The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
This was a book club selection, probably one that I would have missed had I come across it on a shelf in a bookstore. That's kind of sad, because I give it a wholehearted "two thumbs up." The premise is unusual and interesting. Rose Edelstein, at age nine, suddenly discovers that she has a strange new ability. She can taste her food in a way that nobody else can. She can discern where the ingredients in the food come from, all the way down to the address of the factory that made the pasta, but more importantly, she can taste the preparers' emotions and the secrets that they hide. When she eats her mother's cake and tastes the intense sadness and longing that are hidden inside, her life changes.
The thought that stays in my mind after finishing this book is: What would Rose taste in a meal cooked by me? I know what I hope she would taste -- love for my family and friends, enjoyment in a good book, humor and fun. But I wonder if the worry and fear would come through stronger? Would there be an undercurrent of depression with a seasoning of hysteria? Would she turn away in disgust at the jealousy and hurt that might come through?
So my question to you. If Rose, who can taste your secrets, your fears, your hopes, your dreams, was eating your most prized dish, what would she taste?