“Food Whore: A Novel of Dining and Deceit” by Jessica Tom proffers a menu of scintillating secrets, shameless shape shifting, and unctuous descriptions of delectable dishes. Tia Monroe, Yonkers born, twenty-something, recent Yale graduate comes to the Big Apple to achieve her MA in Food Studies at NYU. During Internship Night Tia literally loses her cookies and is fatefully discovered by incognito food critic Michael Saltz.
Excessively self conscious, “Food Whore” reads like another New York dreams-gone-awry story. The constant listing of fashion designers clutters up finessed detail of menu items and distracts from the story unfolding. A welcome compensation for the Sex in the City mimicry is the tantalizing tension between protagonist, secret protege Tia, and antagonist failing food critic, Michael Saltz. The more they participate in their dance of deception the more readers dislike them for their starvation for notoriety.
For a palate cleanser, a subtle plot twist weaves key characters and back stories together and secrets are unburdened. Tia discovers that no matter what a chef does to an ingredient, the best flavor is always itself. “Food Whore” makes it to my shelf, less for its story, and more for the gorgeous narration of our ever evolving epicurean estate.
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