he was in the back seat in his carrier, but he stopped howling at me after about 45 minutes.  Yes, I turned it down and tried to comfort him.  He was just being a bit of a diva and wanted out, but there was NO way I was opening that carrier!  He soon settled into a nice nap and I moved on with my audio book.  It's nice to be able to listen to an audio book for long stretches of time and not just during a commute or daily errands!

Synopsis:  From Goodreads, "Laura, a twenty something American, is on her first trip to Italy. She's completely enamored of the art, beauty, and, of course, food that Rome has to offer. Soon she’s enamored of the handsome and charming Tommaso, who tells her he’s a chef at the famed Templi restaurant and begins to woo her with his gastronomic creations.  But Tommaso hasen'’t been entirely truthful—; he'’s really just a waiter.

The master chef behind the tantalizing meals is Tommaso’'s talented but shy friend Bruno, who loves Laura from afar. Thus begins a classic comedy of errors full of the culinary magic and the sensual atmosphere of Italy. The result is a romantic comedy in the tradition of Cyrano de Bergerac and Roxanne that tempts readers to devour it in one sitting."

Review:  Admittedly, I was drawn to this book because of the food and travel elements.  The fun, seemingly romantic turn to the story was also an added bonus, but I was most interested in hearing about the preparation of really great Italian food.  The book jumps into the affair between Laura and Tommaso pretty quickly and spends a large chunk of the book unraveling, just as its Cyrano de Bergerac comparison heralds.  The unraveling is painful, and to be quite honest, I found the romance to not be romantic at all!  The food references were beautiful and poetic, but when twisted up with sexual trysts, they started to sound almost sleazy.  In fact, I'm not really sure that a woman would be wooed in quite the way the author describes it.  I wonder if my own bias in this is mainly because I'm a female reader and the author's perspective as a man is describing what romance looks like to him?  Maybe I just missed it?

Since Tommaso isn't the cook in the story, and just the Lethario who wants in Laura's pants (sorry to say it that way mom, but that's the only way of describing it), it's much easier to connect to the shy chef Bruno.  In the beginning I thought he was a bit of a creeper; why would he be so smitten with his roommate's girl, enough so that he would create these magical dishes for their dinners?  Over time though, Bruno's heart really comes through and helps to round out the story and the insincere sort of romance going on between Laura and his roommate.

There are lovely descriptions of food and food preparation, from handmade pastas to stewed meats and tender spring vegetables.  Bruno's passion for food is more attractive than he is, which I do think the author was vying for, so his descriptions were excellent.  Although the story felt sleazy in the beginning, there was redemption in the arc of the story by the end.  Overall, it was still a nice read, with great food references.  Now, can I get my ticket to Italy please?!?

*FTC Disclosure:  This review is based on a library copy of the book.

Just out of curiosity, could you be seduced by really great food, enough so that you would overlook a creeper?


  1. Sounds good! Mainly because I want to go to Italy one of these days and this is sort of close... :) I am not one of those people that are seduced by food, so I can't imagine overlooking anything...

  2. My next-door neighbors flew to Rome yesterday/Wednesday and will join a lengthy Mediterranean cruise on Saturday.....sigh. Although I've been to Italy numerous times, I left my foodie heart in Sicily after a month's stay on that beautiful island. Oooooo.....the pasta there and best pizza I ever enjoyed!

    Suggest "Vatel" (2000)as a distracting food film with a plot.....and also "No Reservations" (2007).

    Where in Idaho is your mom? I once lived there in Lewiston.....not a state I consider when pining for cuisine, but I miss the deep fried, encrusted salmon on a stick I adored then in Coeur d'Alene.

    To reply to your inquiry, I don't have a blog of my very own.


  3. You know that saying, the way to a man's heart is through his stomach? Well, that's totally me. :) And to answer your question, yes, I have. And it was a really dumb move on my part, but what can I say...

  4. Kailana--I so want to go to Italy too! I'm not sure I would want to have this book happen in my own life though. I'm thinking I could get into the food without the grand seduction. LOL.

    Carla--How cool, and great timing. I'm totally jealous of your month-long stay in Italy! Honestly, all I want to do is travel, travel, travel. As for my mom, she's in SE Idaho, down by Rexburg. Totally different part of the state, especially since Idaho had such three distinct regions that are separated by mountains or desert. She lives closer to the Yellowstone/Island Park region. Minus the wind, it's a very pretty place!

    Heidenkind--Really? :) You'll have to share! I'd be pretty curious to see what you would say to this book. Such great food descriptions.