Edward comes into Isabel's life when both of them are struggling with monumental life changes. At 93, he has just lost his wife, and middle-aged Isabel is coming to terms with the fact that her unhappy marriage is ending. She accepts an invitation to dinner at Edward's as a favor to a friend. Edward's daughters live abroad, and Isabel agrees to dine with him as a surrogate daughter of sorts to keep him company. It turns out to be a mutually beneficial relationship as the two of them use their frequent dinners together to provide moral support as well as companionship.
Isabel Vincent's memoir is uplifting and thoughtful in its insights into her own mid-life problems and those of her 93-year-old friend, Edward. Each chapter revolves around a meal they share and relates not only Edward's culinary tips and tricks but also his philosophical advice about life. The anecdotes Vincent shares about her time with Edward and Edward's own reminiscences are moving, and his compassionate insights about life and love prompt Vincent -- and the reader -- to value the small things and strive for a life well-lived. He extols the virtues of a great many things, including having at least one expensive, dynamite outfit that makes you feel like a million bucks and the importance of using a combination of butter, lard and crushed ice to attain pie crust perfection. This is a gentle, quick read with the feel-good vibes of a hug or a mug of hot chocolate.
Reviewed by ba, 08/16. Other reviews by ba.