1. What do you think about Anneke as the story’s protagonist? Did you admire her? Why or why not? Cite specific examples.
2. How did Anneke’s character evolve throughout the novel? In what ways did the building of the house and her trials in the kitchen effect this development?
3. If Grant had been unfaithful with a woman, would that have made his infidelity any better or worse? Would you have been able to forgive him in either situation?
4. Construction is very much a man’s world. How does Anneke stand her ground in the business? Did you agree with her actions at the MacMurphy offices?
5. Discuss the morality of Anneke’s marriage to Jag. If you were in her shoes what would you have done?
6. What do you think was the turning point in Emily and Anneke’s relationship? How did they influence each other?
7. What do you think were Liam’s initial motivations in becoming a partner in the Palmer house? Do you think they were honest from the onset?
8. In Recipe for Disaster
, blood relations don’t necessarily make someone family. Who do you consider family to Anneke by the novel’s end? How important are blood relations in your life?
9. In the novel, Anneke forms new friendships and sustains her old ones. Consider these two circles of friends. What does Anneke gain from each?
10. In the last chapter, Liam and Anneke’s relationship is left ambiguous. Where do you think it’s headed? Did their relationship surprise you?
11. How did Anneke and Jag’s relationships with their parents affect who they become and the decisions they make? Discuss the positive and negative influences of the parents on each character.
12. Anneke cherishes the history of the Palmer house and works to honor it in her modern design. How do the past and present interweave in this novel? How does Gemma’s journal fit into this connection?
13. Gemma’s journal increasingly becomes a source of comfort and advice for Anneke. What is the significance of Anneke leaving it behind for the new owner?
14. Food plays a huge role in this novel. Do you have a favorite recipe from the book? What dishes and dining traditions does your family celebrate?
15. Considering the book’s title, what do you think was the “recipe for disaster” it refers to?