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The Daily Byte: Stories We're Reading

The Daily Byte: Stories We're Reading

The Daily Meal is dedicated to consuming and analyzing the latest food news and trends. From a study that found a positive link between exercise and alcohol consumption to a look at America's food deserts, our editorial staff has gathered some of last week's most interesting stories.

To meet online demand, Finnish baker, Simo Kuusisto and his brother have taken to baking Nordic breads at a Queens bakery. [The New York Times]

Head to the 92nd St. Y on Tuesday for a screening of 'The Restaurateur,' Roger Sherman's documentary about Danny Meyer's road to success. The man behind Gramercy Tavern and Shake Shack will be there to field questions. [Feast]

'Food Deserts' are on the rise in the U.S. The number of people who don't have a car and live more than a mile from the closest grocery store continues to climb. The Department of Agriculture released its 2009 findings, and this trend is most prevalent in the South and the Midwest. [Eater]

The fried chicken chain Chick-fil-A is supporting a series of anti-gay and anti-marriage-equality conferences in Pennsylvania next month. Liberal-leaning chicken sandwich lovers may be switching fast-food allegiance. [Grub Street Philadelphia]

Starbucks debuted a new logo last week, and responses have been mixed. Whether or not the change is fright inducing, it has been interesting to chart reactions. [The Washington Post]

The New York Times published an article last week claiming that there may be a positive link between exercise and alcohol consumption. [Well, The New York Times]

A look at Tropical Race Four, the soil-borne fungus threatening the Cavendish banana industry. Scientists are working to create a genetically modified Cavendish fruit before the blight reaches Central America. [The New Yorker]

According to the USDA, sulfites are forbidden in organic products. However, many winemakers consider the preservative vital to their process. The result? An increase in the number of winemakers boycotting the organic seal of approval. [Los Angeles Times]

Has the rise in popularity of having sommeliers at restaurants diluted the quality of the profession? [The Zester Daily]

Last month, Ron Jeremy premiered his own rum. Now, it seems he will starr in an adult film about a popular L.A. food truck. It's safe to say the food truck trend has gone mainstream. [Los Angeles Times]

Mark Bittman's book, "The Food Matters Cookbook" is full of tips on how to eat food that is healthy, delicious and affordable. Highlights include how to keep your pantry stocked, and why prepping vegetables right after you get home will increase your chances of eating them. [Shine from Yahoo]

Recommended tools, tricks of the trade, guilty-pleasure foods—it's all in the Saveur 100: Chefs' Edition. [Saveur]

The Daily Byte is a regular column dedicated to covering interesting food news and trends across the country. Click here for the previous The Daily Byte.


On 'The Kitchen Front,' 4 Women Cook Their Way To Victory

War is hell. But it's also pretty crummy on the homefront — especially if you're a woman with few options (read, a woman) in World War II-era England. But what if you could cook your way to a better life?

That's the basic premise of The Kitchen Front, the third novel from Jennifer Ryan, and the third to be set in England during World War II. As in her best-selling The Chilbury Ladies' Choir, the story concerns itself with the struggles and resilience of village women, but this time around, the action revolves around a cooking competition.

It's 1942, and Britain is reeling from the hardships of war. German U-boats are cutting off food imports, and women are being urged to keep calm and carry on in the kitchen. That isn't easy when staples like butter, sugar, cheese, eggs, milk and meats are being rationed. (You know it's bad when even tea is in short supply for the Brits.)

To help housewives get creative with limited ingredients, the BBC runs a radio program called The Kitchen Front — hosted by a man. The Beeb decides the show needs a woman's touch, so it launches a three-part cooking contest, and the winner will become the new female co-host.

Books

A Blitz Of Mother Love In 'Spies Of Shilling Lane'

For the four competitors, the stakes are high (and the steaks, hard to come by.) First, there is Audrey, a war widow with three children to raise, a dilapidated home and a mountain of debt who is barely scraping by with her pie business. Also in the running is her estranged sister, Gwendoline, a snobbish social climber whose marriage to a wealthy factory owner is not all it appears to be. Then there's Zelda, an unmarried, London-trained chef resolved to claw her way to the top of a male-dominated profession — with a secret pregnancy that could derail everything. And finally Nell, an orphaned kitchen maid with more talent than faith in herself.

