Sometimes people get a book from us and are surprised that a mystery novel will have recipes in it. In the Cozy Mystery genre, it’s popular in some books to include thematically appropriate recipes at the end of the chapters, or at the end of the book itself. Some library patrons like this, and others hate it. That said, love it or hate it, the practice kind of makes sense in a cozy. Many of these books have some connection to food (the sleuth is sometimes a baker, or owns a café, for instance) so it’s not a stretch to see a collection of recipes in them.
You might imagine my surprise when I found this practice elsewhere. The last thing I expected to find when reading the spy novel Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews was recipes, but at the end of each chapter there they were! And the odd thing is that they are what are sometimes referred to as “chef’s recipes.” They are more like culinary scaffolding, as opposed to a list of ingredients. They all have something to do with the action in the previous chapter, so it ties together nicely. This gritty, spy adventure borrows a device used by a wildly different genre to great effect.
This book has been adapted to a feature length motion picture, starring Jennifer Lawrence in the role of the Red Sparrow, slated for release in March of 2018. No word yet on what role the recipes play!
CIA operative Nathaniel Nash loses his Moscow post after narrowly escaping from a meeting with an important source. New Russian intelligence agent Dominika Egorova is assigned to seduce Nash and identify his contact. Violence, some strong language, and some explicit descriptions of sex. 2013.