“It was after listening to Maurice tells his stories that I had become a firm believer that if anyone who wanted to know anything at all about humanity, all they needed to do was work a while in a restaurant.”
An intriguing short-story collection, J.L. Baumann’s Food for Thought offers up seven different regulars at Bo’s restaurant from The Deacon who works in construction, hails from Louisiana and thinks that everything is better back home to Pete the car salesman who comes in daily to break up the “droll monotony” of his existence. Bo’s interactions with his clients, staff and other members of the community drive each of these stories. Baumann expertly creates a world of unique, recognizable characters, all of whom are driven not only by their need to feed their physical hunger but find sustenance of another kind in Bo’s booths, tables and counter.
In many ways, Bo’s will remind you of the television show Cheers with a cast of quirky, endearing characters. Baumann finds motivations for each of person we encounter and we, along with Bo, learn a few interesting things about humanity. Whether it’s the determination of Didi to cook for Bo or the health inspector who used world class white gloves to ensure everything is up to code, Baumann has crafted a restaurant that makes you feel at home. There are even a few interesting surprises along the way to help keep things interesting and the characters and stories authentic.
I feel like after spending these seven stories in this world that I’d had a full, complete meal. I wouldn’t be averse to having another meal at Bo’s, though.