When we first meet our contenders, it may seem obvious who we're supposed to root for. But as the story unfolds, Ryan peels back the layers of her main characters like an onion, revealing each to be multidimensional, flawed but compelling in her own way.

The end result is a charming tale that will satiate a lot of different tastes: historical fiction lovers, cooking competition fans, anyone who revels in girl-power lit.

The novel is structured around the three rounds of the competition. Each round takes place once a month and offers an opportunity for ingenuity and intrigue. (What can I say? Cheaters gonna cheat.) Ultimately, though, this is less a wartime version of Cutthroat Kitchen than what I think of as "the sisterhood of the travelling pans:" a heartwarming story of four women determined to make their own way in the world, who find unexpected friendship — and strength — in each other.

Though the story can at times dip into the treacly, Ryan knows how to keep the pace moving, with subplots involving a handsome, caddish chef, an abusive husband and a romance with a prisoner of war. The end result is a charming tale that will satiate a lot of different tastes: historical fiction lovers, cooking competition fans, anyone who revels in girl-power lit. There are even ration-era recipes for food history geeks like yours truly (though I can't say I'm tempted to try whale meat pie anytime soon).

Toss it all together and you've got a comfort-food read I gobbled right up. It seems fitting that I finished reading the final pages while chopping celery for mirepoix in my kitchen — this story had me so hooked, I literally couldn't put it down to cook.


On 'The Kitchen Front,' 4 Women Cook Their Way To Victory

War is hell. But it's also pretty crummy on the homefront — especially if you're a woman with few options (read, a woman) in World War II-era England. But what if you could cook your way to a better life?

That's the basic premise of The Kitchen Front, the third novel from Jennifer Ryan, and the third to be set in England during World War II. As in her best-selling The Chilbury Ladies' Choir, the story concerns itself with the struggles and resilience of village women, but this time around, the action revolves around a cooking competition.

It's 1942, and Britain is reeling from the hardships of war. German U-boats are cutting off food imports, and women are being urged to keep calm and carry on in the kitchen. That isn't easy when staples like butter, sugar, cheese, eggs, milk and meats are being rationed. (You know it's bad when even tea is in short supply for the Brits.)

To help housewives get creative with limited ingredients, the BBC runs a radio program called The Kitchen Front — hosted by a man. The Beeb decides the show needs a woman's touch, so it launches a three-part cooking contest, and the winner will become the new female co-host.

Books

A Blitz Of Mother Love In 'Spies Of Shilling Lane'

For the four competitors, the stakes are high (and the steaks, hard to come by.) First, there is Audrey, a war widow with three children to raise, a dilapidated home and a mountain of debt who is barely scraping by with her pie business. Also in the running is her estranged sister, Gwendoline, a snobbish social climber whose marriage to a wealthy factory owner is not all it appears to be. Then there's Zelda, an unmarried, London-trained chef resolved to claw her way to the top of a male-dominated profession — with a secret pregnancy that could derail everything. And finally Nell, an orphaned kitchen maid with more talent than faith in herself.

When we first meet our contenders, it may seem obvious who we're supposed to root for. But as the story unfolds, Ryan peels back the layers of her main characters like an onion, revealing each to be multidimensional, flawed but compelling in her own way.

The end result is a charming tale that will satiate a lot of different tastes: historical fiction lovers, cooking competition fans, anyone who revels in girl-power lit.

The novel is structured around the three rounds of the competition. Each round takes place once a month and offers an opportunity for ingenuity and intrigue. (What can I say? Cheaters gonna cheat.) Ultimately, though, this is less a wartime version of Cutthroat Kitchen than what I think of as "the sisterhood of the travelling pans:" a heartwarming story of four women determined to make their own way in the world, who find unexpected friendship — and strength — in each other.

