Pasta Wars by Elisa Lorello
Publisher: Adaptive Books
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction, Foodie
Slim, successful, and soon to marry the man of her dreams, Katie Cravens is leading the life she always wanted. As the face and CEO of Pasta Pronto, a Carbs for the Calorie-Conscious line of frozen food, Katie chooses to live life like one of her Slimline Spaghetti dinners no mess, no surprises, and everything tied up in a neat little package. But when Katie’s fiance runs off with another woman and a quality control fiasco sends her customers running for the hills, it’s time for Katie to make a change.
Her company’s salvation presents itself in the form of a partnership opportunity with the legendary Ristorante Caramelli of Rome, and Katie has no other choice but to jet off to Italy to convince gorgeous, hotheaded co-owner Luca Caramelli that she’s a worthy partner. Gaining Luca’s respect proves harder than Katie could have ever imagined, however, when he insists that she must learn how to cook and how to eat true Italian food before he will ever agree to their companies partnership.
Katie and Luca’s tension in Italy mounts into a fierce public rivalry that erupts back in the States with a nationally televised cooking competition. As Katie tries to channel her inner Mario Batali to win the competition, she must choose between the flavorless prepackaged life that she worked so hard to maintain and the mouth-watering uncertainty of a life chock full of carbohydrates and Caramellis.
The premise of this story is what drew me to pick it up in the first place. Also the fact that it was 50% off at Barnes and Noble. Meet Katie Cravens. She is the creator and CEO of the company Pasta Pronto, which makes low-carb frozen pasta meals. She is engaged to a man she believes is the man of her dreams. And to top it off, she maintains a slim size two waistline (thanks to her diet pasta meals). Katie thinks she has it all, until of course, everything comes crashing down. Within the span of two days, she finds her fiancé cheating on her and a quality control issue with her Pasta Pronto line sends customers tothe hospital and sets the press a buzz.
After kicking her fiancé out of the house, Katie is sent to Italy in order to try and salvage the brand’s name. There she is to meet and set up partnership with the Caramelli twins, brother and sister, Luca and Luci. The partnership would be mutually beneficial as their restaurant and company could use a boost as well.
The descriptions of the food were one of the best parts of this book. I could practically taste the scones topped with berries and cream, or smell the pasta and sauces Luca made. It made me want to jump on a plane to Italy and stuff my face with as much food as possible.
It was surprisingly funny. The humor was subtle, sneaking up on you when you least expected it.
“Luca looked as if he’d rather be doing something more productive, like alligator wrestling or attending a paint-drying convention.”
I didn’t care for the drawn out love story between Katie and Luca. I don’t mind a slow-burning love story. Those are often the best in the end. But this felt unnecessarily delayed. The book in general took me a while to get into. However, I think the things Katie came to realize over the course of the book were some of the most important parts of the story.
“I’d come to realize that I never wanted him back. I just wanted him to want me back. That’s always what hurts more – them not wanting you anymore. They move on so quickly; so easily, as if you meant nothing to them. As if their memory of you was erased. It hurts more than the original wrong doing, I think, and it’s what you never really get over.”
This book was about more than just two people falling in love. Katie learns a lot about herself. Through her trials, she’s taught what matters most is loving yourself for who you are. Not what you look like, what job you have, or what others think of you. That is one of the most powerful lessons in the book. The romance is just an added bonus.
“Shortly before he died, he told me, “Marry a woman who feeds you in every way. And you must feed her too. In every way.””