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Sunday, March 22, 2020

Honey Thyme Butter | Salty, Bitter, Sweet

Honey Thyme Butter inspired by Salty, Bitter, Sweet #TLCBookTours
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Welcome to my TLC Book Tours stop for Salty, Bitter, Sweet by Mayra Cuevas. Okay, I'll start by saying that overall, I enjoyed this read. Our main character Isa(bella) lives to cook and bake, and is currently living with her papi and stepmother in France, making her way through an exclusive apprenticeship competition course throughout the book.

She mentions and creates tons of food throughout the entire story, making me both hungry and eager to head into the kitchen; both of which are always bonus points in my book. Just a handful of the food mentioned: apple clafoutis, soffrito, chicken legs in wine-butter sauce, lemon tarts, pie, Tagliatelle, mushrooms, white truffles, aged cheese, Jacques Torres' Chocolate Chip Cookies, bacon cheeseburger, guava and cheese.

TLC Book Tours host
I loved the aspect of food memory as a driving force for Isa, memories of her abuela (Lala) in the kitchen both breaking her down and pushing her forward. I believed these aspects and found them some of the more enjoyable parts of the book—especially the descriptions of her "Blessed Pies", which were county-fair award winning apples pies that were baked in brown paper bags. I've actually heard of doing this before and have been wanting to try it myself, but I have a ridiculous amount of apple pie recipes on the blog, so I deferred for the time being.

But here's the hitch...I found the main character extremely annoying. I realize that she is supposed to be 17, but the majority of the time, she's teetering between sounding 12 and 25. I know that 17 year old girls are stuck at a weird age (I was one, and I currently have one), but Isa was almost too much for me (whiny, entitled, childish, rude, annoying). That said, I enjoyed pretty much all of the other characters in the book...and she mellowed out a bit during the final 1/3 of the book or so. Her character suddently grew up emotionally and mentally, and I even liked her a little bit.

While there was a ton of food to choose from, and I almost make the chocolate chips cookies that take 72 hours, or the apple pie that cooks inside of a bag, I was won over by this quote (and the lovely simplicity of the recipe it would take to bring it to life)...

Everything she made was exquisite. Even her butter! Oh my god, she would add honey and thyme from her herb garden. It was the most delicious butter ever. And when she served it—it's crazy—she would put this little dish of her special butter in front of you, and in that moment you felt like the most special person in the entire freaking world. Like someone loved you so much that they had come up with the best butter ever made, just so they could share it with you. ( p.242)

Salty, Bitter, Sweet by Mayra Cuevas #tlcbooktours

Salty, Bitter, Sweet

author: Mayra Cuevas
publisher: Blink (March 3, 2020)
genre: YA Romance
hard cover: 320 pages

"foodie" read: yes

opening sentence: Happiness, like love, arrives through the kitchen.

teaser: A slow-burn romance in a cutthroat kitchen! There’s more to becoming a top chef for 17-year-old Isabella Fields than just not getting chopped … especially when the chances of things heating up with an intriguing boy and becoming a food star in the kitchen are both on the chopping block.

Aspiring chef Isa’s family life has fallen apart after the death of her Cuban abuela and the divorce of her parents. She moves in with her dad and her new stepmom, Margo, in Lyon, France, where Isa feels like an outsider in her father’s new life. Isa balances her time between avoiding the awkward, “why-did-you-cheat-on-Mom” conversation with figuring out how a perpetually single woman can at least be a perpetually single chef.

The upside of Isa’s world being turned upside-down?

Her father’s house is located only 30 minutes away from the restaurant of world-famous Chef Pascal Grattard, who runs a prestigiously competitive international kitchen apprenticeship. The prize job at Chef Grattard’s renowned restaurant also represents a transformative opportunity for Isa who is desperate to get her life back in order—and desperate to prove she has what it takes to work in an haute kitchen. But Isa’s stress and repressed grief begin to unravel when the attractive, enigmatic Diego shows up unannounced with his albino dog.

How can Isa expect to hold it together when she’s at the bottom of her class at the apprenticeship, her new stepmom is pregnant, she misses her abuela dearly, and things with the mysterious Diego reach a boiling point?

author Mayra Cuevasabout the author: Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Mayra Cuevas is a professional journalist and fiction writer who adores love stories with happy endings. Her debut fiction short story was selected by Becky Albertalli as a New Voice in the Foreshadow YA serial anthology in 2019. She is a TV and digital producer for CNN, where she has worked since 2003. She keeps her sanity by practicing Buddhist meditation and serves on the Board of Directors of Kadampa Meditation Center Georgia. She lives in the colorful town of Norcross, Georgia with her husband, also a CNN journalist, and their cat, Felicia. She is the wicked step-mom to two amazing young men who provide plenty of inspiration for her stories.

connect with the author: website | instagram | facebook | twitter

recipe inspired by the book: Honey Thyme Butter

Honey Thyme Butter

Honey Thyme Butter

Yield: 1 pound
Prep time: 10 MCook time: Total time: 10 M
This lightly sweetened honey thyme butter is a favorite for spreading on warm biscuits, toast, pancakes, or waffles.


  • 1 pound salted butter, at soft room temperature
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 2 tables fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine-grain pink himalayan sea salt


How to cook Honey Thyme Butter

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat with a hand mixer until smooth and creamy.  
  2. Transfer to bowls or spoon onto parchment paper and roll into a log. 
  3. Store in the fridge, pulling out however much you need to soften a bit before using.

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