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Aftertaste: A Novel in Five Courses

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  992 ratings  ·  207 reviews
Mira Rinaldi lives life at a rolling boil. Co-owner of Grappa, a chic New York City trattoria, she has an enviable apartment, a brand-new baby, and a frenzied schedule befitting her success.

Everything changes the night she catches her husband, Jake, "wielding his whisk" with Grappa's new Mâitress d'. Mira's fiery response earns her a court-ordered stint in anger managemen
Paperback, 384 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by Kensington (first published January 1st 2011)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  992 ratings  ·  207 reviews

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Elyse  Walters
Honestly, My soul wasn't into "Aftertaste". I chose this during a thirty day trial period, from Kindle-unlimited picks.

I take full responsibility for my lackadaisical aloofness. It took me 'forever' to read this, longer than the 30 day trial!
It was my 'GO-TO' SAUNA BREAK read where I lay on my back, relax and read something I've downloaded on my OLD kindle.

If I didn't take a sauna for a few days, to give the author credit, I never forgot where I was in the story. I was well aware of the chall
Samantha March
Nov 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
First off, let me give five stars to the cover alone. I could stare at this beauty all day. I’m a big fan of foodie books, and I just knew this book was going to speak to me. Aftertaste, the debut novel from Meredith Mileti, follows Mira Rinaldi as she tries to pick up the pieces of her life after finding her husband cheating on her. Mira and husband Jake are co-owners to the wildly successful Manhattan Italian restaurant, Grappa, the same location where Mira finds Jake with Grappa’s newest wait ...more
Oct 14, 2012 rated it liked it
I was all ready to give this book 5 stars until the last third of the novel when it got repetitive, giving a whole lot of information on issues related to side characters while skimming over what was at the crux of the story, which is what happens to Grappa after Jake and Nicola take over? The whole "syndicate" plot line was really building up to intrigue, corruption and massive downfall for the arrogant, cheating Jake but instead there were 5 chapters about Richard's, the main character's gay f ...more
Dixiane Hallaj
May 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
After the first few pages, I realized that Meredith had left me hopelessly behind with her food knowledge, but by then I was already giving not-so-silent advice to Mira about what not to do. I loved Mira and enjoyed watching her character grow as she worked to conquer her impulsive nature. Happily not all of her impulses are self-destructive, and I don't think she ever tames them into submission. Her wonderfully supportive friends were drawn with a sensitive pen. Some began almost as cardboard c ...more
Nov 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
When the choices were published for potential Early Reviewer copies of recently published or to-be-published books the only book I requested for the month was "Aftertaste: A Novel In Five Courses" by Meredith Mileti. I had never heard of the author since this is her first novel. But the description was a natural pull for me…a novel about a chef, her restaurant, food, relationship, and love. So I was delighted when I was notified that I would be receiving the book! Let me say fro ...more
Aug 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When your current "perfect" life implodes,how do you pick up the pieces and start all over? Denial,anger,bargaining,depression and acceptance. Much like grieving the death of a loved one, these are the stages that Mira goes through as she struggles to move on after catching her husband in flagranti with one of their restaurant employees.
A successful chef and restaurateur specializing in Italian cuisine, as well as being a new mom, Mira is blindsided and filled with rage. That rage is directed a
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Sep 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, 2011, foodie
This is a story of one woman trying to figure out what her plan B is (and who doesn't need a plan B). It's a story of love and life balance and pursuing what's important and what you love. I can totally see where Mira is coming from. She literally walks in on her husband umm... engaging in extracurricular activities with one of the employees that works in Mira and her husband's restaurant. I'd be angry too. There are some characters in various books that I wish I could shake some sense into them ...more
May 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Had a chance to read an advanced copy of this book. Place it on your wish list now, folks. This is a fabulous read from writer who obviously knows the restaurant business, food, AND how to write a great story. Be prepared to cry, hold your breath, smile, and of course, to be hungry. Bravo!
Jul 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Great summer read, especially if you're from the 'burgh.
Oct 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
A nice and light food novel. Nothing amazing, but entertaining and fun!
Angie Dickerson
Jul 05, 2017 marked it as to-read
Great women's fiction - beautiful writing - relatable female struggle. Enjoying immensely so far!
Livia Frossard
Sep 05, 2017 rated it liked it
A good book to read curled up with a cup of tea and some biscotti. Just that. Nothing else.
Robin Jordan
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. The characters are engaging and the story moves along without surprises, but most of all I loved the setting. Being from Pittsburgh and having lived in Mira's childhood neighborhood, it was great fun visiting the place in my mind. It was accurately described so that I recognized the references to the places and people. It is set in today so that Mira couldn't visit my favorite restaurant from 40 years ago, where I was told "Keep your fork, honey. It's the only one you ...more
Colleen Amos-mezinze
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
i really liked this book. since i love to cook it was so good to read a book where the passion of food was so connected in the story to each of the characters.
i could not put this book down at first, but the last two or three chapters dragged just a little. still so worth reading... ending was predictable but i like a story with a happy ending.
i got this book several years ago at a Pittsburgh women's author book event and it sat in my drawer until a few weeks ago. im glad i picked it up to rea
Maurynne  Maxwell
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: foodie
I would love to read more from this author. The most important thing for a novel for foodies is obviously that the author can transport you to kitchen or dining table and inspire you to cook or eat. That's what elevates a novel whose basic plot has been done and done and overdone in movies and other books. It's knowing where to highlight flavors, hurry up the service, let your diners linger, provide the perfect bite; a novel is a meal to be savored and remembered, and you'll remember the food.
May 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Enjoyable, light and easy read. If you're looking for intensity and complexity, this isn't for you. I could appreciate the abrupt turmoil Mira's life was thrown into and how she worked at finding herself again. It presently mirrors my own circumstances. The finding oneself again proves difficult.
Delicious, well written and thoroughly enjoyable

