Welcome to the roundup of the 18th edition of Novel Food, the literary/culinary event that Lisa of Champaign Taste and I created in 2007 and that I continue to host with great pleasure. Novel Food is about literary works (prose or poetry) that inspire the preparation of dishes. The event brings together two of my passions: literature and food.
Like all its predecessors, the current edition includes a lovely set of posts, each describing a literary work that the blogger read and the dish that the reading inspired. Please, follow me on a short literary/culinary tour. For each contribution, I will offer a small bite to whet your appetite for more: follow the link to read the details. I hope that by the time you reach the end of this post, you will have a nice reading and cooking list to be used in the near future.
"Clara's parents don't know what to do with her, as she keeps disobeying on a grand scale." They send her to live with her grandparents in a remote area of Mexico, where she discovers, among other things, the magic of Mexican hot chocolate. In her post, besides giving a recipe, Ruhama shows us a Mexican molinillo (wooden whisk) in action.
In this novel, the unusual narrator is a bottle of wine from the year in which the protagonist was born. "The story inspired me to bake ciambelline (ring-shaped cookies) with sour cherry wine... a special wine based on an ancient wild cherry species widespread in the Marche region, in Italy." The cookies can be prepared with any kind of wine, not only of grape but also of other fruits.
"Near as I can tell from my online research and her books, this was a variety of “johnny” or “journey” cake – a rough equivalent to today’s trail mix or granola bar. You made them ahead and they’d keep, even if they needed dunking to make them palatable after a few weeks in a rucksack or a saddlebag. Corn dodgers can be as simple or as fancy as you like."
"I couldn’t help but be fascinated... Mattanza is a powerful, captivating story of man, fish, life, death and love. Perhaps, I should have prepared some kind of tuna meal. However, I... felt like preparing a simple pasta dish... Making pasta and steaming up the windows during winter (or anytime of the year) sounds like a good idea to me."
In her novel, "Morrison explores the different facets of love, its proximity to hate, and its destructive effects on the psyche when it is missing from one’s life, especially the life of a child." This smooth-as-silk smoothie reminds Ana of Silk, the fictional town in which Love is set, once famous for Cosey’s Hotel and Resort, on the Southern East Coast.
"Sicily smells of sesame seeds. Not the actual island, but the Sicily of my memory. I close my eyes, I whisper "Sicilia" and I smell toasted sesame seeds. The same thing happens if I read about Sicily: I open one of my Montalbano books and my nose smiles."
"One recurrent motif in the novel is [the protagonist's] wish to start eating better, a resolution that gets repeatedly postponed to the following day when, supposedly, he will have more time to choose mindfully how to feed himself. But the healthy, nutritious salad in his thoughts never materializes on his plate, so I thought I would make one for him."
My special "thank you!" goes to the event's participants: I hope you had as much fun as I always do when I host this event. You will find a link to this roundup and to those of the earlier editions on this page.
The next edition of Novel Food will be in early summer: I will announce it here, on The Food Blog Diary, and other venues, so stay tuned. The Food Blog Diary is the lovely event announcement site created and maintained by Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes. Visit the site to read about current events and let her know about your event and she will post it on her well-organized site. Thank you, Jacqueline!
In the meantime, read good books (maybe with the next Novel Food in mind), cook good dishes, and otherwise savor life's local and seasonal offerings.