Sadie on a Plate

  • Review
By – May 27, 2022

Aman­da Elliot’s adult debut (she writes for kids and teens under the name Aman­da Pan­itch), Sadie On a Plate, is a fun romance nov­el, but it’s also a book about fol­low­ing your dreams. Sadie is a ris­ing star in the Seat­tle restau­rant scene. She’d love to open up her own restau­rant, mak­ing tra­di­tion­al Jew­ish recipes with a twist, but all she’s done is work for oth­er peo­ple — until she gets fired. Then, she gets a call invit­ing her to be on the real­i­ty show Chef Supreme.

She meets Luke on the plane ride to New York, and after spend­ing din­ner with him that night, she says good­bye, telling him she’s busy for the next few weeks, not know­ing if she’ll ever see him again. Except when she shows up on set her first day, guess who she sees.

With each cook­ing chal­lenge the show throws at the con­tes­tants, Elliot devel­ops all of the char­ac­ters in a com­pelling way that also deep­ens Sadie’s char­ac­ter. Through her friend­ships with the oth­er con­tes­tants, Sadie learns more about who she is, the inse­cu­ri­ties she har­bors, and just how much she real­ly wants to suc­ceed. In her head, while cook­ing, she’s often hear­ing her Grand­ma Ruth pro­vid­ing com­men­tary about food, love, and life, which adds a humor­ous touch to the sto­ry but also pro­vides more back­sto­ry as to why Sadie cooks what she does.

While Sadie’s Jew­ish­ness isn’t the main sub­ject of the book, it’s unde­ni­ably a part of who she is. Her cook­ing style revolves around her Jew­ish iden­ti­ty and cul­ture, and her pride in who she is and where she comes from (hence, what she wants to cook) is a recur­ring top­ic of con­ver­sa­tion with her and Luke, espe­cial­ly lat­er on in the book. Elliot’s descrip­tions of the food and the mem­o­ries it evokes in Sadie will no doubt stir up some appetites and mem­o­ries for the read­er as well.

While the roman­tic ten­sion between Sadie and Luke is always sim­mer­ing in the back­ground, friend­ships and self-dis­cov­ery are also front and cen­ter in the book. Sadie has to con­front her feel­ings about an acquain­tance she’s always resent­ed, and with each chal­lenge she is pushed to her cre­ative and men­tal lim­its but digs deep and gets through. She learns more about what works and how she works best and begins to believe that maybe, just maybe, her dreams can become real­i­ty one day.

Elliot’s nov­el is mul­ti­di­men­sion­al, and the char­ac­ters have real depth and are well-devel­oped. The fact that the romance didn’t feel like the main plot line for most of the book but was still well-paced, flour­ish­ing in the end, speaks to her talent.

Jaime Hern­don is a med­ical writer who also writes about par­ent­ing and pop cul­ture in her spare time. Her writ­ing can be seen on Kveller, Undark, Book Riot, and more. When she’s not work­ing or home­school­ing, she’s at work on an essay collection.

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