Adam Temple has finally opened the restaurant of his dreams: Market, a local, organic, seasonal produce-driven restaurant. Invited to the opening night cocktail party is Miranda Wake, Manhattan food-critic extraordinaire, known for her scathing reviews of every restaurant from Uptown to Wall Street. When Adam serves nothing but cocktails at the cocktail hour, Miranda finds herself rip-roaringly drunk and challenges him to let her spend a month in his kitchen. Against his better judgment he agrees, only to discover that New York’s toughest food critic can barely boil water. Thus begins Miranda’s lessons in cooking and in matters of the heart.
I had mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand,
the story is plotted with care and the dialogue is spot-on. However, there were two
distractions that, by the end of the book, were more than I could overlook. First, it
is evident that Louisa Edwards knew the ins and outs of the foodie world. In fact, food was intertwined throughout the entire novel: “Happiness bubbled through her veins, popping and fizzing like sparkling wine.” “Getting personal information out of her was like trying to peel a tomato without blanching it first.” However, by the end of the novel, I
had tired of reading food analogies and similes at every turn.
Second, and possibly more contentious: Miranda is not likeable. She is a bit of a shrew, shrill and unwavering in her at-times misguided beliefs. Adam
being so nice by contrast, I almost didn’t want him to fall for her. I don’t mind a book where the hero and heroine start off at each other’s throats,
but it takes too long for Miranda and Adam to get past their initial mutual dislike.
Because it takes so long, and their hate seems so deep, it's hard to believe that they have fallen for each other by the end.
Can't Stand the Heat (A Recipe for Love) isn’t the best book I've read this year, but it is a good effort by Louisa Edwards, especially for being a debut author. I would certainly read another book by her.