Monday, July 4, 2011

Book Review: The Hundred Foot Journey

Lately, I have been hunting books to sneak my nose into and find myself in another world. My air conditioner has been out for two weeks now and the repairmen and home warranty are taking their sweet time replacing it. So I wanted a book that would transport me to another place to help me forget about the fact that it is 104 inside my house. I found The Hundred Foot Journey by Richard Morais at my library. It took me all of three days to read it cover to cover, and I am typically a slow reader.

The book is broken into four sections: Mumbai, London, Lumiere, and Paris. I didn't get into the book until I was in Lumiere. The first section sets up the story. It gives you the background of the Indian culture and about Hassan and his family while he was a child. I won't give anything away, but i will say it is a deep look into a very different livelihood of the Indian culture. It took me a whole day to read this part because I kept setting it down from not being interested.

After Mumbai, Hassan and his family is forced to move to London because of a major tragedy. Throughout this section of the book, the author delves into the mind of a teenage boy (Hassan) who is just discovering girls. Hassan's girl troubles end up forcing his family out of London and on the road. This part was short, but still difficult to get through.

When the family lands themselves in Lumiere, it was as if I had a different book in my hands. French cuisine dishes fill the pages and make your mouth water while you read. I, being a major foodie, couldn't set the book down. The first part of this section is hysterical. The Indian family finds themselves living cross the street from a to Michelin starred bed and breakfast. Chef Mallory is a heavy set French woman who is the essence of refined French culinarians. She and Hassan's father do not get along and make jabs at one another before finally going to far. Chef Mallory ends up taking on Hassan as an apprentice to repay for the harm she caused. Throughout this part of the book I laughed, cried, and was seduced with passion and food (not together)...

By the Paris section, Hassan is a chef working in well known restaurants. Every dish revealed is a mix of classic french dining mixed with Hassan's exotic background. The food alone makes me want to read it over.

While I was not enthralled with the beginning of the book, I did fall in love with the characters after the family arrived in France. I think it is because I can relate since I have french cuisine training. I would definitely recommend The Hundred Foot Journey assuming you are a foodie and can imagine flavors and aromas simply by thinking about it.

I hope you have a chance to read the book. Let me know what you think!

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