Monday, November 14, 2011

Life of Pi & Pie Night report

This month we explored a totally different sort of food that focused on the essentials of food for survival!  Admittedly, Life of Pi by Yann Martel is not particularly foodie, but the group really wanted to have a night celebrating pie and we've found just discussing cookbooks doesn't fill up a whole meeting!

Life of Pi was full of things for us to discuss.  For most of us, it took a little while to get into at first.  The idea of a boy in a boat with a tiger was a bit freaky, and the first 100 pages were a bit dry with heavy religious writing, but everyone who read/skimmed their way past that found the rest of the book very satisfying.

We had a great discussion about Pi's determination to explore three religions simultaneously.  The main lessons folks drew from this was that there are beautiful parts of all religions, and like with the plot of the book, we all have to choose for ourselves what is meaningful.  As one insightful reader observed, we want to find the truth in what he is saying...regardless of which religion it is coming from or how likely his story.

Things people liked about this book:
  • the description of how animals like their territory, and their need for space and food.
  • thinking about sparsity as a foodie issue.
  • the sheer imagination of it all...where does the author get these ideas?
  • the description of Pi's life in the current day, how it celebrates life, love and God.
  • Chapter 22 - (The author's summary of religion) "I can well imagine an atheist's last words: 'White, white! L-L-Love! My God!'-and the deathbed leap of faith. Whereas the agnostic, if he stays true to his reasonable self, if he stays beholden to dry, yeastless factuality, might try to explain the warm light bathing him by saying, 'Possibly a f-f-failing oxygenation of the b-b-brain,' and, to the very end, lack imagination and miss the better story."
  • the detail of the writing, though sometimes it was gruesome it was always fascinating (like Wild Kingdom in the 1970s!).
Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom opening:

Things people disliked:
  • Couldn't stay awake reading it!
  • The zebra took WAY too long to die (while some liked the very biological description, it pained others to read about animal suffering).
Our pie potluck was WONDERFUL!

Tania made traditional meat pies, and her daughter Tatiana made a lovely squash pie.

Sheri made a spinach-ham pie, and Katie S. made a spanakopita (Greek spinach pie).

Heather made a shepherds pie, and Karen made a beef pot pie.

Heather McN made a spicy pumpkin pie, and Laura also made pumpkin pie (can't get too much of that!)

Katie G. made a peanut butter chocolate pie, and Carol made a delicious and beautiful pie that was very sweet (but I can't recall what type!)

Last, but not least, Katie W. made a delicious Hoosier Pie:

Madeleine brought cevich in the spirit of the book (to remember the story and feel a part of it) and her friend Paul.

And I brought salad and milk to wash down all that pie!

Other tidbits from our meeting:

Next month's book is Sweet Revenge by Diane Mott Davidson, a foodie mystery with a holiday theme:

Catering a holiday breakfast for the local library staff, Goldy Schultz is shocked to see a supposedly dead woman who is believed to be Goldy's ex-husband's killer, an encounter that precedes the murder of a high-end map dealer.    

We have copies at Mountlake Terrace Library, and there are many in the system!   This should be a fun light read just perfect for the busy month of December.  And we will be doing a cookie exchange, so bring a batch of your holiday favorites and a container to bring some sweet treats home in!  We will be meeting Monday December 12th at 6:30pm.

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