2015 Blog Tours Book Reviews Bookish Recipes Corsair Dana Bate Recipes
Blog Tour: Too Many Cooks by Dana Bate - Review and Recipe
Title: Too Many Cooks
Author: Dana Bate
Published: June 4th 2015 by Corsair
Amazon | Amazon UK
Blurb: Kelly Madigan seems to have it all: a fabulous boyfriend, a supportive – if eccentric – family, and a flourishing career as a cookbook ghost-writer. But after finding a letter from her recently-deceased mother, criticising her stable but undeniably unexciting life, Kelly knows she needs to make a change.
“A person only gets one chance to make a dying wish, so listen up! Here’s what I want: I want you to walk away from the beaten path and, for once in your life, do something unpredictable and a little crazy.”
So when a mysterious new writing opportunity in London presents itself, Kelly takes her mother’s words to heart and jumps at the chance to get away from it all.
Enter Natasha Spencer – Oscar-winning actress and health nut, not to mention a total nightmare. She’s working on a new cookbook and has asked for Kelly’s help. What Kelly didn’t factor in was meeting Natasha’s dishy MP husband, Hugh Ballantine. Away from her family, friends, and the life she knows – will this fish out of water ever get back in and swim?
*First of all I would like to thank the publishers for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
Review: I really enjoyed Dana Bate's previous book, The Stall of Second Chances. So when I was offered a review copy of her latest, Too Many Cooks, I was over the moon. Even more now that I've read it, as I loved Too Many Cooks. I think it's Dana's best so far. I'd say it is a fantastic foody book with a pinch of romance, a spoonful of craziness and a cup of laughs.
Our heroine, Kelly, is a cookbook ghostwriter. A job I would have never thought existed but that I found really interesting to read about. Kelly basically helps (as in does almost everything) famous chefs and celebrities perfect their recipes and put them on paper so the rest of mortals can execute them with a decent result. As you can expect, she doesn't have the most normal bosses. But her latest one definitely takes the cake. Hollywood star Natasha Spencer is the ultimate diva. Asking for the impossible and changing her mind a thousand times a day. Imagine the situations Kelly finds herself in!
Kelly is such a joy to read. I instantly liked her and as the story progressed, I only liked her more. She really had an endless patience with Natasha. She is an intelligent and talented woman who is not afraid of taking chances and fighting for what she wants. Even if during the story she is confronted with the impossible and more. I loved how she always put a brave face on and if necessary started again.
Funnily enough, she just was missing the final push to shine and she gets it from the most unexpected person, Natasha's husband, Hugh. A MP in the British Parliament and contrary to his wife, always nice and lovely to Kelly. I loved their interactions and how I never knew what was going to happen between these two. And I think the ending that Dana chose for their story was the perfect one.
Too Many Cooks is a lovely story with a lot of feeling and food, of course. The descriptions of Kelly creations had me salivating through the book and I love that Dana has included some of the recipes at the end of the book for us to try.
In the book, spaghetti salad plays a big role in Kelly's story. One of the few dishes her mum used to cook for them, it the kind of comfort food she always goes to when the rest of her life is falling apart. Here, Dana shares this special recipe with us. I don't know you, I can't wait to try it:
This recipe was given to me by my friend, Marie, who grew up in Ypsilanti. The original recipe calls for 6 teaspoons of ‘Accent seasoning salt’, which is just monosodium glutamate (MSG), and some may have trouble finding it. If you can’t or don’t want to use it, just season with additional salt to taste.
1 lb vermicelli/thin spaghetti
1 large green pepper, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 cup diced Swiss cheese
1 cup diced ham
8 teaspoons sour cream
2 cups Miracle Whip
4 teaspoons sugar
8 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
6 teaspoons Accent seasoning salt
Cook the vermicelli according to the package instructions, until al dente. Drain. Combine the pasta with the green pepper, celery, onion, cheese and ham. Toss together.
In a separate bowl, mix together the sour cream, Miracle Whip, sugar, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper and Accent (if using). Add the dressing to the pasta and vegetables, stir it in, and refrigerate at least three hours before serving.