This is the perfect travel book for reading at airports and on planes. It’s super light in content, with no long lists of names to remember or complex plots to do battle with when your brain is on the verge of jetlag-induced mush. It is pure fluff. I rather enjoyed it: mostly because it’s set in Italy and involves a lot of talk about food, but also because it’s a romance novel written by a man. I find that male-written romance novels, such as Jess Walters’ Beautiful Ruins, have a different edge to them, a refreshing spin.
Jamie Oliver, Richard Curtis and Hugh Laurie have all written blurbs on the back praising Capella’s efforts, which is very high praise indeed. But, be warned; there is a lot of talk about food in this book and a lot of it is using traditional recipes – the kind mamma or nonna used to make – and therefore there are some un-traditional ingredients. One recipe, a classic Roman fritto misto, is described as – ‘tiny morsels of mixed offal, including slivers of poached brains and liver, along with snails, artichokes, apples, pears, and bread all dipped in milk, all deep-fried in a crisp egg-and-bread-crumb batter’. Mmm….. tasty…
There is also a lot of sex in this book on account of all the amazing food; some of it kind of off-beat but not so kinky that there’s an “R” sticker on the cover. Capella wants us to see the aphrodisiacal effect that skilled cooking and an informed combination of ingredients is capable of having on our defenseless senses. I learnt a lot about coffee from this book too.
The Food of Love is, in part, a modern-day re-telling of the Cyrano de Bergerac story and is fairly predictable, but forgivably so. Laura is a young, gorgeous American living in Rome having been awarded a scholarship to study art. Due to her obvious beauty she naturally attracts a great many Italian studs, noticeably Tommaso, who becomes besotted by her and decides he must woo and have her no matter what. Through a comedy of errors, Tommaso convinces Laura that he is a chef at the famous Templi restaurant and pretends to cook sensuous meals that fill her with an unbridled passion. However, it is Tommaso’s shy and not-so-handsome friend, Bruno who is the real mastermind and genius behind the food and the one who is genuinely and secretly in love with Laura. No surprises with the ending, but a nice, fun book to veg. out on.