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Comfort Food

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In this smart, delicious new novel by the bestselling author of The Friday Night Knitting Club, a celebrity cook shows her friends and family the joy of fulfillment - and manages to spice up her own life at the same time. Shortly before turning the big 5-0, hostess extraordinaire and Cooking with Gusto! TV personality Augusta "Gus" Simpson finds herself planning a birthday In this smart, delicious new novel by the bestselling author of The Friday Night Knitting Club, a celebrity cook shows her friends and family the joy of fulfillment - and manages to spice up her own life at the same time. Shortly before turning the big 5-0, hostess extraordinaire and Cooking with Gusto! TV personality Augusta "Gus" Simpson finds herself planning a birthday party she'd rather ignore - her own. She's getting tired of being the hostess, the mother hen, the woman who has to bake her own birthday party. To make things worse, the network execs at the Cooking Channel want to boost her ratings by teaming Gus with the beautiful, ambitious Carmen Vega, a former Miss Spain, who is decidedly not middle-aged. But Gus won't go without a fight. She recreates her show as an on-air cooking class, which she uses as an excuse to bring together her extended family for some lessons in life as well as cuisine. The new cast includes her bickering daughters, fickle Sabrina, who has just gotten engaged for the third time, and overserious Aimee; Troy, Sabrina's ex-boyfriend, and Hannah, Gus's timid neighbor. And while Gus may have to deal with Carmen's diva behavior, she also has to contend with a new culinary producer, Oliver, a handsome ex-banker who raises the temperature just a little beyond Gus's comfort zone. In the pursuit of higher ratings and culinary delights, Gus realizes that she might be able not just to rejuvenate her career but to improve her family life - and perhaps her love life as well...


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In this smart, delicious new novel by the bestselling author of The Friday Night Knitting Club, a celebrity cook shows her friends and family the joy of fulfillment - and manages to spice up her own life at the same time. Shortly before turning the big 5-0, hostess extraordinaire and Cooking with Gusto! TV personality Augusta "Gus" Simpson finds herself planning a birthday In this smart, delicious new novel by the bestselling author of The Friday Night Knitting Club, a celebrity cook shows her friends and family the joy of fulfillment - and manages to spice up her own life at the same time. Shortly before turning the big 5-0, hostess extraordinaire and Cooking with Gusto! TV personality Augusta "Gus" Simpson finds herself planning a birthday party she'd rather ignore - her own. She's getting tired of being the hostess, the mother hen, the woman who has to bake her own birthday party. To make things worse, the network execs at the Cooking Channel want to boost her ratings by teaming Gus with the beautiful, ambitious Carmen Vega, a former Miss Spain, who is decidedly not middle-aged. But Gus won't go without a fight. She recreates her show as an on-air cooking class, which she uses as an excuse to bring together her extended family for some lessons in life as well as cuisine. The new cast includes her bickering daughters, fickle Sabrina, who has just gotten engaged for the third time, and overserious Aimee; Troy, Sabrina's ex-boyfriend, and Hannah, Gus's timid neighbor. And while Gus may have to deal with Carmen's diva behavior, she also has to contend with a new culinary producer, Oliver, a handsome ex-banker who raises the temperature just a little beyond Gus's comfort zone. In the pursuit of higher ratings and culinary delights, Gus realizes that she might be able not just to rejuvenate her career but to improve her family life - and perhaps her love life as well...

30 review for Comfort Food

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lain

    Zzz... oh, I'm sorry, did you say something? I apologize -- I was put into a deep sleep by this latest book from Kate Jacobs. A great cure for insomnia! I couldn't make it past 100 pages. Too much telling, not enough showing, and no clue where the book was going or why. If I read one more word about poor little Gus the TV star, who seems like a total unlikeable control freak, I was going to scream. Nothing happened, and I didn't really care if it did or not. The inconsistencies really got to me, Zzz... oh, I'm sorry, did you say something? I apologize -- I was put into a deep sleep by this latest book from Kate Jacobs. A great cure for insomnia! I couldn't make it past 100 pages. Too much telling, not enough showing, and no clue where the book was going or why. If I read one more word about poor little Gus the TV star, who seems like a total unlikeable control freak, I was going to scream. Nothing happened, and I didn't really care if it did or not. The inconsistencies really got to me, too... she doesn't own a cookbook but somehow has a copy of Julia Child's French Cooking Vol. II in her house, who doesn't wear a seatbelt even though her husband died in a horrific traffic accident... whatever. This is going on my "will never finish" list.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

