EXCERPT: 'The Recipe Club'

Excerpt:?The Recipe Club?

Lifelong friends Lilly and Val rekindle their lost childhood friendship in "The Recipe Club." Nicknamed "Lillypad" and "Valpal" as children, the two began exchanging letters and recipes in a secret Recipe Club they formed.

CLICK HERE for the recipe for Mighty Math Muffins from the book.

After reading the excerpt below, head to the "GMA" Library to find more good reads.

Part One: 2000

from: VRUDMAN@webworld.com

VIDEO: Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel talk about their book, "The Recipe Club."

date: APRIL 6, 2000 subject: HELLO AGAIN

Dear Lilly, I've started a letter just like this about a thousand times. "Dear Lilly," I'd write, as if I knew what came next. But that was as far as I got. I never knew what to say or how to say it. And I wasn't sure you'd ever want to hear my voice again.

But today I know exactly what I have to tell you, and I know you'd want this to come from me. My mother died. Last month, of cancer. Maybe your father already told you; I don't remember what he said at the funeral.It was a hard day. It's been a hard two years. And now that it's over, it feels like walking through a dream—a milky gauze of grief. And relief. And guilt at the relief.

Oh, Lilly. This is not how I hoped to find you again. But maybe it's the only way. Death always makes me want to make sense of things. I want to understand my mother's life. I want to understand my own. Perhaps this all feels too raw, too real, too intimate. If so, I'm sorry. But I just had to take the chance that you'd still be there for me the way you once were. I can't begin to tell you how much it would mean for us to reconnect. Even after—especially after—all these many years. Valerie

to: VRUDMAN@webworld.com from: LSTONE@dotnet.com date: APRIL 7, 2000 subject: RE: HELLO AGAIN

Dear Val, I honestly don't know what to say…I'm so sorry about your mother. I hope you find some solace in the knowledge that she loved you and was proud of you. I hope you can carry that with you, along with her smile and that wonderful, raucous laugh that always surprised everyone. Regards to you. And to your family.


to: VRUDMAN@webworld.com from: LSTONE@dotnet.com date: APRIL 7, 2000 subject: A THOUSAND PARDONS!

Forgive me for that awful version of a ten-cent drugstore sympathy card and let me start all over: Val, hearing from you has shaken me to the very core. I'm reminded of all we once had and lost. Twenty-six years of silence—and then, at long last, you appear!

When I got your e-mail I cried out loud. There you were, or the essence of you, in your brief words. So very palpable. I mean, Christ! Thanks to cyberspace, you were almost here with me in these beloved mountains.

Oh, nuts. I'm not very good at this. What I'm trying to convey, in a clumsy way, is that I've spent a lot of time and energy (not to mention thousands of bucks on therapy) convincing myself that our fight was just one of life's many painful lessons. People change, they go different ways.

Even the best of friends. I told myself, so be it. "Move on…," to quote Sondheim. (The very song I once used to open my act.)

But the truth is, Val, I can't tell you how many times I've whispered to myself, tonight I'll look out into the audience and she'll be there. I can't tell you how many times I've pretended that somehow, you will just turn up. That somehow we will find a way to be friends again. Look, it's all just a long-winded way of saying: yes, Val, I'm still here for you. Honestly, sweetie, you can count on that.

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