Though the story can at times dip into the treacly, Ryan knows how to keep the pace moving, with subplots involving a handsome, caddish chef, an abusive husband and a romance with a prisoner of war. The end result is a charming tale that will satiate a lot of different tastes: historical fiction lovers, cooking competition fans, anyone who revels in girl-power lit. There are even ration-era recipes for food history geeks like yours truly (though I can't say I'm tempted to try whale meat pie anytime soon).

Toss it all together and you've got a comfort-food read I gobbled right up. It seems fitting that I finished reading the final pages while chopping celery for mirepoix in my kitchen — this story had me so hooked, I literally couldn't put it down to cook.


On 'The Kitchen Front,' 4 Women Cook Their Way To Victory

War is hell. But it's also pretty crummy on the homefront — especially if you're a woman with few options (read, a woman) in World War II-era England. But what if you could cook your way to a better life?

That's the basic premise of The Kitchen Front, the third novel from Jennifer Ryan, and the third to be set in England during World War II. As in her best-selling The Chilbury Ladies' Choir, the story concerns itself with the struggles and resilience of village women, but this time around, the action revolves around a cooking competition.

It's 1942, and Britain is reeling from the hardships of war. German U-boats are cutting off food imports, and women are being urged to keep calm and carry on in the kitchen. That isn't easy when staples like butter, sugar, cheese, eggs, milk and meats are being rationed. (You know it's bad when even tea is in short supply for the Brits.)

To help housewives get creative with limited ingredients, the BBC runs a radio program called The Kitchen Front — hosted by a man. The Beeb decides the show needs a woman's touch, so it launches a three-part cooking contest, and the winner will become the new female co-host.

Books

A Blitz Of Mother Love In 'Spies Of Shilling Lane'

For the four competitors, the stakes are high (and the steaks, hard to come by.) First, there is Audrey, a war widow with three children to raise, a dilapidated home and a mountain of debt who is barely scraping by with her pie business. Also in the running is her estranged sister, Gwendoline, a snobbish social climber whose marriage to a wealthy factory owner is not all it appears to be. Then there's Zelda, an unmarried, London-trained chef resolved to claw her way to the top of a male-dominated profession — with a secret pregnancy that could derail everything. And finally Nell, an orphaned kitchen maid with more talent than faith in herself.

When we first meet our contenders, it may seem obvious who we're supposed to root for. But as the story unfolds, Ryan peels back the layers of her main characters like an onion, revealing each to be multidimensional, flawed but compelling in her own way.

The end result is a charming tale that will satiate a lot of different tastes: historical fiction lovers, cooking competition fans, anyone who revels in girl-power lit.

The novel is structured around the three rounds of the competition. Each round takes place once a month and offers an opportunity for ingenuity and intrigue. (What can I say? Cheaters gonna cheat.) Ultimately, though, this is less a wartime version of Cutthroat Kitchen than what I think of as "the sisterhood of the travelling pans:" a heartwarming story of four women determined to make their own way in the world, who find unexpected friendship — and strength — in each other.

Though the story can at times dip into the treacly, Ryan knows how to keep the pace moving, with subplots involving a handsome, caddish chef, an abusive husband and a romance with a prisoner of war. The end result is a charming tale that will satiate a lot of different tastes: historical fiction lovers, cooking competition fans, anyone who revels in girl-power lit. There are even ration-era recipes for food history geeks like yours truly (though I can't say I'm tempted to try whale meat pie anytime soon).

Toss it all together and you've got a comfort-food read I gobbled right up. It seems fitting that I finished reading the final pages while chopping celery for mirepoix in my kitchen — this story had me so hooked, I literally couldn't put it down to cook.


On 'The Kitchen Front,' 4 Women Cook Their Way To Victory

War is hell. But it's also pretty crummy on the homefront — especially if you're a woman with few options (read, a woman) in World War II-era England. But what if you could cook your way to a better life?

That's the basic premise of The Kitchen Front, the third novel from Jennifer Ryan, and the third to be set in England during World War II. As in her best-selling The Chilbury Ladies' Choir, the story concerns itself with the struggles and resilience of village women, but this time around, the action revolves around a cooking competition.