    I can't believe I actually finished this book. Halfway through, I realized I was still waiting to like it. I kept plowing ahead, hoping that the next chapter would redeem all of the awfully written and constructed previous chapters. That never happened. Characters were dull, the story felt rushed and incomplete, and the food seemed like an after thought. Over all, the whole story was contrived. The ending was saccharine and came together far too neatly to even be remotely believable, entertainin I can't believe I actually finished this book. Halfway through, I realized I was still waiting to like it. I kept plowing ahead, hoping that the next chapter would redeem all of the awfully written and constructed previous chapters. That never happened. Characters were dull, the story felt rushed and incomplete, and the food seemed like an after thought. Over all, the whole story was contrived. The ending was saccharine and came together far too neatly to even be remotely believable, entertaining, or satisfying. I would give this book zero stars if it were possible.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    I loved the first three hundred pages. The details are on, the story line is engaging, and I am willing to suspend some disbelief. But, I figured out my trouble with Kate Jacobs. She runs this huge ensemble cast of characters through her novels, and this forces a contrived ending to wrap up all the different characters. The over all effect is that everyone is a little too good, and that things work out perfectly, just like that. I think this book and Friday Night Knitting would be better if she I loved the first three hundred pages. The details are on, the story line is engaging, and I am willing to suspend some disbelief. But, I figured out my trouble with Kate Jacobs. She runs this huge ensemble cast of characters through her novels, and this forces a contrived ending to wrap up all the different characters. The over all effect is that everyone is a little too good, and that things work out perfectly, just like that. I think this book and Friday Night Knitting would be better if she used one narrator, and focused on no more than 3 main characters, maybe less. I see how she's been influenced by ensemble TV for sure ;)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cortney

    I only made it past the first chapter. It just didn't engage me. At all. Maybe it's something about reading in the third person that I don't like? Maybe it's something about Kate Jacobs drilling into my head the characteristics of Gus Simpson over and over and over and over.... With so many books on my to-read list, why waste time with something I'm not enjoying? It's so very hard for me to give up on a book because it may very well be a fabulous book after you muddle through _____ number of page I only made it past the first chapter. It just didn't engage me. At all. Maybe it's something about reading in the third person that I don't like? Maybe it's something about Kate Jacobs drilling into my head the characteristics of Gus Simpson over and over and over and over.... With so many books on my to-read list, why waste time with something I'm not enjoying? It's so very hard for me to give up on a book because it may very well be a fabulous book after you muddle through _____ number of pages/chapters. I'm just not in the mood to muddle. I want something good and I want it now (as I type "I want it now" I have Veruka Salt of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory singing in my head... I want the world, I want the whole world.... I want it NOW!) What brats both of us are! Edited to add... after writing my thoughts on this book I looked up other reviews and found that I'm not the only one that thought it was painfully boring. So now I don't feel bad for giving up on it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tricia

    Gus Simpson is turning 50, has two 20-something daughters, and her own cooking show which is experiencing a ratings slump. The story revolves around her need to heal from tragedy, develop better relationships with her children, and define who she is and what she wants out of the rest of her life....with a little romance thrown in the side. One problem I had with The Friday Night Knitting Club is that there were too many darn characters in the book. It's even worse in this book because the book is Gus Simpson is turning 50, has two 20-something daughters, and her own cooking show which is experiencing a ratings slump. The story revolves around her need to heal from tragedy, develop better relationships with her children, and define who she is and what she wants out of the rest of her life....with a little romance thrown in the side. One problem I had with The Friday Night Knitting Club is that there were too many darn characters in the book. It's even worse in this book because the book isn't as long. It just seemed like the characters didn't get developed as well as I would have liked. And the ending? Don't even get me started. I love a happy ending, but this one was so ridiculous it was like nails on a chalkboard. I read this because I needed a little mind candy. And, it is good for that. I thought the premise was good (better than knitting, for me personally) and there were even a few moments where the author really explored some raw feelings. But, other times the story was just over the top and not very believable.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    This book was just ok. It was the kind of book that if I had been at the airport and didnt have a book and bought it, I wouldn't have been angry that I had to read it. But it was really predictable and had some parts that really annoyed me. I don't know if it was because I read it on kindle but it was confusing how the point of view shifted very abruptly, sometimes I couldn't tell it was even a new paragraph and suddenly the story was from someone else's perspective. It's also a pet peeve of min This book was just ok. It was the kind of book that if I had been at the airport and didnt have a book and bought it, I wouldn't have been angry that I had to read it. But it was really predictable and had some parts that really annoyed me. I don't know if it was because I read it on kindle but it was confusing how the point of view shifted very abruptly, sometimes I couldn't tell it was even a new paragraph and suddenly the story was from someone else's perspective. It's also a pet peeve of mine when authors tell you the same information more than once, like you're not smart enough to remember that they just told you who a character is. And my last complaint about this book is that I know it's a standard of chick lit but do all male and female characters who work with each other have to fall in love, really? I gave it two stars instead of one because the main character's name is Gus (but she's a woman, gasp!).

