The Recipe Club

Food & Friendship Blog

The Recipe Club: The Story Behind our Story

It all began in February, 1997, in Brooklyn, New York.

Much like the characters in our book, our relationship started with a letter. Well, not exactly a letter—an ad in the New York Times Real Estate section:

Two bedroom apartment for sale, Park Slope.
No broker.
No fee.
No regrets.

“This is too good to be true!” Andrea and her partner cried as they entered the lobby of the funky, charming, nineteenth-century building.

The Funky yet Charming Apartment

They climbed three flights, and rang the bell.

A leggy blond opened the door. Well, not exactly a leggy blond—it was Nancy. She does have legs. She once was blond.

The walls of her apartment were purple, the better to match her sink, tub, and shoes.

After bonding immediately over a conversation about writing, it was only a matter of hours before the apartment was sold on a handshake.

That night, Nancy turned to her soon-to-be husband, and asked, “You know that feeling of love at first sight? Well, this was friendship at first sight.”

“Let’s keep it that way,” he said. “Let’s not sell them the apartment.” He’s a lawyer.

“Let’s do both,” Nancy said. She, like Andrea, believed in the power of friendship.


Soon after, having successfully negotiated a New York City real estate deal, we knew we could do anything together. We began with an easy project: on a steamy, hot July day, Nancy joined Andrea and her partner in the hospital to help deliver Andrea’s baby.

It was quite a scene. Nancy convinced Andrea’s partner to join her in tucking a blow-up rubber ball beneath her shirt, to show solidarity with Andrea’s pregnant belly. Together the three of us strode through the halls of the hospital. Actually, two of us strode; Andrea could barely move her feet. We looked like really fat soldiers dragging a wounded comrade back to safety.

“Walk!” Nancy commanded as they hauled Andrea up and down the corridor. “Breathe!” Nancy urged as Andrea’s labor pains kicked in. “Push!” Nancy ordered as the baby decided it was time to be born. “Don’t look!” Nancy begged as Andrea’s partner began fainting. These were the last times Andrea would ever listen to what Nancy told her to do.

After the birth of the beautiful baby, we obviously needed another challenge. Writing a novel seemed like a piece of cake. Which, when you think about it, is where THE RECIPE CLUB: A TALE OF FOOD & FRIENDSHIP all begins: with an ice-box cake recipe (page 21 of the book) sent from Lilly to Val.

Chocolate Icebox Cake

Since then, writing a book, creating an indie press, and getting our debut novel out into the world has been a journey like no other. But perhaps one of the most surprising and exhilarating aspects has been witnessing how our fictional characters, Lilly and Val, have been embraced by readers—from all walks of life—who are hungry to read more about the complexities of women’s friendships.

In fact, when we first started writing Lilly and Val’s story, we were kind of worried about how people would respond to the fact that they fight quite a bit. But we’ve discovered that Lilly and Val’s emotional roller coaster—their loving and cantankerous relationship—mirrors the very real complications that many women experience with friends. And readers across the country are telling us they relate to both Lilly and Val, even though the two characters have such extremely different personalities.

Which is what inspired us to create an advice column, Ask Lilly & Val, in which the daring duo are ready to give you two very different perspectives on friendship dilemmas. Send them your own friend-related questions—if you’re brave enough to hear their answers!

The other life-changing experience we’ve had as a result of our book is the formation of Recipe Clubs. Across the country, readers are forming Recipe Club chapters—in New York, Seattle, Houston, San Francisco, and Boulder—where they are gathering to share personal food stories, along with recipes.

As we travel from coast to coast to join them, we’re discovering that no matter where you come from, how old you are, or what you do for a living, stories about food and friendship are universally understood. They provide windows into your deepest feelings about family, relationships, self-esteem, dreams, and hopes.

So we’d like to invite you to join our Recipe Club community. Send us your food-themed stories (as text, video, or audio) and related recipes (as text), and we will post selected ones to our blog.

And, if you’d like to start your own Recipe Club chapter,  we’ll dedicate a special blog category to your group. Just send us your group’s stories (as text, video, or audio) and recipes (again, as text).

We hope you enjoy our book and our site, and look forward to meeting you in person at one of our upcoming author events!

See you soon,

Andrea and Nancy

2 Responses to “The Recipe Club: The Story Behind our Story”

  1. Deborah Murphy Says:

    Hi there,

    This book and site look like great fun. Your book sounds wonderfully delicious! I just got back from seeing a group of my best women friends and we talked and ate our way through our visit! In the book trade do we say “Break a pencil” for good luck? I look forward to reading and eating my way through your book which I am about to order.

    I am sitting in my little purple office down a dirt road in the “boonies” of Southern Oregon so anyone who had a purple tub is someone I can relate to! I did not grow up down this dirt road … I am a “former” New Yorker and will always be so in my heart. I get the New York Times on line every morning ( otherwise it would be an 80 mile round trip to pick one up!)and the New Yorker comes to my little mailbox. Hopefully your book will be arriving there soon.

    Friendships and food should be a winning recipe for the two of you! I am going to pass this info on to several of my friends who I am sure will be intrigued as well.

    Deborah Murphy

  2. polhemus Says:

    Hi Deborah,
    Thanks for writing! And thanks for sharing our book with your friends. We’re hearing wonderful stories from all sorts of Recipe Club fans, who tell us the book is inspiring them to connect and reconnect with friends. For us, that’s what it’s all about.
    All the best,
    Nancy and Andrea