Good news! I found a book that finally pulled me out of the ‘meh’ feeling I’ve been stuck with the past few weeks. It’s Minette’s Feast, by Susanna Reich, illustrated by Amy Bates, and it’s a beauty. Guess what? It’s about food and Paris and cats! So of course it’s my idea of divine. I wouldn’t change a single thing about it. I haven’t been able to say that about many books lately.
Minette’s Feast is the story of Minette Mimosa McWilliams Child, Julia Child’s cat. She was a tortoiseshell who got her middle name because she once nibbled a mimosa branch that Julia brought home. Of course Minette was one lucky cat, getting to smell delicious smells and taste delicious tidbits made by one of the most legendary cooks. But we learn that no matter the delights Julia prepared for her, there really was nothing so good as mouse.
I love that Minette comes across as a real character, as discerning and headstrong and full-of-life as her famous owner. The dialogue in the book is all taken directly from My Life in France and from Julia and Paul’s letters. There are just enough French words and expressions to give the text that Parisian je ne sais quoi, and the watercolour illustrations suit the old fashioned feeling of the narrative perfectly. The muted softness and the free style and warmth in the pictures make the story come across as all the more cozy and cheerful. This book has ambiance. If I’d read it as a cooking-crazed, cat-loving kid, I know it would have immediately become one of my very favourites.
This one is worth savoring and sharing. I’m sure Julia would approve.
Minette’s Feast is published by Abrams.