The Kitchen Daughter
After the unexpected death of her parents, shy and sheltered twenty-six-year-old Ginny Selvaggio, isolated by Asperger’s Syndrome, seeks comfort in family recipes. But the rich, peppery scent of her Nonna’s soup draws an unexpected visitor into the kitchen: the ghost of Nonna herself, dead for twenty years, who appears with a cryptic warning—before vanishing like steam from a cooling dish.
A haunted kitchen isn’t Ginny’s only challenge. Her domineering sister Amanda insists on selling their parents’ house in Philadelphia, the only home Ginny has ever known. As she packs up her parents’ belongings, Ginny finds evidence of family secrets she isn’t sure how to unravel. She knows how to turn milk into cheese and cream into butter, but she doesn’t know why her mother hid a letter in the bedroom chimney, or the identity of the woman in her father’s photographs. The more she learns, the more she realizes the keys to these riddles lie with the dead, and there’s only one way to get answers: cook from dead people’s recipes, raise their ghosts, and ask them.
Offering a fascinating glimpse into the unique mind of a woman suffering from Asperger’s and featuring evocative and mouth-watering descriptions of food, this lyrical novel is as delicious and joyful as a warm brownie.
Jael McHenry Turns Up the Heat with Hot Hot Chocolate
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Reading Group Guide
With the unexpected death of her parents, twenty-six-year-old Ginny Selvaggio finds that her safe, sheltered existence has completely shattered. Painfully shy and unsure of adulthood, Ginny seeks comfort in the only place that has ever brought her peace: the kitchen.
But the kitchen has its own surprises in store for Ginny. The scent of her Nonna’s rich, peppery soup summons the spirit of Nonna, and she leaves Ginny with a cryptic warning. Suddenly, Ginny is forced to untangle hidden family secrets, all while dealing with her domineering sister Amanda. Ginny comes to realizes that the ghosts of her loved ones can be beckoned back to her kitchen by cooking from their recipes. But she must decide if she has the courage to face the truths they will reveal about her family—and about herself.
TOPICS & QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. Ginny undergoes a great transformation through the course of the novel. Compare the early version of Ginny with the woman she is by the end. Do you feel sh see more