In Kitchens of the Great Midwest a series of interlinked short stories tell a rising young chef life story.
Each short story is a chapter that is named for an ingredient or recipe that is somehow pertinent to her life. “Lutefisk, “a dish most readers probably haven’t heard of, introduces us to Eva and her parents.
In “Chocolate Habanero” Eva gets revenge against schoolyard bullies with her extra-hot, home-grown, habaneros. Since she can tolerate extremely hot flavors, Eva and an older cousin, Braque, enter into an ill-fated money-making scheme.
“Sweet Pepper Jelly,” continues the spicy flavor theme as Eva and Braque’s plans unravel. In “Walleye” Eva meets a boy and continues her culinary education.
Later, in “Golden Bantam” Eva meets other chefs who host social dinner parties. The dinner parties are her entrance into the culinary big leagues and vital to her later success.
Two other stories, “Venison” and “Bars,” introduce readers to more quirky characters.
The final chapter “The Dinner” comes full circle. In a fantastic finale people who have known Eva are inadvertently thrown together to taste one of her high-priced dinners.
Ironic and darkly humorous, this novel is a wonderful read. Book clubs and anyone looking for quirky, yet delightful story will enjoy this book.