The Two-Plate Solution: A Novel of Culinary Mayhem in the Middle East

Jeff Oliver. Bancroft, $25 (220p) ISBN 978-1-61088-223-1
Never mind that terrorists calling themselves Mal-Malaika, on the run after a bombing in Haifa, storm the set of season five of National Dish-aster, an outrageous reality cooking show being shot (and shot up) in the Israeli resort of Eilat. It’s ratings that count for tough, charming associate producer Sara Sinek, the star of this antic, satiric novel from Oliver (Failure to Thrive). Since the show must go on, Sara persuades Mal-Malaika leader Izzelden Al-Asari to hide his cadre in plain sight by swapping their black ski masks and machine guns for chef’s whites and knives. The contestants proceed to serve up such dishes as blue cheese and durian in the halvah competition and oxtail liverwurst on the Seder plate. Salid, the main chef for Team Terror, draws on his tragic childhood to compose a magnificent sinaya, Palestinian comfort food. Meanwhile, money-hungry Sara struggles to support her autistic brother, Nathan, who lives in Reno, Nev. Fully human characters help make this hilarious send-up a standout. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/30/2018
Genre: Fiction
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