It wasn't until I developed a passion for cooking and started reading Andrea Camilleri that I realized how food can be an important element in a novel, it can tell its own story. The mutton chops mentioned by Anthony Trollope certainly tell a story, different from the one told by the extra-large portions of (mostly traditional Sicilian) dishes that police inspector Salvo Montalbano cleans up at regular intervals.
In talking about some of those dishes with Lisa of Champaign Taste, she came up with the idea of cooking something from the Montalbano stories and from that seed, the co-hosted Novel Food event was born. The fascinating stories fellow bloggers tell always amaze me. I will cut this introduction short so you can read and enjoy them as much as we did. If you start your perusal here, make sure you then go to Lisa's portion of the round-up and get another serving of wonderful entries. And now, without further ado:
In The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion narrates the events following the sudden death of her husband, giving a moving account of her experience of loss. She misses everything about him, including their meals together. Julia of Cooklady Goes to School lovingly recreated one of those meals: shrimp quesadilla and chicken with black beans, enriched by fresh seasonal ingredients.
From paroledicioccolato arrives a post about the ultimate chocolate novel, Joanne Harris' Chocolat, where Vianne fills La Céleste Praline, Chocolaterie Artisanale of heavenly morsels. After making everybody's love, chocolate truffles, Fabdo garnishes them with a delicate sugared rose and places them in a dainty caramel nest: a feast for the eyes and the mouth.
Anthony Capella's The Food of Love has provided to Paz of The Cooking Adventures of Chef Paz inspiration for several dishes, including everybody's favorite dessert, Tiramisu. For this event, Paz took a little walk down memory lane and revisited a simple yet delicious recipe from the early days of her adventures in cooking: peaches in red wine, a perfect pairing.
Accompanied by Susan, The Well-Seasoned Cook, we consider Alice's (the heroine of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland) response to labels instructing her to do certain things, and the consequences she has to face in terms of size change. We then consider traditional cookies called Speculaas, imprinted with the most inviting label you can imagine. Then it will be our turn to face the consequences.
Our journey ends at inspector Montalbano's house, with three of Adelina's productions:
From Andrea Camilleri's The Terra-Cotta Dog, Alex of Cuoche dell'altro mondo offers us La pasta 'ncasciata del Commissario Montalbano, a decadent dish that well represent the rich Sicilian culinary tradition. Alex gives her recipe in Italian (her native language) and German (her adoptive language): if your language is English, when you read Lisa's entry for the event you will be greeted by a pleasant surprise (and an example of serendipity in action). The post also introduced me to the Rai Click site where Montalbano movies are available.
As a side dish to rich pasta 'ncasciata, I offer two vegetarian options: peperoni arrosto (roasted bell peppers, from The Shape of Water) and cipollata (a name I like to translate as 'a feast of onions,' from Excursion to Tindari). From the Montalbano's veranda overlooking the Mediterranean we can look at the soothing movement of the waves. Life's turmoil has quieted down for a while and we can focus on the perfect morsels in our mouth. Take your time savoring them, then travel over to Lisa's portion of the round-up and enjoy the rest of this culinario-literary journey.