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Good Enough to Eat

A Novel and 40 pages of Recipes!

Stacey Ballis captures life’s challenges: divorce, food, running a gourmet take-out cafe and relationships in her book Good Enough to Eat.

This book has the main character, Melanie reminiscing about food and how they relate to her life. Ballis covers peanut butter, chocolate cupcakes, banana cake with chocolate frosting and more. It’s a subtle mention and all the food fits well into the story and Ballis includes 40 pages of recipes that tie into this novel at the back of the book. I love that many of the recipes feature a “lighter” version and then a “decadent” version! It’s the before and after of Melanie.

Since Melanie owns a gourmet take-out cafe the reader spends a lot of time there. It really comes to life with the dialogue and activity Ballis works into the story. The food preparation was brought to life and the employees are endearing as they do their part to make the cafe run smoothly.

I love that Ballis recognizes that food is truly a part of our everyday lives. It sometimes becomes a crutch for any emotion and Good Enough to Eat captures this beautifully. Ballis focuses on the journey and the hard work that it takes to lose weight and it makes Melanie a very believable and lovable character. She has the same struggles as I do  in my life and I could easily relate to the love-hate relationship with food and the comparison of food being an addiction. 

“I’ve gained five pounds,” I say to Carey.
“How does that feel?”
“Scary. I haven’t been bingeing; I don’t feel out of control. I’ve just been the tiniest bit less diligent. I mean, it’s been harder and harder the past few weeks to make time t0 exercise, with everything going on and trying to make time to see Nate, and I haven’t been to the gym at all this week between the cold and working…” (page 226)

That right there is my life precisely! It hits even closer to home when Carey asks Melanie what her first instinct is and she says, “to eat a handful of mashed potatoes” and then justifies it by saying, “because they’re delicious!”

Good Enough to Eat is a great book that nourished my soul with a well-thought-out storyline, recipes, and characters that came to life.


“We’ve read the same story 100 times before. A female protagonist loses a dramatic amount of weight and then she gets the guy. Now in Stacey Ballis’s Good Enough to Eat (Berkley Trade Paperback Original; $14.00; Sept. 7, 2010) that old, familiar tale is turned on its nose.

Melanie Hoffman is a former high-powered lawyer with a high-calorie lifestyle, who loses half her body weight. Melanie studies holistic nutrition and opens a gourmet take-out cafe–Dining by Design–specializing in healthy and delicious food.

But the first protein muffin is barely on the rack when the unthinkable happens. Melanie’s husband leaves her–for a woman twice her size! Blindsided by a financial crisis that could bankrupt her, Melanie reaches out to a quirky pink-haired twentysomething roommate named Nadia and becomes involved in a budding romance with a local documentary filmmaker.

In this warm and often laugh-out-loud novel, Melanie discovers that her weight loss is merely the beginning of an amazing journey of self-discovery. She still has a lot to learn about her friends, her relationships with men and herself.”

I received a copy of Good Enough to Eat in order to facilitate an honest review. No other compensation was received. The opinions, where expressed, are my own and were in no way influenced by the sponsor. Others experiences may vary.

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