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sue Gerhardt Griffiths

    An easy-breezy, fun read. Not a fan of watching cooking shows but when food is featured in a book you can’t keep me away. The delicious food, the whacky cooking show and the likeable characters made this a thoroughly enjoyable read. *Book #26/72 of my coffee table to-read pile challenge

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lorrie

    I've read all of this author's books. This was good just not as good as the others. I do feel like baking a coffee cake in the morning so I did get something out of it. I can't remember the last time I baked...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    Caveat - I 'read' this in the audio version, which may or may not have affected my experience. So, hitting the library looking for something light to keep my commute to and from work from being an endless litany of radio bad news is a very hit or miss proposition. And I should know by now that I really should avoid anything that smacks of chick lit. But I don't think I've ever read any novel whose author seemed to dislike ALL of her characters so much. I was six disks into the book before any of Caveat - I 'read' this in the audio version, which may or may not have affected my experience. So, hitting the library looking for something light to keep my commute to and from work from being an endless litany of radio bad news is a very hit or miss proposition. And I should know by now that I really should avoid anything that smacks of chick lit. But I don't think I've ever read any novel whose author seemed to dislike ALL of her characters so much. I was six disks into the book before any of them did anything that seemed to smack of the slightest inclination of a redeeming characteristic. Gus, the central character, is so consistently condescending to everyone around her and yet she is offered as someone to be admire. Seriously, how is it Kate Jacobs could spend all the time it takes to write a novel creating such unlikeable people? Throw in cliched writing and exposition that was so jumpy that when I accidentally skipped disk 2 it took me until disk 4 to realize I had missed something and I can say that listening to the litany of political news on the radio would have been a far better choice for me.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    I'm not sure where to start with this one. It wasn't until I reached the last chapter of this book that the hope for something worthwhile was finally crushed. What was wrong with it? -The plot- What plot? This book is a string of contrived coincidences. -The characters- Of the main seven, three (the underdeveloped ones, at that) were tolerable; the other four were so thouroughly dislikable I couldn't believe it. -The writing itself- It was tell, and tell, and more tell, and never any show. Long I'm not sure where to start with this one. It wasn't until I reached the last chapter of this book that the hope for something worthwhile was finally crushed. What was wrong with it? -The plot- What plot? This book is a string of contrived coincidences. -The characters- Of the main seven, three (the underdeveloped ones, at that) were tolerable; the other four were so thouroughly dislikable I couldn't believe it. -The writing itself- It was tell, and tell, and more tell, and never any show. Long paragraphs devoted to backstory, or something completely unrelated to the story. A an entirely pointless thirty pages devoted to a ridiculous team building retreat. After annoying, endless descriptions of how Elegant, how Confident, how Perfect Gus is, what Gus is wearing today (surprise-she's overdressed again), I was hit my the realization that now, whenever I need to explain to someone what a Mary Sue character is, I can point them to this book and watch them squirm in agony, gnash their teeth, and scream aloud to the heavens. If you can't tell, I think this never should have been published, and am thouroughly ashamed that I wasted my time reading it. Don't make my mistake. If you want something light to read, pick up a trashy romance. At least with those, you know what you're in for.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Danny Lynn

