Monday, October 17, 2011

Five Quarters of the Orange report

This month's book was Five Quarters of the Orange by Joann Harris.

The discussion was lively, as people were pretty split on their feelings about the book.  Some were confused at first, and frustrated by the clouded timeline.  Others were unsettled by the grim portrayal of humanity. 

Much was said on the topic of innocence and consequences, how the children seemed oblivious to what their actions wrought, but at the same time represented adults behavior in the war too...we may think we know what we are doing, but how can you truly gage the consequences?  An interesting point was brought up about the frontal cortex being underdeveloped in children, which would also limit their ability to process this concept.

Another interesting idea presented was that the mother might not only be suffering from terrible migraines, but also possibly Asperger's syndrome, which would explain her keen obsession and ability in one area (cooking) and her inability to connect emotionally with her children.

Many of us did enjoy was the slowly unraveling mystery.  We all felt the author did a wonderful job of getting into the mind of a child going through a difficult time.  Some really enjoyed the jumps back and forth from childhood to later years.  And of course all of us enjoyed the food references!  The food names were especially delightful, especially when you consider the mother could only seem to express affection through food.

Katie found a great article on the book by the author you might want to read, which provides a little background information on it.  Also, thanks again to Katie for putting together the list of all the foods in the book!

Our feast was ever so tasty!  Here is what everyone brought:

Katie S. - chicken fricassee and peas
Katie W. - cherry clafoutis

Sonja G. - apple strudel
Karen T. - kougin amann

Heather McN – potatoes cooked in half and half
Julie D. – roasted duck breast

Lynn T. - crepes with coulis frambrises
Dawn R. – baguette, brie, and Pâté de Campagne

Laura - cranberry walnut bread with orange zest

Also, thanks to Heather, who donated a microwave to our kitchen. This will be a great help for our potlucks.

Next month's book is Life of Pi by Yann Martel. It doesn't have much to do with food, I just thought it would be a fun and interesting book to read with our pie potluck everyone wanted to do! Plan on bringing some sort of pie...sweet, savory, you decide! Currently we have four copies left at the Mountlake Terrace Library front desk, plus 3 cds.


  1. Yeah! Great report on a great meeting, Dawn! I look forward to seeing everyone again next month.

  2. I've read Joanne Harris' food trilogy, and Five Quarters of the Orange is the best~