It's 1942, and Britain is reeling from the hardships of war. German U-boats are cutting off food imports, and women are being urged to keep calm and carry on in the kitchen. That isn't easy when staples like butter, sugar, cheese, eggs, milk and meats are being rationed. (You know it's bad when even tea is in short supply for the Brits.)

To help housewives get creative with limited ingredients, the BBC runs a radio program called The Kitchen Front — hosted by a man. The Beeb decides the show needs a woman's touch, so it launches a three-part cooking contest, and the winner will become the new female co-host.

Books

A Blitz Of Mother Love In 'Spies Of Shilling Lane'

For the four competitors, the stakes are high (and the steaks, hard to come by.) First, there is Audrey, a war widow with three children to raise, a dilapidated home and a mountain of debt who is barely scraping by with her pie business. Also in the running is her estranged sister, Gwendoline, a snobbish social climber whose marriage to a wealthy factory owner is not all it appears to be. Then there's Zelda, an unmarried, London-trained chef resolved to claw her way to the top of a male-dominated profession — with a secret pregnancy that could derail everything. And finally Nell, an orphaned kitchen maid with more talent than faith in herself.

When we first meet our contenders, it may seem obvious who we're supposed to root for. But as the story unfolds, Ryan peels back the layers of her main characters like an onion, revealing each to be multidimensional, flawed but compelling in her own way.

The end result is a charming tale that will satiate a lot of different tastes: historical fiction lovers, cooking competition fans, anyone who revels in girl-power lit.

The novel is structured around the three rounds of the competition. Each round takes place once a month and offers an opportunity for ingenuity and intrigue. (What can I say? Cheaters gonna cheat.) Ultimately, though, this is less a wartime version of Cutthroat Kitchen than what I think of as "the sisterhood of the travelling pans:" a heartwarming story of four women determined to make their own way in the world, who find unexpected friendship — and strength — in each other.

Though the story can at times dip into the treacly, Ryan knows how to keep the pace moving, with subplots involving a handsome, caddish chef, an abusive husband and a romance with a prisoner of war. The end result is a charming tale that will satiate a lot of different tastes: historical fiction lovers, cooking competition fans, anyone who revels in girl-power lit. There are even ration-era recipes for food history geeks like yours truly (though I can't say I'm tempted to try whale meat pie anytime soon).

Toss it all together and you've got a comfort-food read I gobbled right up. It seems fitting that I finished reading the final pages while chopping celery for mirepoix in my kitchen — this story had me so hooked, I literally couldn't put it down to cook.


On 'The Kitchen Front,' 4 Women Cook Their Way To Victory

War is hell. But it's also pretty crummy on the homefront — especially if you're a woman with few options (read, a woman) in World War II-era England. But what if you could cook your way to a better life?

That's the basic premise of The Kitchen Front, the third novel from Jennifer Ryan, and the third to be set in England during World War II. As in her best-selling The Chilbury Ladies' Choir, the story concerns itself with the struggles and resilience of village women, but this time around, the action revolves around a cooking competition.

It's 1942, and Britain is reeling from the hardships of war. German U-boats are cutting off food imports, and women are being urged to keep calm and carry on in the kitchen. That isn't easy when staples like butter, sugar, cheese, eggs, milk and meats are being rationed. (You know it's bad when even tea is in short supply for the Brits.)

To help housewives get creative with limited ingredients, the BBC runs a radio program called The Kitchen Front — hosted by a man. The Beeb decides the show needs a woman's touch, so it launches a three-part cooking contest, and the winner will become the new female co-host.

Books

A Blitz Of Mother Love In 'Spies Of Shilling Lane'

For the four competitors, the stakes are high (and the steaks, hard to come by.) First, there is Audrey, a war widow with three children to raise, a dilapidated home and a mountain of debt who is barely scraping by with her pie business. Also in the running is her estranged sister, Gwendoline, a snobbish social climber whose marriage to a wealthy factory owner is not all it appears to be. Then there's Zelda, an unmarried, London-trained chef resolved to claw her way to the top of a male-dominated profession — with a secret pregnancy that could derail everything. And finally Nell, an orphaned kitchen maid with more talent than faith in herself.