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I hated all the characters in this novel and that made this impossible to like. Our main character, a universally likeable TV personality, was overly preachy and tight– like a detestable version of Martha Stewart. Her grown daughters were inexcusably whiny. In fact, our entire cast was shockingly immature, childish and catty (and not in a entertaining Real Housewives way). Even the weirdly omniscient narrator didn't know when to shut-up—not allowing the reader to infer everything for themselves a I hated all the characters in this novel and that made this impossible to like. Our main character, a universally likeable TV personality, was overly preachy and tight– like a detestable version of Martha Stewart. Her grown daughters were inexcusably whiny. In fact, our entire cast was shockingly immature, childish and catty (and not in a entertaining Real Housewives way). Even the weirdly omniscient narrator didn't know when to shut-up—not allowing the reader to infer everything for themselves and instead spelling everything out with a gaggable optimistic tone. We start out with a misfit cast— characters that don't like each other; characters competing for the same spotlight; characters with unpleasant pasts; characters with personal baggage— and by the end of the book they've all come together to be best friends, each in turn, saving the day and having each others backs. Throw four men and four women in a room and watch them all conveniently pair off and fall in love. So combine irritating characters with a predictable plot... this book is anything but comforting.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    What always blows me away about every book by Kate Jacobs isn't the amazing writing, the creative plots, or the unique characters. It's the fact that no matter what she writes about, it makes you want to do it. For example, her series The Friday Night Knitting Club and Knit Too, was why I wanted to start knitting. And why I did start knitting. You become so enveloped in the story that you too want to learn how to make a great meal with some Spanish accents or a 3 layer cake with amazingly diffic What always blows me away about every book by Kate Jacobs isn't the amazing writing, the creative plots, or the unique characters. It's the fact that no matter what she writes about, it makes you want to do it. For example, her series The Friday Night Knitting Club and Knit Too, was why I wanted to start knitting. And why I did start knitting. You become so enveloped in the story that you too want to learn how to make a great meal with some Spanish accents or a 3 layer cake with amazingly difficult icing. A book is a good book when it makes the reader want to go out and try something new. I have many scarves and the start of a blanket going because of her first series. And I am sure that once we move into our new house I will be cooking up a storm and trying the recipes in the back of the book. The story was pretty good and the characters well developed. But the read standout is the fact that it makes me want to step away from all of the other things in my life and try something new. That, friends, is a great book. Or at least in my humble opinion. 3.7/5 stars

  13. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    CD/Unabridged: This is my first Kate Jacobs book and it was fun. It's about a woman who just turned 50 and is the perky host of a cable cooking show. Think Paula Dean, only thinner. She is a widow with two daughters when her professional life falls apart. Her show is in jeopardy of getting the boot when a Spanish internet host joins her show: think Penelope Cruz. There is a wide cast of characters including the bald, handsome producer, disgraced ex-tennis player neighbor, daughter's boyfriend st CD/Unabridged: This is my first Kate Jacobs book and it was fun. It's about a woman who just turned 50 and is the perky host of a cable cooking show. Think Paula Dean, only thinner. She is a widow with two daughters when her professional life falls apart. Her show is in jeopardy of getting the boot when a Spanish internet host joins her show: think Penelope Cruz. There is a wide cast of characters including the bald, handsome producer, disgraced ex-tennis player neighbor, daughter's boyfriend still in the picture, and group counselor. I found most of the book enjoyable with the right amount of drama and tension mixed with comedy and lilt. The best part is Oliver stuck in the elevator by himself. The narrator, Barbara Rosenblat, does a great job with the different voices and accents. I had to slow down my listening because I didn't want it to end. I do recommend this and a good summertime read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Disappointing read after her first book, Friday Night Knitting Club, which was so good. I don't want to hurt the author's feelings but I found Comfort Food to have shallow, superficial characters that weren't developed enough. The section with the 60's style "retreat" was just dumb. I will still read her next one coming out, but I sure hope it's better than this one or she's lost a reader.

  15. 5 out of 5

    cheryna27

    This is one of the books which I can share with my mum and talk about it. The mother-daughter relationship is something you can get from this book - especially when your mother is also single! And...the best part of the story is that the romance does not has to end with happily ever after. Your partner doesn't have to be elder or wiser in order for you to love back:)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Erica

    My current trend seems to be self-involved middle-aged women. Still, this story was fine. Nothing amazing or memorable and not the the best written but still a pleasing story about a TV cooking show host, her friends and daughters, and the second life-changing event that alters the course of her future.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Genine Franklin-Clark

    Lightweight chick lit. Is it a problem that I am irritated with characters who are so lacking in insight, but suddenly see all in the end? And still I read the whole thing! Sigh.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Chloe (Always Booked)

