Summer Reading That Won't Make You Stupid: Chick Lit, with Recipes and a Bite

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Giulia Melucci's I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti (Grand Central Publishing, $23.99) is a real beach read, the foodie equivalent of chick lit. The author exhaustively details various affairs with men who are -- all together now! -- afraid of commitment, down to the last post-coital bowls of spaghetti and subsequent passive-aggressive emails. Brand names (clothes, rock groups, restaurants) are thick on the ground in this first work by a veteran of New York's PR and publishing worlds. Melucci seems determined to avoid comparisons with Sex and the City, but undermines the effort not only by referencing it twice in the text and once in a chapter title, but also by Mario Batali's cover blurb ("... a foodie's dream version of Sex and the City!"). There are recipes (most adapted from other sources) with encompassable lists of easily obtained ingredients, though occasionally dubious (three tablespoons of truffle oil for a half-pound of spaghettini?). Serious eaters and serious readers may be annoyed, but the book is not without its girlish charms. The main difference from chick lit? In the end, the heroine remains manless, if well fed. We're thinking sequel.

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