The Welcome Home Diner
by Peggy Lampman
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (October 10, 2017)
Betting on the city of Detroit’s eventual comeback, cousins Addie and Samantha decide to risk it all on an affordable new house and a culinary career that starts with renovating a vintage diner in a depressed area of town. There’s just one little snag in their vision.
Angus, a weary, beloved local, is strongly opposed to his neighborhood’s gentrification—and his concerns reflect the suspicion of the community. Shocked by their reception, Addie and Samantha begin to have second thoughts.
As the long hours, problematic love interests, and underhanded pressures mount, the two women find themselves increasingly at odds, and soon their problems threaten everything they’ve worked for. If they are going to realize their dreams, Addie and Samantha must focus on rebuilding their relationship. But will the neighborhood open their hearts to welcome them home?
She’s also known for her outrageous wardrobe and is proud to proclaim she’s growing old disgracefully.
The staff is coming up with a language of its own. In a couple of years, we’ll be the only ones who understand one another. “A gastronoid,” Lella continues, “is a human subspecies that only lives to eat and complain.”
Your silence is becoming too loud in my head.
Yoga, Pilates, sashimi, and salads. Believe me, there’s nothing graceful about aging. It’s a full-time job.
And there were two brave women, Addie and Sam, who made a family from scratch, using what others left behind.
While an entertaining and engaging read, The Welcome Home Diner was hazardous to my diet as each plate of food was lovingly and sensuously described in lip-smacking detail. In one instance, Ms. Lampman eloquently waxed on for a full page about a juicy and succulent heirloom tomato, which had my mouth watering and resulted in my increasingly frequent foraging for sustenance and nibbles. Not to diminish her humorous and colorful descriptions of the numerous quirky characters who also inhabited the pages and frequently had me smirking. Two female cousins with an impressive mission statement and admirable ideals established the diner in a derelict area of Detroit and featured farm-to-table heartland fare with the unique fusion of Southern soul food and Polish dishes. I couldn’t seem to wrap my head around that combination for quite some time. The cousins’ behaviors were not always admirable and were actually often annoying, yet I came to care about them and wanted all their dreams to come to fruition. However, their neighbors did not sure in those hopes for their success and the cousins found themselves being shunned, threatened, trolled, and traumatized. The storyline was slowly developed yet intriguing, enlightening, thoughtfully well-crafted, and quite tasty.
Peggy Lampman was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. After earning a bachelor’s degree in communications—summa cum laude—from the University of Michigan, she moved to New York City, where she worked as a copywriter and photographer for a public-relations firm. When she returned to Ann Arbor, her college town, she opened a specialty foods store, the Back Alley Gourmet. Years later, she sold the store and started writing a weekly food column for the Ann Arbor News and MLive. Lampman’s first novel, The Promise Kitchen, published in 2016, garnered several awards and accolades. She is married and has two children. She also writes the popular blog www.dinnerfeed.com.