When we first meet our contenders, it may seem obvious who we're supposed to root for. But as the story unfolds, Ryan peels back the layers of her main characters like an onion, revealing each to be multidimensional, flawed but compelling in her own way.

The end result is a charming tale that will satiate a lot of different tastes: historical fiction lovers, cooking competition fans, anyone who revels in girl-power lit.

The novel is structured around the three rounds of the competition. Each round takes place once a month and offers an opportunity for ingenuity and intrigue. (What can I say? Cheaters gonna cheat.) Ultimately, though, this is less a wartime version of Cutthroat Kitchen than what I think of as "the sisterhood of the travelling pans:" a heartwarming story of four women determined to make their own way in the world, who find unexpected friendship — and strength — in each other.

Though the story can at times dip into the treacly, Ryan knows how to keep the pace moving, with subplots involving a handsome, caddish chef, an abusive husband and a romance with a prisoner of war. The end result is a charming tale that will satiate a lot of different tastes: historical fiction lovers, cooking competition fans, anyone who revels in girl-power lit. There are even ration-era recipes for food history geeks like yours truly (though I can't say I'm tempted to try whale meat pie anytime soon).

Toss it all together and you've got a comfort-food read I gobbled right up. It seems fitting that I finished reading the final pages while chopping celery for mirepoix in my kitchen — this story had me so hooked, I literally couldn't put it down to cook.


On 'The Kitchen Front,' 4 Women Cook Their Way To Victory

War is hell. But it's also pretty crummy on the homefront — especially if you're a woman with few options (read, a woman) in World War II-era England. But what if you could cook your way to a better life?

That's the basic premise of The Kitchen Front, the third novel from Jennifer Ryan, and the third to be set in England during World War II. As in her best-selling The Chilbury Ladies' Choir, the story concerns itself with the struggles and resilience of village women, but this time around, the action revolves around a cooking competition.

It's 1942, and Britain is reeling from the hardships of war. German U-boats are cutting off food imports, and women are being urged to keep calm and carry on in the kitchen. That isn't easy when staples like butter, sugar, cheese, eggs, milk and meats are being rationed. (You know it's bad when even tea is in short supply for the Brits.)

To help housewives get creative with limited ingredients, the BBC runs a radio program called The Kitchen Front — hosted by a man. The Beeb decides the show needs a woman's touch, so it launches a three-part cooking contest, and the winner will become the new female co-host.

Books

A Blitz Of Mother Love In 'Spies Of Shilling Lane'

For the four competitors, the stakes are high (and the steaks, hard to come by.) First, there is Audrey, a war widow with three children to raise, a dilapidated home and a mountain of debt who is barely scraping by with her pie business. Also in the running is her estranged sister, Gwendoline, a snobbish social climber whose marriage to a wealthy factory owner is not all it appears to be. Then there's Zelda, an unmarried, London-trained chef resolved to claw her way to the top of a male-dominated profession — with a secret pregnancy that could derail everything. And finally Nell, an orphaned kitchen maid with more talent than faith in herself.

When we first meet our contenders, it may seem obvious who we're supposed to root for. But as the story unfolds, Ryan peels back the layers of her main characters like an onion, revealing each to be multidimensional, flawed but compelling in her own way.

The end result is a charming tale that will satiate a lot of different tastes: historical fiction lovers, cooking competition fans, anyone who revels in girl-power lit.

The novel is structured around the three rounds of the competition. Each round takes place once a month and offers an opportunity for ingenuity and intrigue. (What can I say? Cheaters gonna cheat.) Ultimately, though, this is less a wartime version of Cutthroat Kitchen than what I think of as "the sisterhood of the travelling pans:" a heartwarming story of four women determined to make their own way in the world, who find unexpected friendship — and strength — in each other.

Though the story can at times dip into the treacly, Ryan knows how to keep the pace moving, with subplots involving a handsome, caddish chef, an abusive husband and a romance with a prisoner of war. The end result is a charming tale that will satiate a lot of different tastes: historical fiction lovers, cooking competition fans, anyone who revels in girl-power lit. There are even ration-era recipes for food history geeks like yours truly (though I can't say I'm tempted to try whale meat pie anytime soon).

