Restaurant Audio: Bread and Butter by Michelle Wildgen, 2014 (original print date), downloaded from Wisconsin Digital Library.
Wildgen came out to the library two or three years ago for an author visit. I ended up really enjoying the excerpt she read. And that is saying something because I not only don't give a rat's ass about cookbooks, cooking shows, and food novels but I look down on them. Why do I look down on them? Because I don't need a reason, Bub. And because I just don't. So there.
Anyhoo. Three brothers grow up about 45 minutes outside Philadelphia. The two older brothers, Leo and Britt, end up in the restaurant business and run a successful high-ish end restaurant in their home town. Harry is the youngest by about seven years. After a few peripatetic years as a student, beginning scholar, and cook in a remote restaurant he is back home and looking to start his own restaurant.
The story covers one year as Harry opens his restaurant, Leo and Britt fall in love, Harry gets manic and depressed, and Wildgen writes interesting details about restaurants and restaurant work. The characters were fine but they never did anything that much interested me. The restaurant details were enlightening. Of course that detail would mean nothing with crappy characters. The characters were not crappy, I just didn't much care what they were going through.
That's about all. This is literary fiction and sort of a domestic drama (I suppose). I certainly stayed engaged enough to finish, but the business side of the story was most interesting. Hiring people, sometimes frequent staff turnover, the planning needed for menus and decor and supplies, the skill needed to quickly prepare and cook meals, one reason booze is a great money maker is that it needs minimal prep work, the incredibly long hours worked by owners or managers.
1. A pal of Wildgen's (Susanna Daniel) came over to the library 1-2 years previous to Wildgen's visit and one person showed up to hear Daniel. One person! We invited Daniel for a Friday night reading and the weather that night sucked. The was a constant drizzling rain, it was dark, it was the opening of deer season, and there was a competing downtown event of wine and shopping and wine marketed at women.
2. Dang, I just checked the Wisconsin Digital Library and although there is a reading list of Wisconsin Born and Read for WI authors the list is lacking a bunch of fiction writers who live in WI. Wildgen, Daniels, that lady up North, the famous guy from Milwaukee, the thriller writer from Milwaukee, that lady on the Library Board over in Delavan. (Pewaukee? Muskego? One of those libraries.)
3. There is an ebook edition of Aztalan: mysteries of an ancient Indian town with a three week wait. Aztalan State Park is about two miles away and I've still not read this book since it came out in 2005.