Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake report

Well well, hello ladies, this is Heather M. filling in for Dawn, reporting live from my cozy living room here in little ol' MLT.

It seems a combination of a new venue, a different weekday and a strange book selection converged on the second Wednesday of the month,this June 13, to bring about a small but dedicated gathering of our book club this time. After a small key snafu, we gathered in our new space in the basement of the Bethesda Lutheran church at 6:50 to talk about The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

In attendance were: Dawn, our fearless leader, who had another library commitment that particular night (she still is in search of teen reading mentors for her program, know anyone?) but left with a care package of food, Katie S. who brought rare roast beast with horseradish, Lara who whipped up a fruit salad, Karen who made butterscotch pudding with caramel/cone cookies cut into triangles, my daughter Brenna Conwell who made her first cake all by herself-lemony bundt with lemony glaze, and myself who brought a quiche.

 If you read the book, I think you will agree that is was the "weirdest" one so far. Comments ranged from "Why didn't the author explain more about why and how" to "Did it seem to anyone that Joseph might have had Aspergers?" and finally "Why did he like being his grandmother's chair so much?" We all thought that George was the most likable character, but wondered why he became friends with Joe and his sister.

Questions abounded like; why did her gift of tasting start at 9?, why didn't her parents catch on earlier? (especially when it was revealed late in the book that grandpa could smell emotions), was it a genetic thing? and why did grandma constantly send inanimate objects in the mail? We will never know those answers. It was agreed that her style of writing was interesting, especially liked was her habit of utilizing analogies to categorize family members i.e. "Joe is like the dessert, he only needs air, you are like the rain forest, you need lots of water, I'm like the big island of Hawaii, with 12 different climate zones."

So in closing, the general consensus was that it was CREEPY that Joe became a chair, (with that particular passage even to strange for me to read outloud) but liked was the chapter of the romantic and tender way the dad roped in the mom with the velvet footstool gambit. A couple of us wondered out loud if all her writing is this way, maybe one day someone will find out and report back.

Also voiced was the new space and what a good vibe it had, with a huge kitchen containing all the dishes we needed and an industrial dishwasher the speed of light!

Next month we'll be reading Roald Dahl's best known work of literature, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory something we have all watched but probably haven't read. Looking forward to German food, tv dinners, blueberry pie and candy, lots of candy! Everlasting gobstopper anyone?????

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Trail of Crumbs report and group update

Sorry about the delay in this month's report.  We've been trying to work out some details about where and when we will be holding future bookgroups and needed to get that worked out.

First, May's book was Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love and the Search for Home by Kim SunĂ©e.  This is a memoir about a woman who was adopted in Korea as a small girl, and raised in Louisiana by a distant parents and foodie grandparents, then later goes on to live all over Europe, building her cooking and writing skills along the way.

Our discussion was small, with only Dawn, Heather, Katie, and Vernetta (I believe?) attending.  Mostly we felt frustrated with the decidedly unsympathetic plight of the author.  While it is understandable she might feel some loss and identity issues with her upbringing, it was hard to hear her complain about her extremely wealthy French boyfriend who adored her and took her shopping and on fancy trips all the time.  If only all of us could go through such tribulations in our 20s!  The food writing was quite appetizing though, and we regretted that this meeting did not featured home cooked food.  We did eat nicely though of a great Vietnamese salad Heather brought, some kim chee, and a  few other snacks.  I regretfully did not take photos or a thorough inventory, alas!

The real meat of the meeting was our discussion about what to do with the bookgroup.  It was decided rather than worry about future policy fluctuation, it would be easiest to move the bookgroup to another private location where we could potluck to our hearts content.  A few suggestions were discussed and it was decided (and later verified) that we would be meeting at the Bethesda Lutheran Church in Mountlake Terrace the second Wednesday of each month.

We are no longer advertising the group, though members are certainly welcomed to bring friends and coworkers who would enjoy it.  The expectation is that everyone attending will me a good effort to finish the book and cook something related to it.

June's title is The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender.  We will meet at 6:30 at the church on Wednesday June 13, 2012.

We will no longer have a mailing list through the library, so please sign up for either or Facebook group, or  our Google group page to get on that mailing list.

See you soon!