Toss it all together and you've got a comfort-food read I gobbled right up. It seems fitting that I finished reading the final pages while chopping celery for mirepoix in my kitchen — this story had me so hooked, I literally couldn't put it down to cook.


On 'The Kitchen Front,' 4 Women Cook Their Way To Victory

War is hell. But it's also pretty crummy on the homefront — especially if you're a woman with few options (read, a woman) in World War II-era England. But what if you could cook your way to a better life?

That's the basic premise of The Kitchen Front, the third novel from Jennifer Ryan, and the third to be set in England during World War II. As in her best-selling The Chilbury Ladies' Choir, the story concerns itself with the struggles and resilience of village women, but this time around, the action revolves around a cooking competition.

It's 1942, and Britain is reeling from the hardships of war. German U-boats are cutting off food imports, and women are being urged to keep calm and carry on in the kitchen. That isn't easy when staples like butter, sugar, cheese, eggs, milk and meats are being rationed. (You know it's bad when even tea is in short supply for the Brits.)

To help housewives get creative with limited ingredients, the BBC runs a radio program called The Kitchen Front — hosted by a man. The Beeb decides the show needs a woman's touch, so it launches a three-part cooking contest, and the winner will become the new female co-host.

Books

A Blitz Of Mother Love In 'Spies Of Shilling Lane'

For the four competitors, the stakes are high (and the steaks, hard to come by.) First, there is Audrey, a war widow with three children to raise, a dilapidated home and a mountain of debt who is barely scraping by with her pie business. Also in the running is her estranged sister, Gwendoline, a snobbish social climber whose marriage to a wealthy factory owner is not all it appears to be. Then there's Zelda, an unmarried, London-trained chef resolved to claw her way to the top of a male-dominated profession — with a secret pregnancy that could derail everything. And finally Nell, an orphaned kitchen maid with more talent than faith in herself.

When we first meet our contenders, it may seem obvious who we're supposed to root for. But as the story unfolds, Ryan peels back the layers of her main characters like an onion, revealing each to be multidimensional, flawed but compelling in her own way.

The end result is a charming tale that will satiate a lot of different tastes: historical fiction lovers, cooking competition fans, anyone who revels in girl-power lit.

The novel is structured around the three rounds of the competition. Each round takes place once a month and offers an opportunity for ingenuity and intrigue. (What can I say? Cheaters gonna cheat.) Ultimately, though, this is less a wartime version of Cutthroat Kitchen than what I think of as "the sisterhood of the travelling pans:" a heartwarming story of four women determined to make their own way in the world, who find unexpected friendship — and strength — in each other.

Though the story can at times dip into the treacly, Ryan knows how to keep the pace moving, with subplots involving a handsome, caddish chef, an abusive husband and a romance with a prisoner of war. The end result is a charming tale that will satiate a lot of different tastes: historical fiction lovers, cooking competition fans, anyone who revels in girl-power lit. There are even ration-era recipes for food history geeks like yours truly (though I can't say I'm tempted to try whale meat pie anytime soon).

Toss it all together and you've got a comfort-food read I gobbled right up. It seems fitting that I finished reading the final pages while chopping celery for mirepoix in my kitchen — this story had me so hooked, I literally couldn't put it down to cook.


On 'The Kitchen Front,' 4 Women Cook Their Way To Victory

War is hell. But it's also pretty crummy on the homefront — especially if you're a woman with few options (read, a woman) in World War II-era England. But what if you could cook your way to a better life?

That's the basic premise of The Kitchen Front, the third novel from Jennifer Ryan, and the third to be set in England during World War II. As in her best-selling The Chilbury Ladies' Choir, the story concerns itself with the struggles and resilience of village women, but this time around, the action revolves around a cooking competition.

It's 1942, and Britain is reeling from the hardships of war. German U-boats are cutting off food imports, and women are being urged to keep calm and carry on in the kitchen. That isn't easy when staples like butter, sugar, cheese, eggs, milk and meats are being rationed. (You know it's bad when even tea is in short supply for the Brits.)

