The Recipe Box

THE RECIPE BOX                                          VIOLA SHIPMAN

Growing up in northern Michigan, Samantha "Sam" Mullins felt trapped on her family's orchard and in their pie shop, so she left with dreams of making her own mark in the world. But life as an overworked, undervalued sous chef at a reality star's New York bakery is not what Sam dreamed.

When the chef embarrasses Sam, she quits and returns home. Unemployed, single, and defeated, she spends a summer working on her family's orchard cooking and baking alongside the women in her life--including her mother, Deana, and grandmother, Willo. One beloved, flour-flecked, ink-smeared recipe at a time, Sam begins to learn about and understand the women in her life, her family's history, and her passion for food through their treasured recipe box.

As Sam discovers what matters most she opens her heart to a man she left behind, but who now might be the key to her happiness.


I found this to be a wonderful story of family and also of finding one’s self. Samantha Mullins is a sous chef in New York and the person she works for is a jerk to put it nicely. After making one of her own recipes for his show he throws away her creations, yelling and screaming at her. She quits but not before getting in a few jabs of her own, and top it off the producer and others who tried her creation loved her food. Now back home in Michigan on the family’s farm, she must somehow tell her family, mainly mom and grandmother that she lost her job and that she feels like she has been nothing than a failure. The story is told through the recipes in the box that she and each woman were given when they turned thirteen. You are taken back in some chapters to a time when it was the depression, or the war and how the women of this family found ways to raise up and continue to build the farm, but also their own lives. Every chapter is unique and different, and when a boy from the beginning of the story comes from New Jersey to vacation in Michigan. This is scaring her what is happening to her life and what is she to do? You get to meet her mother, father, and grandmother. You also see her change with the ladies who have been working and baking at their farm for decades and how she changes when talking to them. There is really nothing more than I can say without you reading this book yourself. That is what you need to do. A wonderful story with great characters and it has made me now want to go hunt for my grandmothers’ recipes that I have out in my garage and take care of them better. I received this book from I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at

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