Cooking for Picasso by Camille Aubray is a novel which made me hungry. I say this because the premise of the story is that while hiding-out In the south of France prior to the second World War, Picasso has a very brief affair with a young girl who cooks his meals everyday. The descriptions of the meals prepared for him were so vivid; they made me hungry!
The story involves three generations of women from the same family; the grandmother in France who cooks for Picasso, her abused daughter who ends-up in America, and her granddaughter who is a makeup artist in the US. When the mother becomes ill, her daughter begins a quest to find for a long-lost portrait Picasso did of her grandmother many years earlier in France.
The book paints Picasso as a man who enjoys art, food, and seducing young women. In this story however, the tables are somewhat turned because the young girl who brings Picasso food every day has aspirations of her own. She uses Picasso by cooking him delicious meals believing it will lead to a life she desires away from the small dead-end town in which she resides.
Each of the women in the novel have their own stories to tell and they are interesting and fairly believable. The story kept me engaged up until the end when the granddaughter zeroes in on the lost Picasso and suddenly falls in love with a chef who she didn’t like at the beginning of their acquaintance. Something about it bothered me because I felt as if the author changed the course of the relationship in order to end the book on a happy note. That’s all well and good, but something about it I just didn’t like.
The book is historical fiction and I am uncertain how much of it is true. Either way, it held my interest because of the search for the missing painting and the food. If you enjoy food, art, and mystery you’ll enjoy this book.