    I loved this book!! 4.5 stars. I haven't read any one else's reviews so maybe I missed some big flaws but this had a lot of things I love-- great characters, a foodie element, and an engaging (albeit a little cheesy) plot. There is a lot of happily ever after= coupling up and a lot of potentially unhealthy relationships, but I bought into it. This book is about a woman named Gus who hosts a cooking show on a channel like the Food Network. Her ratings are going down so her show is in danger of be I loved this book!! 4.5 stars. I haven't read any one else's reviews so maybe I missed some big flaws but this had a lot of things I love-- great characters, a foodie element, and an engaging (albeit a little cheesy) plot. There is a lot of happily ever after= coupling up and a lot of potentially unhealthy relationships, but I bought into it. This book is about a woman named Gus who hosts a cooking show on a channel like the Food Network. Her ratings are going down so her show is in danger of being cancelled. In order to prevent that, the network requires her to start a new, live TV show with a hot young Latina woman named Carmen. What follows is the crazy adventure of the new show and how it all ends up. I thought all of the characters were great and it was really just a charming book. It reminded me a lot of Next Food Network Star and so many other shows that we love to watch. Highly recommend! Update after reading other reviews: I am sticking with my high rating. I agree with others that there are a lot of characters, however I could easily keep them straight in this one and felt like they all had unique personalities. I also agree that the ending where everyone just couples up and is in love is really cheesy and convenient, but I went in expecting something like that so it didn't bother me. I'd still say give this one a read if you're into the Food Network at all and like women's fiction. SPOILERS AHEAD: Gus is a widow with 2 grown daughters- Amy and Sabrina. Amy is the typical oldest child and Sabrina is pretty typical baby. They still live together and haven't really branched out into their own lives yet. They still fight and bicker just like sisters. When Gus' ratings are down, she is tasked with doing a live show that includes herself and her cohost Carmen as well as her daughters, her sous chef Oliver, the produce supplier and former lover of Sabrina named Troy, and Anna- her neighbor and infamous former tennis star. They are trying to create a show that teaches the average Joe how to make meals at home in spite of all the little disasters that happen in real kitchens. By involving the family, there are so many hijinks that ensue. People who are uncomfortable in the kitchen make mistakes and its funny to watch. At first Carmen and Gus do not get along at all. The older, well loved Gus is threatened by the new, young thing and vice versa. Throughout the story they grow to be friends and I loved seeing them put aside the cattiness and side together. In the very end, Gus ends up getting her own new live show and Carmen gets her own as well. In the middle, we find out that Gus was taken a fool by her investment manager and he stole all her money, but luckily she's okay anyway. Oliver, her sous chef falls in love with her and they end up leaving the industry for awhile and traveling around then coming back together to make a show. Sabrina is supposed to get married (for the millionth time) and gets to the aisle then freaks out and runs but her fiance sticks with her and says its fine to go back to dating. She's finally found the one because he's willing to wait. Anna, who had previously been trying to hide because she's so ashamed of her scandalous career (she threw matches so her dad could bet on them) but she is outed and makes peace with it. She no longer feels the need to hide and she falls in love with Troy, helping him to get over Sabrina. I thought it was so funny when the whole crew had to go on a bonding retreat. The activities were so silly and I could totally empathize. Great book! Much better than Friday Night Knitting Club if you ask me!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Chrystyna

    Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs - Trite and Predictable I have no idea why I read this. Can't remember where I picked it up or why. All I know is I was only a few chapters through when I considered giving up but, for some reason, I pressed through to the end. I guess is was just easy to read and mindless and I was looking for something easy. Gus Simpson is a widow with two grown up daughters and a successful tv cookery show. But of course there are issues with the ratings, she's been single a long tim Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs - Trite and Predictable I have no idea why I read this. Can't remember where I picked it up or why. All I know is I was only a few chapters through when I considered giving up but, for some reason, I pressed through to the end. I guess is was just easy to read and mindless and I was looking for something easy. Gus Simpson is a widow with two grown up daughters and a successful tv cookery show. But of course there are issues with the ratings, she's been single a long time and about to turn 50, her daughters don't have happy private lives, her friends and colleagues are equally dissatisfied etc. etc. Throw into the mix a new cookery co-host who is desperate for her big break and as jealous of Gus as she is of the new girl. All the usual trials and tribulations until everyone lives happily ever after. Why did I waste two days reading time on this predictable nonsense?

