15 August 2015

Weekend Cooking: Vintage by David Baker

Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.

Vintage by David BakerQuick take: David Baker's Vintage is a fun romp through the world of wine as a down-and-out food writer makes a last-ditch effort to save his career and his marriage by attempting to track down a bottle of one the rarest vintages from a small French vineyard.

General plot: Bruno Tannenbaum--a Chicago food journalist--was once a crack reporter and successful book author; however, it's been years since he's felt the spark and confidence to write well. It doesn't help that he drinks a little bit more than he should and that he just can't seem to stick to budget, especially when it comes to food.

After he's been fired from his newspaper job, his friend Aleksei offers Bruno a job cataloging a wine cellar that has recently come into his possession. Bruno knows better than to ask Aleksei how he acquired the wine and happily takes on the task.

But checking out the wine is far from simple. After a series of zany and unfortunate events, Bruno finds himself on the search for a rare bottle of French wine made during the Nazi occupation. With a Russian soldier after him and a competitive reporter racing him, Bruno sets off for Europe with little more than hope and a prayer.

In the end, Bruno discovers much more than what he was looking for.

Thoughts: Vintage is a like a madcap adventure in which Bruno, a techno dinosaur, gets in to more trouble than seems possible. Fortunately, he's a charming man and makes friends easily, so he also gets out of trouble, despite a few bumps on the head. Although I liked Bruno and the story was entertaining, the best parts of the novel were the descriptions of food, cooking, and wine.

Here Bruno's telling someone how to make elk tenderloin:
Stud with garlic spears. Brush with olive oil. Good stuff. Extra, extra. Roll in fresh-cracked black pepper, not too sharp, a bit crunchy You want it seared on the outside but real pink in the middle. You're going for contrast here. Grill it. Soon as the juice is clear, you're done. Got that?
Bruno goes on to suggest serving it with grilled asparagus and wild rice and a good-quality Pommard Premier Cru or Oregon Pinot. Yummm.

Recommendation: David Baker's novel may not be the most literary you've read all year, but if you like wine, food, and a crazy adventure, then give Vintage a try. Start reading on a lazy weekend afternoon--accompanied by a glass of wine, of course--and you'll be finished just in time to cook up a lovely Bruno-inspired dinner.

Published by Touchstone, September 2015
ISBN-13: 9781501112515
Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


bermudaonion 8/15/15, 7:16 AM  

We all need a fun book like that from time to time!

Katherine P 8/15/15, 7:54 AM  

This sounds fun! I like zany adventures and the hunt for a rare bottle of wine sounds intriguing.

rhapsodyinbooks 8/15/15, 8:46 AM  

Wine and food - sounds good to me!

Kay 8/15/15, 9:17 AM  

This book sounds fun! However, I've just been to an area where elks roam and I don't think I could bear to eat some part of them right now. :-)

Jackie McGuinness 8/15/15, 9:17 AM  

Food is always fun to read about! I have a couple of issues of the LCBO Food and Drink magazine to read this weekend.
Have a look

Karen 8/15/15, 10:11 AM  

Have you read THAT PART WAS TRUE by Deborah McKinlay? It's a quick and pleasant novel—also with some nice food descriptions! I reviewed it this past week (but chose to post a recipe for today's Weekend Cooking instead): http://verbatim.blogs.com/verbatim/2015/08/two-days-two-books.html

Nan 8/15/15, 1:27 PM  

I seem to recall Peter Mayle writing some fictional romps involving wine.

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