With the holidays on the horizon, I have been thinking of the power of food and cooking to unite us. It can also divide us; for example, should stuffing have sausage in it? (For the teacher’s pets out there, the correct answer is, “Absolutely not.”)
In the Rajes series by Sonali Dev, food symbolizes each character’s past, present, and for some, it is their love language.
In Book 1, Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors, the only thing Trisha, a neurosurgeon, and DJ, an accomplished chef, can agree upon is that DJ’s cooking is nothing short of a miracle.
Thrown together when DJ’s sister Emma is diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor and Trisha is the only doctor who can save her, the pair gets off to a rocky start. It is fitting Trisha is a neurosurgeon as she is entirely cerebral, so much so that she spends a lot of time saying the worst possible thing. She saves her worst gaffes for DJ, including one of the clumsiest, most ill-received declarations of love ever found in a romance novel.
Although Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors fits nicely into the enemies-to-lovers trope, there is so much more at play; class, privilege, family, and the healing power of food are all blended seamlessly. Kamrun Nesha summarizes the themes brilliantly in her NPR review.
It’s a rare and joyful experience to read a story where the author clearly loves her characters, so I was delighted to realize there are two more books in the series. Recipe for Persuasion tells the story of Ashna Raje, a chef who goes on Cooking with the Stars (which I wish was a real show) in an attempt to save her restaurant. Incense and Sensibility rounds out the trilogy with the story of Trisha’s older brother and political up-and-comer, Yash.
Find your copy of Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors from your favorite retailer.
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