Comfort Food, by Kate Jacobs


In food terms, Comfort Food is macaroni and cheese, with a little bacon thrown in. In other words, it’s basic fare with just a little something extra–a great choice for the beach or a plane trip, and unlikely to upset your stomach.

The heroine, Gus Simpson, is a 50-ish Martha Stewart type with two feisty daughters, a neighbor who is reclusive for good reason, serious control issues, and a television cooking show that is unexpectedly on the rocks. Gus is forced by circumstances to take some risks, pulling a motley assortment of reluctant friends and family along with her as she tries to revive her sinking career (not to mention her pathetic personal life). The results are extremely contrived, but surprisingly entertaining.

Gus starts out a little too strident, but the many (maybe too many?) odd characters surrounding her soften the edges. Like the author’s hugely popular The Friday Night Knitting Club, this book touches just enough on themes of commitment, loss, friendship, and family to keep the book group talking. But there’s no need for deep thought—with this book, just sit back and enjoy the action, the unusual characters, and a couple of twists at the end.

One warning, though: As you read Comfort Food, keep a pile of snacks handy, because the food descriptions will have you salivating.  

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