Welcome to the roundup of the 27th 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, as it brings together two of my passions: literature and food. Novel Food is about literary works (prose or poetry) that inspire the preparation of dishes.
Like all its predecessors, the current edition includes some lovely 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 of the special connection between written word and food that each participant has created.
"One of my favorite series is by Dana Stabenow and features Kate Shugak, a private investigator living in remote Alaska. As I was thinking about this challenge and reading A Taint in the Blood, I realized how much Kate Shugak cooks throughout the series. Often, the meals include moose and other locally hunted protein, but in this particular novel, Kate goes to Anchorage to work on a case and buys things like steak. Since I doubted I’d find moose at Whole Foods, I decided to replicate a recipe Kate makes about mid-book: an herbed steak with spinach."
"I especially enjoy [Rosie Aunty Lee's] philosophy, partially based as it is around cooking; as well as the way she uses herbs and dishes to calm and even heal. Rosie is a compassionate, kindly and helpful character, who thinks about people and what motivates them with a purposeful sort of curiosity. She can tell so much about a person by what, and how he or she eats, which information of course helps with her sleuthing... There was a recipe at the back for the famous Deadly Special, which is not only a delicious Chicken Curry, but uses candlenut (kukui here in Hawaii)"
"June is an absorbing novel, with two story lines and time periods set sixty years apart, but woven together. It's a bit mystery and suspense with a gothic feel... There is just something about a classic diner milkshake, thick and creamy, and it seemed like something that would fit right into either 1955 or 2015. I did a bit of research online on classic black-and-white milkshakes and some recipes called for malt and others did not. The one thing that seemed pretty definite is that it is made with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup--not chocolate ice cream, making it a glass of milky chocolate goodness."
"What I liked a lot about the book was the hardcover edition's cover: the colors, the fonts, the graphical elements are all well chosen to invite the bookshelf browser to select the volume. Below the title, there is a car with parents in front and five children in the back... it reminded me of my family car trips... My favorite destination was Rome: the trip was relatively short and the road straight... Sometimes my mother would carry a box of Ritz crackers in the car: both my brother and I loved them... Having very low-carbohydrates as requirement for what I prepare these days made me scan various recipes for seed crackers. Using only seeds sounded fascinating: it works beautifully."
Petterson's novel "grabbed me immediately, just like the country in which is it set, Norway. The sky, the woods, the water, everything is expansive in Norway, majestic, yet quiet. Petterson's prose is like that. Life's familiar themes—friendship, love, loss, betrayal, coming of age, aging—play a role in the story of Trond Sander, the 67-year-old protagonist... the image of Trond spending the last portion of his life living alone (his wife had died in a car accident from which he emerged unscathed three years before the story starts) haunted me... One morning, thinking also about Trond, I decided to make [celery] the protagonist of an omelette for one."
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 all the earlier editions on this page.
And if you are looking for additional reading suggestions, head over to the Cook the Books website, where the June-July edition is ongoing for which we are reading Scarlet Feather by Maeve Binchy.
The next edition of Novel Food will be in late 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, enjoy good food and otherwise savor life's local and seasonal offerings.