To help housewives get creative with limited ingredients, the BBC runs a radio program called The Kitchen Front — hosted by a man. The Beeb decides the show needs a woman's touch, so it launches a three-part cooking contest, and the winner will become the new female co-host.

Books

A Blitz Of Mother Love In 'Spies Of Shilling Lane'

For the four competitors, the stakes are high (and the steaks, hard to come by.) First, there is Audrey, a war widow with three children to raise, a dilapidated home and a mountain of debt who is barely scraping by with her pie business. Also in the running is her estranged sister, Gwendoline, a snobbish social climber whose marriage to a wealthy factory owner is not all it appears to be. Then there's Zelda, an unmarried, London-trained chef resolved to claw her way to the top of a male-dominated profession — with a secret pregnancy that could derail everything. And finally Nell, an orphaned kitchen maid with more talent than faith in herself.

When we first meet our contenders, it may seem obvious who we're supposed to root for. But as the story unfolds, Ryan peels back the layers of her main characters like an onion, revealing each to be multidimensional, flawed but compelling in her own way.

The end result is a charming tale that will satiate a lot of different tastes: historical fiction lovers, cooking competition fans, anyone who revels in girl-power lit.

The novel is structured around the three rounds of the competition. Each round takes place once a month and offers an opportunity for ingenuity and intrigue. (What can I say? Cheaters gonna cheat.) Ultimately, though, this is less a wartime version of Cutthroat Kitchen than what I think of as "the sisterhood of the travelling pans:" a heartwarming story of four women determined to make their own way in the world, who find unexpected friendship — and strength — in each other.

Though the story can at times dip into the treacly, Ryan knows how to keep the pace moving, with subplots involving a handsome, caddish chef, an abusive husband and a romance with a prisoner of war. The end result is a charming tale that will satiate a lot of different tastes: historical fiction lovers, cooking competition fans, anyone who revels in girl-power lit. There are even ration-era recipes for food history geeks like yours truly (though I can't say I'm tempted to try whale meat pie anytime soon).

Toss it all together and you've got a comfort-food read I gobbled right up. It seems fitting that I finished reading the final pages while chopping celery for mirepoix in my kitchen — this story had me so hooked, I literally couldn't put it down to cook.


On 'The Kitchen Front,' 4 Women Cook Their Way To Victory

War is hell. But it's also pretty crummy on the homefront — especially if you're a woman with few options (read, a woman) in World War II-era England. But what if you could cook your way to a better life?

That's the basic premise of The Kitchen Front, the third novel from Jennifer Ryan, and the third to be set in England during World War II. As in her best-selling The Chilbury Ladies' Choir, the story concerns itself with the struggles and resilience of village women, but this time around, the action revolves around a cooking competition.

It's 1942, and Britain is reeling from the hardships of war. German U-boats are cutting off food imports, and women are being urged to keep calm and carry on in the kitchen. That isn't easy when staples like butter, sugar, cheese, eggs, milk and meats are being rationed. (You know it's bad when even tea is in short supply for the Brits.)

To help housewives get creative with limited ingredients, the BBC runs a radio program called The Kitchen Front — hosted by a man. The Beeb decides the show needs a woman's touch, so it launches a three-part cooking contest, and the winner will become the new female co-host.

Books

A Blitz Of Mother Love In 'Spies Of Shilling Lane'

For the four competitors, the stakes are high (and the steaks, hard to come by.) First, there is Audrey, a war widow with three children to raise, a dilapidated home and a mountain of debt who is barely scraping by with her pie business. Also in the running is her estranged sister, Gwendoline, a snobbish social climber whose marriage to a wealthy factory owner is not all it appears to be. Then there's Zelda, an unmarried, London-trained chef resolved to claw her way to the top of a male-dominated profession — with a secret pregnancy that could derail everything. And finally Nell, an orphaned kitchen maid with more talent than faith in herself.

When we first meet our contenders, it may seem obvious who we're supposed to root for. But as the story unfolds, Ryan peels back the layers of her main characters like an onion, revealing each to be multidimensional, flawed but compelling in her own way.

