La Cucina: A Novel of Rapture
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La Cucina: A Novel of Rapture

3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  1,017 ratings  ·  120 reviews
Since childhood, Rosa Fiore -- daughter of a sultry Sicilian matriarch and her hapless husband -- found solace in her family's kitchen. La Cucina, the heart of the family's lush estate, was a place where generations of Fiore women prepared sumptuous feasts and where the drama of extended family life was played out around the age-old table.

When Rosa was a teenager, her own...more
Paperback, 263 pages
Published September 18th 2001 by Harper Perennial (first published 2000)
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Community Reviews

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I felt like I needed to include a book I didn't like. I really, really, really disliked this book. The author peppers the story with Italian words, but never really captures Italian culture. She resorts to some tired stereotypes - the ignorant peasant girl, the possessive father who uses the words "dishonor" and "puttana" way too much, the fat middle-aged woman, the Mafia taking out a foreigner, etc. This left me cold. I couldn't sympathize with the characters because they were so two-dimensiona...more
Слаба ракия като цяло. Нещо като смесица между "50 нюанса сиво" и "Като гореща вода за шоколад".
Изключително дразнещо е че книгата е пълна с грешки - не е минавала през редактор и коректор.
What a fun and racy read! The lead character, Rosa, is easy to fall in love with. I found myself in my own daydreams that included the wonderful aroma of her cooking – if only I could have sat at her table for samples! And thank goodness she met L’Inglese in his ‘come to bed shoes’ – I will never look at men’s shoes the same again…

Thank you, Rosa, for inspiring me to bake fresh bread last night; it was delicious! And thanks to Bebe for recommending this book as it is a fun and interesting peek i...more
Definitely a page turner: I read it in less than three hours. However, I didn't enjoy it as the love interest's personality was repellent. For example, "[he] waved me ahead of him up the spiral staircase. I had reached halfway before I realized that he had positioned himself directly underneath and was looking up my skirts. I tried to gather the material close around my legs so he could not see anything, but in truth, he had already seen everything. He smiled broadly at my discomfort." Urgh. Als...more
Nothing actually happened in this book. There was far too much second person narration (of which there should never be any, honestly). It didn't really capture anything special about italian culture, and actually put me off eating some of the dishes as they ate them off of eachother. Spaghetti in your hair actually does not sound delicious or sensual, just dirty and hairy. And it made me gag a little. I was not in rapture by the end of this anticlimactic, antinarrative book.
This novel is much too easy to mock, and so I dare not, since I might get carried away. The author raises "food porn" to a whole new level, and I don't mean in a good way. OK, I just can't help myself: one teensy little mockery: the narrator is more full of herself than a Mario Batali cannoli! Read at your peril. (Or if you want to laugh out loud, when you really shouldn't.) On the other hand ... maybe it was meant to be this funny.
Really enjoyed this book. Makes you want to cook, eat and have lots of sex!
Jo Anne
If you are a foodie, you will enjoy reading this book. There are no recipes included, but thanks to that little thing called The Internet, all recipes can easily be found.

The book is basically about food, and sex. Eating food during sex. Having sex using food as props. Cooking to stave off sorrow and loneliness for a lost lover.

La Cucina can be compared to Like Water for Chocolate but without all the magical properties assigned the food. If you want something more straightforward read Julie and...more
"...we sucked and sucked at one another, paddling with our hungry tongues."

This is one of the worst books I've ever read. It alternated between cliche, trite, badly written, and ridiculous. If the author could have focused solely on the cooking, culture, and crime aspects of the novel, it would have been half decent in spite of the total abuse of punctuation (averaging 2 comma errors per page).

However, the romance portions of the book were absolutely atrocious. Many of the interactions between...more
La Cucina se passe au début du 20e siècle. C’est l’histoire de Rosa, une jeune italienne qui adore faire la cuisine. Elle soulage ses inquiétudes, ses joies, ses colères etc. en faisant à manger pour sa famille et elle-même. Lorsque son amoureux est assassiné, elle quitte sa campagne natale pour aller vivre sa vie en ville. Elle y passera près de 25 ans de sa vie comme bibliothécaire. À l’aube de ses 25 ans de service, elle rencontre un étranger avec lequel s’ensuivra une relation myst...more
La Cucina was a quick and engaging read that I enjoyed quite a bit.

The tale follows the life and loves of Rosa Fiore whose gifts with food were legendary in her Sicilian village and expressed her passions and sensuality in a socially appropriate way. After a tragedy occurs in her home village, Rosa sets off to Palermo and becomes a librarian where, 25 years later, she meets L'Inglese and ignited by a passion for him and for life that transforms her.

Without giving away the plot, this story was f...more
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Levina  C.
The beginning was a lot move eventful and well thought-out than the rest of the book, which was mostly tales of Rosa, the heroine, and her foreign lover's sexual adventures. The novel is sprinkled with descriptions of lavish Sicilian recipes, which Rosa gives names to in her language and then doesn't explain in English. She had a sad life: After losing her father and her first love when she was young, she falls into a depression and starts arguing with her mother. She leaves home to live twenty-...more
Patrice Sartor
This felt like an Italian Like Water for Chocolate, which I also gave four stars. A woman deals with a demanding and domineering mother (and a slew of brothers). Lots of food and cooking is involved, and the passion that stems from the culinary activities extends into sexual activities, and vice-versa. I especially liked that the main character became a librarian, though portraying her as the stereotypical dowdy sort of library worker did not please me, heh.