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kayla Mitchell

    Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs was a light hearted easy read. I acquired this book in a mystery box from Half Price Books and it was one of the better ones in the box. I definitely wouldn’t of picked this one up on my own, and I wouldn’t have been missing much had I not read this one. The book is incredibly light hearted, and the story itself is fine. Gus was a serious control freak and I definitely wanted to slap her a few times. And her daughters. And Camren Vega. And Hannah Joy Levine. Honestly Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs was a light hearted easy read. I acquired this book in a mystery box from Half Price Books and it was one of the better ones in the box. I definitely wouldn’t of picked this one up on my own, and I wouldn’t have been missing much had I not read this one. The book is incredibly light hearted, and the story itself is fine. Gus was a serious control freak and I definitely wanted to slap her a few times. And her daughters. And Camren Vega. And Hannah Joy Levine. Honestly the men were the only ones in this story I could stand. They seemed the most normal and weren’t caught up in the drama. Then magically at the end everything somehow ties up in a perfect little bow? Honestly, the last chapter could of been cut and the book would of been just fine. The book was almost sickeningly sweet. There were also way too many narrators for a book this short. It jumped around and was very much a jumbled mess. I would just get into one story line when it would suddenly jump to another. Gus would of been fine as a solo narrator...maybe with a few chapters from Carmen. Given the synopsis I also expected Gus’ 50th birthday to be a way bigger deal. Instead it was a quick blurb and never mentioned again. I thought the book would be leading up to the big 5-0 and instead it was a nonevent. This made for a good palate cleanser after some heavier reads. Decent, but not great. 3.25 🌟

  21. 4 out of 5

    Thea

    1 star for the writing. (Extra star is for the food mentioned in the book.)

  22. 4 out of 5

    Hilary

    3.75 stars A lighthearted book involving food, TV, and a bit of drama thrown in. I won't say it's on par with the Friday Night Knitting Club series but I still enjoyed it!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Craftnut

    Overall, meh. The story had promise, and it sounded like a fun read with a cooking show host having some problems keeping up with the times. But the Carmen character was flat and annoying, the situations overly contrived, and just a little too much at the end to wrap up too many storylines with neat little bows and everyone getting what they wanted. Not as good as her other books.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Char Ipacs

    The book was just ok. A “forgettable” story

  25. 4 out of 5

    Isabella

    Gus (Augusta Simpson), soon hitting the “half-century mark,”is a guru on the Cooking Channel hosting three successful shows over the last twelve years. However, even with her achievements she can’t help but feel herself becoming stale spice on the shelf, being thrown to the wayside as younger chiefs take center stage. This only worsens as her show is threatened and the only means of survival are teaming up with Carmen Vega, Miss Spain, on a new show called, “Eat, Drink and Be.” I found the predo Gus (Augusta Simpson), soon hitting the “half-century mark,”is a guru on the Cooking Channel hosting three successful shows over the last twelve years. However, even with her achievements she can’t help but feel herself becoming stale spice on the shelf, being thrown to the wayside as younger chiefs take center stage. This only worsens as her show is threatened and the only means of survival are teaming up with Carmen Vega, Miss Spain, on a new show called, “Eat, Drink and Be.” I found the predominant mother-daughter theme in the novel a well scripted relationship and quite accurate to the feelings many siblings may experience. Aimee, the eldest, is described as a “cool cucumber,” and though she has a practiced neutral expression, her feelings become apparent when she says to Gus, “’I want you. Call me sometime and don’t ask about Sabrina.” Sabrina, on the other hand, “had always been rather scattered, popular but naïve,” and as the younger sibling, took a meatier portion of Gus’s time. These issues threaten to boil over as Aimee, Sabrina, and Gus are constantly being forced into working in close proximities. The palpable tension was engaging; showing that at any age, family comes first. The story is shown through many points of views and though I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the world through the eyes of a fifty year old, “She hoped Sabrina’s Billy choked on that little picnic! Sabrina and her monstrous boyfriend,” I think the author overstepped the boundaries. I applaud her efforts to incorporate different ethnicities, but when the dialogue from an ex-Wall Street worker, organic Korean boy, tennis star and Miss Spain all start to sound the same, the endeavour distracts and left me differentiating characters in conversations by Ms. Spain’s interjection of Spanish and rather confused about everyone else. Being a light hearted story I enjoyed the airy mood it created, the headings like “Upsetting the apple cart,” and “Oil and water,” form a pleasant ambiance. A feel-good novel that tackles with the central theme: family and friends being the first priority, with cooking being the blatant symbol of the glue holding the relationships together. However, the mood couldn’t atone for the flagging plot, which never climaxes to the extent you could tell where it was. Instead, there were many hanging chapters meant to keep the reader enticed to continue, but they never quite fulfilled the promise of delivering something that matched the reader’s anticipation. Comfort Food is a well detailed novel, not meant to evoke too much thought. With banter that can be humorous – provided you can figure out who’s talking – to the underlying meaning of family, this story would be satisfying for a rainy day. There are pleasurable elements if you don’t over analyze, nevertheless this isn’t the type of book that that you’d stay up late reading.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Moira

