It's winter here, or maybe it's summer, depending on your hemisphere of residence. In any case, it's that time of the year, and I personally like to curl up in an armchair (located in front of a fireplace or outside in the shade, you choose), and read an enchanting book. The perfect Holiday gift!
Lisa of Champaign Taste and I have gathered a set of delightful dishes inspired by intriguing books. The result, as in the previous edition, is a literary / culinary trip that will delight your imagination and your taste buds. It may also give you some ideas about what to do with that gift card you have received. And now, without further ado:
Danielle of Habeas Brûlée introduces us to "The Orphan's Tales: In the Cities of Coin and Spice" by Catherynne M. Valente. In the book's "layered maze of story within story," Danielle found persimmons and coconuts to play with and produced Forbidden Rice and Persimmon with Coconut, a colorful dish (purple and orange) with an intriguing name that is related to the Basilisk, who lived in “his little courtyard full of persimmons and coconuts”, in the spice city of Ajanabh. Head over to Danielle's blog to read the story of the Basilisk and the recipe, then come back here for more Novel Food.
Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook chose the tale of an orphan as well: his name is Phillip Pirrip, better known as Pip, and the story is "Great Expectations," by Charles Dickens.
Instead of a courtyard, here we have the bleak marsh landscape, where Pip meets the escaped convict Abel Magwitch, for whom he steals some food, including "a beautiful round compact pork-pie.” Magwitch does not disappear from Pip's life. In Susan's words, "for the reader who endeavors to follow [Pip] along his path of fortunes and failures, Great Expectations is a story you will never want to escape from." Pip's pie inspired Susan's beautiful Roasted Root Vegetable Pot Pies, which you should read about, then come back here for the next story.
Meera of Enjoy Indian Food presents "The Hindi Bindi Club : A Novel with Recipes" by Monica Pradhan. It's the story of three mother-daughter pairs. The three mothers are immigrants from India to America and are close friends. The daughters call their mothers' group a "Hindi Bindi Club." Meera enjoyed reading the book (including the sentences printed in italics, some of them used by her own mother), and also - need we say that? - the recipes. For the occasion, she chooses a refreshing Mango Lassi, adapting to her taste the book's suggestion.
Go over to Meera's blog and read about this interesting story of two generations, then come back here for another literary / culinary dose.
Gay of A Scientist in the Kitchen introduces us to "Noli Me Tangere," a novel written in Spanish by Jose Rizal. The Noli (as the novel is called in the Philippines) was written in the 1880's and it is "a portrayal of the Philippines, the Filipinos and the Spanish occupation of the Philippines."
"A chapter in the novel talks about a parish priest serving hot chocolate to guests." After relating that story, Gay goes on to tell us about tableya (chocolate tablets) and her memories of them. She uses tableya to make Chocolate eh!, a name that will make you chuckle after you read about the priest. After visiting Gay's blog, come back here for the next installment.
After a scientist, we meet a librarian, Ruhama of Rumahama, who introduces us to best friends Frog and Toad, protagonists of beloved stories. The two of them learn important lessons together, for example, about willpower and sharing.
Anybody who has ever been around freshly-baked cookies understands willpower, or the lack thereof. Ruhama shares with us a recipe for Thin and Crispy Oatmeal Cookies: willpower anybody? Please, exercise some of it to come back here after getting a dose of cookies.
We finally arrive at my place and find an autobiographical book. In her "Eat, Pray, Love," Elizabeth Gilbert tells the story of the year she spent in Italy, India and Indonesia. The Eat part is, needless to say, about Italy.
One day, Gilbert goes to a soccer game with a group of fans, who, after their team loses, find consolation in bignè con la crema (cream puffs). I did not need consolation for a lost soccer game: I had wanted to make those morsels of delight for some time and the story inspired me to realize my wish. You may want to read about crossing the street in Rome and about licking spilled crema, then come back here for some parting words.
I just finished reading an article in the New Yorker by Caleb Crain, titled Twilight of the Books, whose subtitle is "What will life be like if people stop reading?" Is reading destined to become "an increasingly arcane hobby?" I certainly hope not. The article has some interesting pieces of information about reading that I am offering to you as food for thought.
I hope you enjoyed this string of narrative pearls. If you started your perusal of the second edition of Novel Food here, make sure you then go to Lisa's portion of the round-up and get another serving of wonderful entries.