It is time to come to taste the contributions made to the 37th edition of Novel Food, the literary/culinary event that Lisa of Champaign Taste and I created in 2007. Novel Food is about prose or poetry works that inspire the preparation of dishes. I continue to host this event with great pleasure, as it brings together two of my passions: literature and food. Every edition delivers a precious reading list and a lovely set of recipes, and this one is no exception.
A group of book-loving food bloggers has contributed posts, each describing a work of written words and the dish that the reading inspired. You are invited to follow me on a literary/culinary tour. For each contribution, I offer a small bite to whet your appetite: follow the link to read the details of the special connection between written word and food that each participant has created.
Debra of Eliot's Eats read read The Food Explorer by Daniel Stone
and prepared Kale-Quinoa Salad with Pistachios and Raisins and Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
"We owe more than a lot to Fairchild. Without him we would have no quinoa or kale. I had to smile when he discovered kale in Italy. It was called 'capuzzo' and according to the explorer, it 'was neither charismatic nor particularity delicious' (170)... Because of the kale, quinoa, pistachios and raisins that Fairchild 'discovered' along with wanting to give a nod to Meyer, I decided to make a salad combining all these flavors."
Reading The Art of Escapism Cooking by Mandy Lee
inspired Debra to go through A long faux sour dough process
"Where to begin... 'The Pantry' section was one of my favorites... There’s ingredients included that are not in a normal pantry (or at least not in mine)... I also adored her condiment section... I have been experimenting and trying to get the taste and texture of a traditional sour dough for years. I’ve added balsamic. I’ve grown my own sour dough (and killed it). I’ve been close a couple of times but no bonanza success... I had to try this.. I loved reading her story... and again, I loved her sense of humor."
"A true psychological thriller and mystery... The house is all up to date with the newest and the best types of smart house technologies. When Rowan begins working with this family she quickly learns something is amiss... the former residents had lost their 11-year-old daughter after 'she had died from eating Prunus laurocerasus, or cherry laurel berries, which had been accidentally made into jam.' Poison jam you say?... Sounds great! Don’t worry. No Prunus laurocerasus was used in the making of my jam."
"There is humor and tragedy and a bit of mystery and intrigue thrown into... For my book inspired dish I had to go with Chop Suey from a conversation between Francie, Vi and June about things Francie wants to try while waiting for and after her divorce in Reno... I remember when going out to eat at the very Americanized Chinese restaurant in town when I was a child in the seventies and my mom making chop suey and chow mein at home and how very exotic it felt so I wanted to recreate that... ended up making my own based on what I had on hand."
"I love cozy mysteries that involve food, especially those set in a bakery. In this particular series, our intrepid heroine, Katie Lightfoot, also happens to be a witch. A good one, of course. She happens to belong to a coven that includes her Aunt Lucy, with whom she also owns the Honeybee Bakery. Katie is just discovering her witchy powers, as her mom and dad (also witches) tried to protect her from the witch world... Lucy and Katie infuse all their baked goods with witchy positivity, which takes the form of various spices and herbs."
"Here's a memoir you might enjoy, even if you aren't a Francophile... Lots of super food ideas and mentions!... [Mah] discovers that the French are very serious about their meals. Lunch is not meant to be carelessly consumed at one's desk, or food eaten whilst walking along the street... I was in the mood for a good, different sort of salad. One that would make a suitable light dinner on its own. So, Salade Lyonnaise was the answer!... What's not to love? Bacon, soft cooked eggs, garlic toasted croutons, fresh greens??"
Simona of briciole read The Terracotta Dog and The Voice of the Violin
by Andrea Camilleri and prepared Sicilian long zucchini and its greens with tomatoes
"I tasted pasta with tenerumi when I first visited Sicily many years ago. Besides prepared as a side dish the way signora Angelina did, tenerumi are also used to make soup. When I saw tenerumi at the Berkeley farmers market a recent Saturday, I could not believe my eyes. I felt I had been tele-transported to Sicily. The zucchina lunga (Lagenaria siceraria) called cucuzza in dialect, does not belong to the same species as other zucchini... I cooked cucuzza e tenerumi simply, with sweet onion and some fresh Early Girl tomatoes from the same farmer. "
Simona also read The Food Explorer by Daniel Stone
and prepared a Fruit salad with fresh dates
"Of the many stories Stone recounts, one that particularly resonated with me is that of dates. We spent the early days of this year in the Coachella Valley in Southern California, where date palms are everywhere... Also, as I was reading the book, I encountered fresh Yellow Barhi dates at the Berkeley farmers market. I had never seen fresh dates up close and personal... and I had no idea you could eat them before they were completely brown... I tasted one that was half yellow and half soft: it was a revelation. Sweet, but not as sweet as a fully dried one, the date retained a bit of crunch and had a hint of coconut. "
Finally, Simona was inspired by the Rocco Schiavone novels by Antonio Manzini
to prepare a Fresh beans in fresh tomato sauce
"[M]y dish was inspired not so much by something mentioned in the novels, as by the wish to prepare something Roman-style for their protagonist. The sight at the Berkeley farmers' market of several varieties of fresh beans, out of which I chose to try Coco Bianco, plus the availability of Early Girl tomatoes, suggested pasta e fagioli alla romana to me. I prepared the beans in tomato sauce without pasta."
My special "thank you!" to the event's contributors: I hope you enjoyed participating as I do hosting the event.
You will find a link to this roundup and to those of all the earlier editions on this page. If you are looking for additional reading suggestions, head over to the Cook the Books Club website. For the October-November edition, we are reading The Temporary Bride by Jennifer Klinec, then share reviews and recipes.
The next edition of Novel Food will be in late winter: stay tuned for the announcement. 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.