    This book appears to be by, for, and about wealthy, perfect people. If that describes you then maybe you will love it! But I hated it! Our main protagonist (I guess? Are we supposed to root for her? I was not immediately convinced, at first I thought this was a novel about comeuppance for a smug, oblivious jerk) is innately wonderful at everything she touches, plus she is super lucky, and thus has been rewarded for her wonderfulness with her own tv show(s), so she's very rich, and also she has a This book appears to be by, for, and about wealthy, perfect people. If that describes you then maybe you will love it! But I hated it! Our main protagonist (I guess? Are we supposed to root for her? I was not immediately convinced, at first I thought this was a novel about comeuppance for a smug, oblivious jerk) is innately wonderful at everything she touches, plus she is super lucky, and thus has been rewarded for her wonderfulness with her own tv show(s), so she's very rich, and also she has a great figure (seriously, her lovely slender figure is remarked on time after time)! She has loved and lost, but mainly she has won, by virtue of her perfect perfectness that is so effortlessly perfect. In the first chapter alone, we are treated to numerous descriptions of her extravagantly dreamy (too big! nineteen rooms! ha ha being rich is so ca-razy) home, and her tax deductably renovated kitchen (really? two descriptions of her granite countertops within three pages? Is that fun for ANYone?) plus PS she also has a fancy car. Neat! Despite her no-sweat no-training comes-naturally gift for cooking and entertaining and also everyone loving her so much, she feels weird about aging. Oh... kay? Perfect skinny rich people, they're just like us! It's not just this one character that is shoved in the reader's face as wealthy and flawless. One character's introductory paragraph includes the type of sheets she owns, where she bought them, and how much they cost. Why? Who needs to know that? "Ooh I used a Macy's coupon once plus I also sleep in sheets, so we might be best friends in real life!" Another major character is a beauty queen- a literal beauty queen- whose main frustration is that people think she is Miss Europe when really she is MISS SPAIN. Come on, get it right people! So relatable! Glad I am spending my time reading about this person! The plot is not the worst, and the writing is not the worst. I've heard good things about this author and I'm not prepared to discount her entirely. There are some fun scenes and fun ideas. There are other characters and some of them seem ok, and the end is very tidy. But ultimately it all feels very... pre-recession. It feels very privileged. Very tone deaf. Like Nancy Meyers missed the chance to turn this into a movie with Patricia Heaton and Katherine Heigl with a cameo from Paula Deen and a Gwyneth Paltrow exec producer credit. In other words I HATED THIS.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gail

    Comfort Food is about Augustus "Gus" Simpson a Fiftyish television cooking show queen, who is suddenly thrown into a situation where she has to fight for her job against the younger woman who will do anything to take her job. Comfort food is a fun easy read, not a complete twinkie, but not meat and potatoes either. I would categorize it as a light lunch. There is conflict and some really unfortunate things happen to the main character, but in the end everyone gets their happily ever after. Kate Comfort Food is about Augustus "Gus" Simpson a Fiftyish television cooking show queen, who is suddenly thrown into a situation where she has to fight for her job against the younger woman who will do anything to take her job. Comfort food is a fun easy read, not a complete twinkie, but not meat and potatoes either. I would categorize it as a light lunch. There is conflict and some really unfortunate things happen to the main character, but in the end everyone gets their happily ever after. Kate Jacobs first book The Friday Night Knitting Club was much better. More conflict and a bitter sweet ending. I have not yet read the sequel and I am not sure it needed one. This book gave me a huge desire to get into the kitchen and make something fabulous. However, we were at Bear Lake in winter with just the ingredients for the planned menu and the only grocery store a very small one at the KOA. There was a fair amount of sea food mentioned in the book which reminded me of these wonderful New England Lobster Rolls we had at Epcot in October. Since is not possible to buy Lobster at the KOA in Garden City, Utah, now that we are home I may have to get some and make these as a New Years treat. Bottom Line: Clean read (No sex, violence or foul language), Light and Enjoyable but not a classic.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Chantelle Roberts