The end result is a charming tale that will satiate a lot of different tastes: historical fiction lovers, cooking competition fans, anyone who revels in girl-power lit.

The novel is structured around the three rounds of the competition. Each round takes place once a month and offers an opportunity for ingenuity and intrigue. (What can I say? Cheaters gonna cheat.) Ultimately, though, this is less a wartime version of Cutthroat Kitchen than what I think of as "the sisterhood of the travelling pans:" a heartwarming story of four women determined to make their own way in the world, who find unexpected friendship — and strength — in each other.

Though the story can at times dip into the treacly, Ryan knows how to keep the pace moving, with subplots involving a handsome, caddish chef, an abusive husband and a romance with a prisoner of war. The end result is a charming tale that will satiate a lot of different tastes: historical fiction lovers, cooking competition fans, anyone who revels in girl-power lit. There are even ration-era recipes for food history geeks like yours truly (though I can't say I'm tempted to try whale meat pie anytime soon).

Toss it all together and you've got a comfort-food read I gobbled right up. It seems fitting that I finished reading the final pages while chopping celery for mirepoix in my kitchen — this story had me so hooked, I literally couldn't put it down to cook.


On 'The Kitchen Front,' 4 Women Cook Their Way To Victory

War is hell. But it's also pretty crummy on the homefront — especially if you're a woman with few options (read, a woman) in World War II-era England. But what if you could cook your way to a better life?

That's the basic premise of The Kitchen Front, the third novel from Jennifer Ryan, and the third to be set in England during World War II. As in her best-selling The Chilbury Ladies' Choir, the story concerns itself with the struggles and resilience of village women, but this time around, the action revolves around a cooking competition.

It's 1942, and Britain is reeling from the hardships of war. German U-boats are cutting off food imports, and women are being urged to keep calm and carry on in the kitchen. That isn't easy when staples like butter, sugar, cheese, eggs, milk and meats are being rationed. (You know it's bad when even tea is in short supply for the Brits.)

To help housewives get creative with limited ingredients, the BBC runs a radio program called The Kitchen Front — hosted by a man. The Beeb decides the show needs a woman's touch, so it launches a three-part cooking contest, and the winner will become the new female co-host.

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For the four competitors, the stakes are high (and the steaks, hard to come by.) First, there is Audrey, a war widow with three children to raise, a dilapidated home and a mountain of debt who is barely scraping by with her pie business. Also in the running is her estranged sister, Gwendoline, a snobbish social climber whose marriage to a wealthy factory owner is not all it appears to be. Then there's Zelda, an unmarried, London-trained chef resolved to claw her way to the top of a male-dominated profession — with a secret pregnancy that could derail everything. And finally Nell, an orphaned kitchen maid with more talent than faith in herself.

When we first meet our contenders, it may seem obvious who we're supposed to root for. But as the story unfolds, Ryan peels back the layers of her main characters like an onion, revealing each to be multidimensional, flawed but compelling in her own way.

The end result is a charming tale that will satiate a lot of different tastes: historical fiction lovers, cooking competition fans, anyone who revels in girl-power lit.

The novel is structured around the three rounds of the competition. Each round takes place once a month and offers an opportunity for ingenuity and intrigue. (What can I say? Cheaters gonna cheat.) Ultimately, though, this is less a wartime version of Cutthroat Kitchen than what I think of as "the sisterhood of the travelling pans:" a heartwarming story of four women determined to make their own way in the world, who find unexpected friendship — and strength — in each other.

Though the story can at times dip into the treacly, Ryan knows how to keep the pace moving, with subplots involving a handsome, caddish chef, an abusive husband and a romance with a prisoner of war. The end result is a charming tale that will satiate a lot of different tastes: historical fiction lovers, cooking competition fans, anyone who revels in girl-power lit. There are even ration-era recipes for food history geeks like yours truly (though I can't say I'm tempted to try whale meat pie anytime soon).

Toss it all together and you've got a comfort-food read I gobbled right up. It seems fitting that I finished reading the final pages while chopping celery for mirepoix in my kitchen — this story had me so hooked, I literally couldn't put it down to cook.