October is National Reading Group Month (NRGM) and while Novel Food is not a reading group, reading groups (virtual and physical) are mentioned in the posts contributed to the event. NRGM was started by the Women's National Book Association and is celebrated by its various chapters with various events. The San Francisco chapter, to which I belong, has two main events planned, detailed on their website.
Novel Food brings together two of my passions: literature and food. The event is about literary works (prose or poetry) that provided inspiration in the kitchen.
Back to Novel Food, please, follow me on a short literary/culinary tour. For each contribution, I offer a small bite to whet your appetite for more: follow the link to read the details of the special connection between written word and food that each participant has created.
"Reading this book I felt like I was reading the intimate diary of a school class-mate, a school class-mate with much more courage than I! In search of that rice, the writer journeys to Iran, 'one of the one of the most contradictory and misunderstood nations on earth'... I don’t have to go very far to enjoy that rice. My husband, of Persian descent on his father’s side, makes his rice dish for us quite frequently, and here’s his recipe...”
The book is "a fictionalized biography of Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne. Their passionate love story with lots of adventure and travel. In fact, Stevenson's and Fannys' lives beat anything fictional the well-known author ever came up with... Fanny at one point was bemoaning the amount of breadfruit in their diet... But I say if people don't like ulu they probably have not tried it at the right stage of ripeness, or with a good recipe."
"Everyone enjoyed the book. It was truly an amazing story. Every time I read a book about the sacrifices people made during World War II, actually during any war, it makes me realize I should not complain about a few inconveniences that might pop up every now and then." Lucia shares with us the full menu of her book club's meeting.
"Beautiful Gabriela’s story begins with her arrival in Ilhéus, a port town in Brazil, land of rich fazendeiros and exporters of cacao. In the twenties cacao plantations expanded and fortunes increased, progress was incessant and changed the essence of the city... With the struggle for supremacy in the cacao market as background, the love story between Nacib and Gabriela, a girl arrived from Sertão looking for a job, unfolds. She will go into the kitchen and into the heart of Nacib, inebriated by her clove scent and her cinnamon skin color."
"If you think you have problems or don't make the best choices, wait until you meet Matilda (Mattie) Wallace who is crashing fast and seems bent on repeating many of her late mother's mistakes... Maddie is broke and pretty much exists on a combination of stale food in her grandmother's cupboards and freezer, handouts, swiped apples and crackers from her library job, some fast food, and a couple of dinner dates... Finally a dinner date between Mattie and attractive paraplegic paralegal Luke sparked a dish as it seems Mattie and I share a love for Greek salads."
"I like that the stories show the characters at their best, their worst and all the shades in between: they can be selfish and insensitive, but also generous and even heroic; they can be silly or stubborn, but also thoughtful and selfless. They deal with daily occurrences (shopping, cooking, doing laundry, watching a baseball game) and with life's challenges: growing up, growing old, being homeless... Making sourdough bread is one of my passions. For Anson, I baked a boule enriched with Asian pears."
"Early in the book, he tells the story of going fishing with his adoptive father and then preparing some mackerel for dinner for the two of them and one of his uncles. The fish caught around Papua New Guinea is different from the fish caught in Sweden and from the fish caught in the water off the California North Coast, but in each case it is fresh catch."
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 late winter: 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, enjoy good food and otherwise savor life's local and seasonal offerings.