It's a light and easy read with a dose...more
Drenched in the sensuality that accompanies a true passion for food, we meet the protagonist Rosa Fiore. Lonely, desperate for love without knowing it, Lily sublimates her sensual nature into a love for food. Her food preparations are elaborate and the descriptions of them just heavenly. But romance truly blossoms when L’Inglese enters the picture. The reader is inundated with truly smoldering entries of Rosa’s romance with this mysterious man who clearly revels in food and good eating as much a...more
After reading Lily Prior´s novel " Nectar" years ago, I do not profess myself as her fan as I didn´t like it at all. But I came across "La Cucina" in a charity sale and decided to buy it and give it a try , at least for charity´s sake. Well, as I was already aware what to expect from Ms. Prior and perhaps that´s the reason I found this novel (her debut) much better than " Nectar". Nonetheless, don´t think this is Laura Esquivel or Joanne Harris . Unfortunately, though Ms.Prior tries , it lacks f...more
Wer sagt denn, dass eine Bibliothekarin nicht sinnlich sein kann? Rosa Fiore bringt ihre Leidenschaft zum Kochen.
(copied review) When 18-year-old Rosa's first love comes to a terrible end, she takes to cooking to ease her grief, but eventually leaves her rural Sicilian town for the city of Palermo. Twenty-five years later she has become a librarian, and still lives to cook. But the overweight, overlooked Rosa doesn't truly come back to life until she meets a man who comes to her library for research, but who falls in love with Rosa and her flair for cooking. All goes well (better than well, in fact, for sh...more
Rosa's cooking has been legendary since she was a teenager living on her family's farm in Italy.

Her infatuation with food is rivaled only by her love for a young man, who unfortunately belongs to another. After their love affair ends in tragedy, Rosa leaves the farm to work as a librarian in Palermo.

This book is similar in style to "Like Water for Chocolate" - magical realism, stories told against a background of delicious food.

Very entertaining, a quick book to read with lots of surprises.

Jul 10, 2008 Sherry rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: women
This book was thoroughly enjoyable. If you like novels set in European settings in the not-too-distant past, you'll love this. It's very reminiscent of Chocolat or Under the Tuscan Sun (although the latter is more of a memoir).

These types of settings and stories are appealing to me because they're an easy way to "vacation" without leaving your own home. The imagery and characters are strongly written, and food plays a prominent role in the main character's life (YUM).

I read this book in one sitt...more
A sweet little nothing. The twist at the end was totally unconvincing (and highly predictable). If an author doesn't explain strange twists in the plot, he or she is simply cheating on the reader.
Too light to be anything but a feel-good booklet, but even as that not really strong enough.
Some good language and a few nice touches, though. Hence the second star.
This was a great story.

Centered around a Sicilian woman - Rosa Fiore - "La Cucina" outlines her life. She leaves home after her first love affair ends in tragedy and lives for twenty five years on her own. She meets a man - l'Inglese - who helps awaken her from her sexual hibernation and she learns to love again.

Rosa finds solace in her kitchen - so be prepared to find delicious descriptions of the dishes she prepares throughout the story.

For a full review of this book please visit my blog at...more
I read this book several years ago and lost track of it (loaned it out several times and was past from friend to friend) I found it again recently and loved it just as much the second time. It has again started the friend circuit. An messy and uncommon love story, love of self, food, cooking and family. Not a book for people who don't like different foods to touch on their plates. It is a book for lusty foodies who can tolerate an unabashed love of food and all of it's meanings and uses (other t...more

Very good writting but a little long in parts. The dreaming device was overused. Wonderful and sensual descriptions of cooking. A cook would love to recreate her recipes, and they even inspired me (a non-cook). An awful lot of sex but at least it was well written. Hard to like a book with a mother who uses the f word and is such a slut but is so revered by her children. Some inexplicable details (like the parrot who appeared out of left field and was mentioned two more times and then never agai...more
Libby Clare
It may be stereotypical, but being half Italian and having lived in Italy for 2 years, I know the stereotypes are justified!
It was tasty and sexy, but above all, very sweet.
I loved that the main character and her lover weren't gorgeous and they smothered each other in food and had regular rampant sex! It was quite gross, yet erotic at the same time.
The food and the mafia and the morals made it, sopratutto, an Italian story.
I really enjoyed this. It makes reading fun as it should be.
Claudia E.
This book was over the top cliche, and too raunchy for my taste.... Yet, I did finish it and found it about 3 stars of fun reading. I liked all the cooking with the main character but there was too much meat and slaughtering descriptions, it really grossed me out. Also, there was a very graphic and disgusting chapter where the main character and her lover were smearing food (meat sauce and oysters) all over each other. Eeeewwww! Yucky!
Diana Jolly
Wow, had no idea really what this book was about and read it as a book club pick. As a young girl growing up on a Sicilian farm in the 50's Rosa falls in love and soon after her lover is killed. Fast forward 25 years and Rosa, who has used food and cooking as her comfort and love, falls in love once again. This is a very fast read and prepare for some sex scenes, not a 50 Shades of Grey, but definitely some shades of it:)
Such mixed feelings about this book. Should I recommend it to my daughter? (LOL!) A sumptuous feast of food and sexuality that took me back to Like Water for Chocolate in a way, but not as perfect a book. On the other hand, I really enjoyed it and found myself smiling a lot - not wanting to put it down. A quick, entertaining read overall that makes me want to hop on a plane to Sicily NOW (for the food... )
Suzze Tiernan
Interesting book. At first I was worried it was going to be a rip-off of Like Water For Chocolate ( a fabulous book)but as the story developed it was quite different. Rosa's life has always revolved around food, and the food intertwines itself in her relationships. A quick read that I would recommend to anyone who doesn't mind some sex, and likes a well-written novel.
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