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Love Among the Recipes
by M. Carol Cram

Published: 2020-09-30T00:0
Paperback : 344 pages
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Discover love in all its flavors in this fun, food-infused romp through Paris that is as crisp, sweet, and smooth as the perfect macaron. Paris may be for lovers, but cookbook author Genna McGraw is definitely not looking for love. She's looking for escape and she's looking for a good runny Brie to ...
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Introduction

Discover love in all its flavors in this fun, food-infused romp through Paris that is as crisp, sweet, and smooth as the perfect macaron. Paris may be for lovers, but cookbook author Genna McGraw is definitely not looking for love. She's looking for escape and she's looking for a good runny Brie to pair with a smooth Bordeaux. Where better than Paris? Genna goes to the City of Light to get away from her husband and write a "crossover cookbook/guidebook" that matches Parisian sights such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre with recipes for bistro-style French dishes.

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Excerpt

Chapter One
April 2015 – Paris
Basic Macarons?A circular meringue-based confection with a rounded top, smooth filling, and flat base
Without looking, Genna stepped off the curb and narrowly escaped being lobbed from the bumper of a speeding Citroën when a man grabbed her elbow and yanked her back.
“Gardez-vous, madame.”
Genna swung around and collided with the man’s other arm, sending his phone clattering to the pavement.
“Merde!”
“Désolée!” Genna’s heart twanged like an unbound bungee cord at the near miss.
Ignoring her, the man stooped to retrieve his phone and then cradled it between both hands.
Chiseled features, a South of France tan, dark hair speckled with gray, pushing fifty. He looked like he belonged on the cover of L’Urbane Parisien: Watch Him Smolder—Mature Edition.
Mais oui.
Wonder replaced terror. Genna could count on the fingers of one hand how often in recent years she’d been within ten yards of a man who had made her little heart flutter.
Actually, she didn’t need any fingers.
“Merci beaucoup!”
Still ignoring her, Monsieur Hottie looked down at his phone. The screen flickered. Sighing with relief, he bent low over the display, almost planting firm lips on the mirrored surface.
“Merci,” she said again. “La circulation . . .” The traffic.
“Ah, oui.” The man let loose a stream of French presumably about the dreadful state of the traffic in the nation’s capital. Genna pasted on her trying-to-understand-French smile, but only the odd word penetrated—voiture was car, extraordinaire—obvious, another merde—the one French swear word she knew. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

1. Love Among the Recipes is billed as a light, optimistic read—funny, quirky, engaging. Do you agree? How would you describe it?

2. Although the novel’s tone is upbeat, several serious themes are presented—surviving divorce, taking second chances, dealing with grown children, finding self-fulfillment. Several readers have recognized the poignancy of Genna’s dilemma. What theme(s) intrigued you the most?

3. There are many food references throughout the novel and links to recipes at www.carolcram.com. Which recipes appealed to you the most? Which dishes have you tried?

4. Have you or anyone in your group traveled to Paris? If so, how does Genna’s experience of the City of Light compare to yours? What enchanted you about Paris? What disappointed you? And, of course, did you enjoy any memorable meals while in Paris? Why were they memorable?

5. While much of the book centers around Genna’s experiences as a newly single woman, there is a strong thread about motherhood. Her two grown children, Michael and Betsy, show up in Paris and in their various ways help and hinder Genna’s quest to make a new life for herself. What did you think of Genna’s parenting? Do you have a “difficult” child such as Betsy in your life?

6. Love Among the Recipes is a novel about a “woman of a certain age.” She has grown children and a thirty-year marriage on the rocks. How do her experiences compare to your own or to women in her age group that you know?

7. Think about Genna’s decision to escape to Paris after her husband Drew cheats on her. She sometimes agonizes about whether she should give Drew another chance. Should she have stuck around and tried to make the marriage work? Why or why not?

8. Does Genna find what she needs by the end of the novel? Would you have preferred a more conventional, romantic ending? Why or why not? If you were to write the ending for Love Among the Recipes, what would happen?

9. Which of Genna’s two romantic interests interested you? Classy, good-looking, and cultured Pierre Leblanc or big, bluff Bill Turner who seems like a bumpkin, but with impeccable taste in wine?

10. Humor plays a central role in the novel. What are some moments in the novel that struck you as funny?

11. If, like Genna, you could leave your current life and go anywhere in the world to do whatever you wanted for six months, where would you go and what would you do?

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