When Isabel meets Edward, both are at a crossroads: he wants to follow his late wife to the grave, and she is ready to give up on love. Read more...
When Isabel meets Edward, both are at a crossroads: he wants to follow his late wife to the grave, and she is ready to give up on love. Thinking she is merely helping Edward's daughter--who lives far away and has asked her to check in on her nonagenarian dad in New York--Isabel has no idea that the man in the kitchen baking the sublime roast chicken and light-as-air apricot souffle will end up changing her life.
As Edward and Isabel meet weekly for the glorious dinners that Edward prepares, he shares so much more than his recipes for apple galette or the perfect martini, or even his tips for deboning poultry. Edward is teaching Isabel the luxury of slowing down and taking the time to think through everything she does, to deconstruct her own life, cutting it back to the bone and examining the guts, no matter how messy that proves to be.
Dinner with Edward is a book about love and nourishment, and about how dinner with a friend can, in the words of M. F. K. Fisher, "sustain us against the hungers of the world."
"A rare, beautifully crafted memoir that leaves you exhilarated and wanting to live this way. Edward is a marvel of resilience and dignity, and Vincent shows us that the ceremony of food is really a metaphor for love. The key is to live your life generously." --Rosemary Sullivan, author of Stalin's Daughter
"Isabel Vincent delves deeply into matters of the kitchen and the heart with equal and unabashed passion . . . Rich with description of meals savored, losses grieved, and moments cherished, it's at once tender, revealing, and utterly enchanting " --*Gail Simmons, judge on Bravo's Top Chef and author of Talking with My Mouth Full
"One of the most stylish and emotional works of nonfiction I have ever read. I savored every page." --Bob Colacello, author Holy Terror: Andy Warhol Close Up
"Although the food (I am partial to the roast chicken, lovingly described) is excellent, it is the charming and effortlessly wise company that makes this sweet read
a charming way to pass a day." --George Hodgman, New York Times bestselling author of Bettyville
"Delightfully combining the warm-heartedness of Tuesdays with Morrie with the sensual splendor of Julie and Julia. This is a memoir to treasure." --Booklist, starred review
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-02-22
- Reviewer: Staff
Vincent, a journalist for the New York Post, employs the rich language of a novelist and the economy of a reporter in this food-focused memoir. She buckles momentarily under the strife of life and the hurdles of divorce but opens her palate to a new relationship when Edward, a 93-year-old widower, teaches her to appreciate the art of living. Food lovers will swoon from the first chapter and opening menu as Vincent begins to relish their weekly tête-à-tête and Edward’s handwritten French recipes. In addition to the subtleties of cooking, she discovers what a fairy tale marriage Edward had with Paula, his wife of 69 years. She sees photos of Paula all over the apartment, and especially feels her presence in the kitchen where Edward fashions his delicate meals. It is easy to fall deeply for Edward’s tender heart as Vincent learns how he has savored his life, and over time, begins to create a life that’s more inviting and full for herself. Readers will finish the book satisfied, yet wanting more. (May)
Table for two
BookPage Nonfiction Top Pick, June 2016
When Isabel Vincent’s friend suggested that she have dinner with her recently widowed, 93-year-old father, Vincent was in need of a lift. She had just moved to New York City to take a job as an investigative reporter with the New York Post, and her marriage was falling apart.
“I don’t know if the temptation of a good meal did it for me, or if I was just so lonely that even the prospect of spending time with a depressed nonagenarian seemed appealing,” she writes, adding, “Whatever it was, I could never have imagined that meeting Edward would change my life.”
She chronicles their time together in the touching Dinner with Edward: A Story of an Unexpected Friendship, in which she not only rediscovers herself, but also realizes that this lonely geriatric is a charming poet at heart, full of wisdom about love and marriage.
A refined, self-taught intellectual and old-fashioned gentleman, Edward can also cook—as in really cook. Vincent begins each chapter with a menu, full of dishes like herb-roasted chicken in a paper bag (one of Edward’s many specialties), pan-fried potatoes with gruyère and his signature dessert, apple and pear galette (the secret to which is using crushed ice and lard, he insists). Two warnings: Don’t read this book on an empty stomach because the mouth-watering food descriptions will drive you mad, and don’t expect to find recipes.
As this unexpected friendship deepens, Edward becomes Vincent’s much-needed “fairy godfather,” cheerleader, sounding board and shoulder to cry on. He advises her to wear lots of lipstick and takes her to Saks to buy a pricey dress. He tells wonderful tales of his past, while Vincent confides her marriage woes, and later, after her divorce, shares stories of her new beaus.
Soon Vincent realizes, “Joy, happiness—it snuck up on me every time I saw Edward.” Readers will savor their every encounter and turn each page wishing they could have been there.