Monday, August 3, 2009

I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci

From failure to fusilli, this deliciously hilarious read tells the story of Giulia Melucci's fizzled romances and the mouth-watering recipes she used to seduce her men, smooth over the lumps, and console herself when the relationships flamed out. From an affectionate alcoholic, to the classic New York City commitment-phobe, to a hipster aged past his sell date, and not one, but two novelists with Peter Pan complexes, Giulia has cooked for them all. She suffers each disappointment with resolute cheer (after a few tears) and a bowl of pastina (recipe included) and has lived to tell the tale so that other women may go out, hopefully with greater success, and if that's not possible, at least have something good to eat. Peppered throughout Giulia's delightful and often poignant remembrances are fond recollections of her mother's cooking, the recipes she learned from her, and many she invented on her own inspired by the men in her life. Readers will howl at Giulia's boyfriend-littered past and swoon over her irresistible culinary creations.
Hachette Book Group

I finished this book last week, and I think it had the unfortunate incidence of being read after a memoir that I absolutely loved (Jantsen's Gift). I didn't dislike this book, but it seemed a bit pointless. I spent much of the time reading it and trying to decide what made Guilia's love life worthy of a novel. Sure some of it was funny, but her desperation to find love was also a bit sad. I had a hard time understanding why she had a connection with most of her "loves" except for her desire to have something meaningful. In that sense, I will say that if many women were to look closely they would probably see a bit of themselves. I know I did. It made me think about the times I have held on to a relationship that was unhealthy or pointless.

I loved the recipes included in this novel, and they are what made it stand out. Everything in here was something that could easily be made by an intermediate level cook. And, most of it was made with basic enough ingredients that you would actually eat it. Personal tastes turned me away from a couple recipes, but that would happen with any cookbook. I did like that she included the recipes that kept her going during all of her mishaps and attempts at love. I also liked the little comments she would include with many of the recipes and those did give me a giggle.

I found this novel to be more of a personal journey for Guilia Melucci. It seemed that she wanted to free herself of the mistakes of her past, so she could look to a better future. Also, so she could accept herself for where she currently is.

This isn't a novel I would read again or gushingly recommend to friends, but I don't feel like I wasted my time. I would definitely pass on the recipes.

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