There is something insanely attractive about narcissistic men, Mira marries, divorces and reconnects... almost. Meanwhile she cooks for a world of perfectly drawn characters that are so real you feel you might know a few. I loved reading this unexpected gem.
Sep 30, 2019 rated it liked it
A solid 3 star book to me. I liked the story as a whole, but thought several of the side stories were unresolved or unexplained. Made me hungry though and I’d love to try the recipes at the end of the book!
Sara Hanson
I thought the premise was so great, but it lost it's energy quickly.
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Just a fun book to read, especially if you like food described to you. Yum!
Anna Fityo
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, culinary
Amazing book, especially for those who have passion in cooking and Italian cuisine :)
Carol Kroth
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I could hardly put this book down, I love to cook so I enjoyed that aspect of the story, along with Mira's journey in realizing what she really wanted from life
Betsy Jacobs
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
Surprisingly good. I bought the book on impulse (because GREAT cover). I loved being in Mira and Chloe's world for a couple of days.
Sep 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Entertaining guests was always on Mira’s to-do list, but entertaining a stint in anger management class was never even a consideration. After years of marriage and a successful restaurant business, Mira and her husband Jack decide to give parenting a try. Unfortunately for Mira the new Mâitress d’ at their restaurant “Grappa” had different ideas and near to the birth of her daughter she discovers her husband’s indiscretion. Suddenly the life she thought she had falls out from beneath her and she ...more
Nancy Narma
Oct 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Mira Rinaldi seemed thoroughly satisfied with her daily chaos-filled life as co-owner and chef at “Grappa”, the renowned NYC trattora, plus being the mother of their newborn daughter, Chloe and wife of chef and business partner, Jake. All is rolling along smoothly until the fateful night that Mira discovers Jake’s indiscretions with Grappa’s Maitress’d ; the sultry Nicola. Mira’s already stress-filled life evolves into an emotional, anger-filled“roller coaster ride” culminating in her arrest for ...more
Feb 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2012, food-lit
There are many kinds of Food-Lit, and really, I love them all. Aftertaste is Food-Lit in the sense that the story revolves around the life of a chef... and there are some nice recipes at the end of the novel (a la Barbara O'Neal). It's a novel of self-discovery through food, family, and friends.

It is a true testament to an author's writing skills when they can enthrall me with a tale even though I don't like the main character. Debut author Meredith Mileti reeled me right in. Mira is a woman s
Sep 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was pleasantly surprised by this novel, about a chef named Mira, who is dealing with the aftereffects of a cheating husband, their infant child, and their restaurant business in NYC. I thought it would be fluffy chick lit, but it was a story with sustenance and lots of great characters. I really enjoyed this!
Apr 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Book Group Book.

