Bread and Butter by Michelle Wildgen
(Doubleday, 2014, 313 pages)
Bread and Butter looks primarily at the relationship between three brothers living in Pennsylvania. The oldest two, Lou and Britt, own a restaurant called Winesap. Winesap has made an impact on their small community by providing a place for fine dining that is more accessible than driving to Philadelphia. When their younger brother Harry returns home and decides to open his own restaurant Lou and Britt aren’t quite sure what to make of things. Harry has always been in his own world. He’s more than a decade younger than each of his older brothers and he’s had a very different upbringing with various academic paths and deciding to venture off to experience things first-hand, like helping run a restaurant on an isolated island in Michigan.
The vision Harry has for his restaurant, Stray, is completely different from what’s going on at Winesap. He wants nothing more than his brother’s approval, but it’s hard for them to take Harry seriously in this endeavor. We see the brothers as they work to redefine their relationships and as they strive to keep their restaurants successful. I enjoyed this book – Wildgen doesn’t skimp on the food/restaurant talk which I appreciated and I also liked that the focus was on the relationship between the brothers. A good first-time novel.