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I found the book an okay read but nothing really jumped out at me. Gus was a very fortunate person of course with her own cooking show and the expensive house, etc . . . but then we had all of these other characters that I was learning about that I wasnt really interested in. The plot wasnt really that thorough or thought through, I dont think anything really summed up why Gus needed to continue to be on the Food Channel. I was hoping for some action but all I got was how Gus amazingly became fam I found the book an okay read but nothing really jumped out at me. Gus was a very fortunate person of course with her own cooking show and the expensive house, etc . . . but then we had all of these other characters that I was learning about that I wasnt really interested in. The plot wasnt really that thorough or thought through, I dont think anything really summed up why Gus needed to continue to be on the Food Channel. I was hoping for some action but all I got was how Gus amazingly became famous by turning to cooking and then how shes trying to milk her fame. About that bonding program that everyone seemed to go on though . . . well that was pretty annoying to me. Gus is 50 for goodness sake! Why would she want to go on a bonding program with all these young people around her? Why bother actually when her life seems to be perfect (minus a man) with the end of her cooking show coming to a halt and shes obviously made money from that. That was seriously the cheesiest part of the story for me. If there was something enjoyable for me in the book, I couldnt find it. So this book is just good a read for passing the time.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    I only got another Kate Jacobs audiobook because there was nothing else left, I swear! No, actually, I liked this one better than Friday Night Knitting Club, as a matter of fact. I'm not sure what Jacobs' background with food is, but she is much better at writing about knitting, which seems to come much more naturally. Jacobs writes about her characters on the "Cooking Channel" like she's never bothered to watch the Food Network prior to publishing the book. It's all so foreign sounding and sill I only got another Kate Jacobs audiobook because there was nothing else left, I swear! No, actually, I liked this one better than Friday Night Knitting Club, as a matter of fact. I'm not sure what Jacobs' background with food is, but she is much better at writing about knitting, which seems to come much more naturally. Jacobs writes about her characters on the "Cooking Channel" like she's never bothered to watch the Food Network prior to publishing the book. It's all so foreign sounding and silly. For example, it makes no sense to have 6 regulars simultaneously cooking in the same standard-sized kitchen on a tv show, for starters. That said, this is a LOT less realistic in general, but I found the diversity of the characters better. The main character, Gus, with her neurosis and drama turning 50, isn't all that great, but everyone else is, especially Oliver, Gus' much younger love interest (who is WAY too good for her if you ask me). I just about fell asleep at the wheel listening to this for about 4 disks in the middle, but appreciated the happy ending. Who doesn't like a happy ending once in a while despite it being completely forced? :-P

  30. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    This is another of those motif-style books published for women readers, books all about knitting or quilting or tea drinking or whatever. This one is all about cooking. I've read quite a few examples of this genre, and I have to say that Kate Jacobs is one of the best authors in this group. That's not to say this is great literature. But Jacobs' characters are more developed and their problems more compelling than those in most of the books of this type that I've read. Of course, the endings are This is another of those motif-style books published for women readers, books all about knitting or quilting or tea drinking or whatever. This one is all about cooking. I've read quite a few examples of this genre, and I have to say that Kate Jacobs is one of the best authors in this group. That's not to say this is great literature. But Jacobs' characters are more developed and their problems more compelling than those in most of the books of this type that I've read. Of course, the endings are always pretty happy, but in Jacobs' case, the resolutions are not always PERFECT. This book is about a fifty-year-old host of a TV cooking show who fears getting older and being replaced by a younger, snappier version of herself. She is paired with just such a person on a new show, which grows to include appearances by her two daughters, the former fiance of one of her daughters, her reclusive neighbor and a handsome, hunky sous chef. This group's interpersonal entanglements propel the story, and the result is light, enjoyable reading.

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