Booktalking "A La Carte" by Tanita Davis
Elaine, or Laine, as she is called, absolutely loves being in the kitchen, and she is sure that she wants to enter into a culinary career straight out of high school. She forgets all of her worries when she is cooking. But her mother is not so sure. She wants her to get additional schooling prior to entering the world of food full-time.
Laine used to be overweight. Her mother used food to soothe her emotional hurts. However, Laine astutely comments, "But food makes a sloppy bandage." Laine's mother is a cook in the restaurant where Laine also works. They both are amazingly creative, continually throwing around menu suggestions to each other for the restaurant.
Laine refers to Julia Child as "Saint Julia." When she is dragged on a camping trip with her mother's pick of a boy for her, Laine is able to come up with delectable dinner options from the Haines' boxed and packaged pantry, along with fresh vegetables that vegetarian Laine thought to bring with her and a few items from the country store. Everyone is impressed.
On the camping trip that she dreaded and tried fervently to avoid, the fledgling cook even meets someone who wants to feature her on a cooking show.
I love how the prose is interspersed with hand-written recipes in this book. The book ends with a recipe, illustrating how passionate Lainey is about culinary works of art. I also love the heart swirls on the page beginning each chapter. They are somewhat reminiscent of cappuccino swirls.