Friday, April 25, 2014

Bread and Butter, by Michelle Wildgen

Leo and Britt are brothers who own and operate a restaurant, Winesap, in their home town outside Philadelphia. They are surprised when their younger brother Harry, who has been something of a nomad, returns home to open his own restaurant. He tries to convince Leo and Britt to invest in his restaurant, but only one does. The two older brothers both start romances that seem to have the potential to be serious, while Harry struggles getting reading to open and then running his new restaurant. Meanwhile, the three try to figure out the dynamics of their triangular sibling relationship while gaining some meager insights into their own psyches.

That's the plot of Bread and Butter, with descriptions of dishes and insider information on the running of restaurants, from hiring and keeping staff to maintaining focus on the menu to which equipment to buy and which to rent, thrown in.  The food/restaurant information kept me reading, but if you're not interested in that kind of thing, Bread and Butter is pretty thin gruel (sorry, couldn't help myself).

Favorite passage
It was a great dish, actually, but he was disappointed by the presentation of it. You saw this from cooks everywhere: they thought it gave them street cred to serve you a dish as a challenge. It tasted good, but people dined out for pleasure, for coddling, and they paid for the privilege, so why not give it to them?

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