Mira Rinaldi lives life at a rolling boil. Co-owner of Grappa, a chic New York City trattoria, she has an enviable apartment, a brand-new baby, and a frenzied schedule befitting her success.

Everything changes the night she catches her husband, Jake, "wielding his whisk" with Grappa's new Mâitress d'. Mira's fiery response earns her a court-ordered stint in anger management and the beginning of legal and personal predicaments as she battles to save her restaurant and pick up the
Michelle Randall
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Love the Goodreads First-Rads program, which is where I got this book. It allows me to read a number of books that I might not have picked up before.

I looked at this book, and I read the back cover, an I just couldn't decide if I thought I would like it, so I kept picking it up and then putting it back down and reading something else, but I have a number of books that I have in that pile and I just decided that it was too big, i had to read from that pile, so I went ahead and picked it up, only
Stacey Pagan
Nov 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Mileti had me hooked from the first page! The rebuilding of life, love, and career was overpowering. I laughed and cried along with Mira. I groaned when Mira was acting foolish. I beat my head with the book, saying “NO! Not again!” When a reader has such great emotions from simply reading, you know you have an excellent author!

Mira had the perfect life. She had a gorgeous and smart chef husband, a darling infant, the lucrative restaurant of her dreams, yet it shatters like a mirror hitting cemen
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As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of young ad...
49 likes · 14 comments
Puttana is too good for the likes of her."
A puttana is an Italian whore, and in Italy whores have a somewhat more reputable standing than they do elsewhere. For centuries they've been glorified in both classic opera and popular song. Among their many trustworthy attributes, Italian whores are reputed to be responsible for the development of a much beloved pasta sauce, pasta puttanesca, a spicy and salty dish made with capers and anchovies. Its chief attraction, aside from its wonderful flavor, is that it can be prepared quickly- in other words, between clients.”
“We've been here three days already, and I've yet to cook a single meal. The night we arrived, my dad ordered Chinese takeout from the old Cantonese restaurant around the corner, where they still serve the best egg foo yung, light and fluffy and swimming in rich, brown gravy. Then there had been Mineo's pizza and corned beef sandwiches from the kosher deli on Murray, all my childhood favorites. But last night I'd fallen asleep reading Arthur Schwartz's Naples at Table and had dreamed of pizza rustica, so when I awoke early on Saturday morning with a powerful craving for Italian peasant food, I decided to go shopping. Besides, I don't ever really feel at home anywhere until I've cooked a meal.
The Strip is down by the Allegheny River, a five- or six-block stretch filled with produce markets, old-fashioned butcher shops, fishmongers, cheese shops, flower stalls, and a shop that sells coffee that's been roasted on the premises. It used to be, and perhaps still is, where chefs pick up their produce and order cheeses, meats, and fish. The side streets and alleys are littered with moldering vegetables, fruits, and discarded lettuce leaves, and the smell in places is vaguely unpleasant. There are lots of beautiful, old warehouse buildings, brick with lovely arched windows, some of which are now, to my surprise, being converted into trendy loft apartments.
If you're a restaurateur you get here early, four or five in the morning. Around seven or eight o'clock, home cooks, tourists, and various passers-through begin to clog the Strip, aggressively vying for the precious few available parking spaces, not to mention tables at Pamela's, a retro diner that serves the best hotcakes in Pittsburgh.
On weekends, street vendors crowd the sidewalks, selling beaded necklaces, used CDs, bandanas in exotic colors, cheap, plastic running shoes, and Steelers paraphernalia by the ton. It's a loud, jostling, carnivalesque experience and one of the best things about Pittsburgh. There's even a bakery called Bruno's that sells only biscotti- at least fifteen different varieties daily. Bruno used to be an accountant until he retired from Mellon Bank at the age of sixty-five to bake biscotti full-time. There's a little hand-scrawled sign in the front of window that says, GET IN HERE! You can't pass it without smiling.
It's a little after eight when Chloe and I finish up at the Pennsylvania Macaroni Company where, in addition to the prosciutto, soppressata, both hot and sweet sausages, fresh ricotta, mozzarella, and imported Parmigiano Reggiano, all essential ingredients for pizza rustica, I've also picked up a couple of cans of San Marzano tomatoes, which I happily note are thirty-nine cents cheaper here than in New York.”
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