First came the announcement, then the various contributions arrived in the mailbox, and finally, today it is time for the roundup of the 13th edition of Novel Food, the literary/culinary event that Lisa of Champaign Taste and I created in 2007. Novel Food is about literary works (prose or poetry) that inspire the preparation of dishes. Like all its predecessors, the current edition of the event includes an interesting set of readables and edibles.
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 inspiring work of literature and of the inspired recipe. 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.
"a fascinating and profound story about identity and personal conflict. The story takes place in Paris, where the heroine Renée, a French concierge in an apartment building full or aristocrats, keeps her intellectualism hidden from the outside world and assumes the appearance of a common, uneducated woman. Her only friend, Portuguese Manuela, is in on her secret."
"Once you've read the book, you should definitely make it a point to see the 1942 film adaptation with the marvelous Ronald Colman as Charles Rainier/Smithy and the luminous Greer Garson as Paula. Yes, Random Harvest was made into a movie, just like James Hilton's other famous novel, Goodbye, Mr. Chip." [also starring Greer Garson]
Corina of Searching for Spice was inspired by The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad to prepare Afghan Lamb and Spinach Stew and Aubergine in Yoghurt
Seierstad, a journalist, goes to Kabul just after the fall of the Taliban in 2001. She moves in with a bookseller and his family and lives with them for five months to write a book about them. Her book "reads as a novel, rather than as non-fiction." A wedding feast provided inspiration for the two dishes.
"Every year [Leslie] travels to Italy and lives to eat his way through every plate of pasta and cone of gelato... He does a beautiful job of filling this book with the flavors and scents of Italy... This a novel and a recipe book all rolled into one delicious read."
"Sometimes the stories we love best are not those that teach us something about other lives, but those that echo our own. These are stories in which we meet characters we know, and see our own thoughts laid out on the printed page. Stories in which we find that a stranger has described us better than we could describe ourselves."
"a historical fiction about ice cream and two people [a handsome, Italian ice cream maker and a beautiful but poor, French lady-in-waiting] caught up in the political climate between France and England in the 1600s and the wills of the two kings... Who knew that the subject of ice cream combined with 17th century French/English politics would be so fascinating?"
The novels are mysteries set in ancient Rome. Reading them "was like revisiting knowledge I had acquired when studying Roman history and art history, and Latin language and literature, but with a different perspective... I really like to imagine Rome as it was then (I century BCE), with locations and buildings I know from art history and from visits to the Eternal City.
My special "thank you!" goes to the event's participants. The next edition of Novel Food will be in the fall: I will announce it here and on The Food Blog Diary, 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, here's my customary parting words: read good books (maybe with the next Novel Food in mind), cook good foods, and otherwise savor life's local and seasonal offerings. Arrivederci!