Heather was kind enough to write up this month's meeting for us:
"Hello readers, "Midnight at the Dragon Cafe" by Judy Fong Bates, was our read for the month of January.
It was billed as fiction, but we suspect there was a lot of her life in the tome, a coming of age tale of Annie, our young female protagonist growing up in a small Canadian town. As the only child in the only Chinese family in town who of course run the only Chinese restaurant around, she keenly feels the cultural divide between her and the other girls. The book chronicles the difficult, sometimes unbearable living arrangements meant to be endured by her parents, herself and her older half brother who arrives to help in the restaurant.
Some of us were remembering "The Fortune Cookies Chronicles" and how that book set the stage of understanding and intertwined with this one concerning the underground railroad of people who staff these ubiquitous establishments so prevalent there is at least one in every town in America. Enjoyable were the passages of Annie's playmates, their family structures so different from hers, what they ate and how they lived. We also liked the time period the 60's; simple, elegant, a little surreal. We felt bad for the mother, trapped in a loveless, sexless union and agonized over how she dealt with it. Our sympathies went out to the young, innocent mail-order bride who entered the picture to late to save her future in that family unit. Everyone generally liked the book as the writing was memorable.
A bit of grumbling about "no Chinese recipes" and about how sometimes her storyline was anti-climatic and strange, some dialog confusing. Some gross sidebars on odd customs like eating monkey brains while the beast still lives, but it didn't spoil our appetites much, as we happily munched on the awesome homemade Chinese dishes brought by all."
Laura - Boston Cream Pie + egg rolls
Julie - Chinese short ribs
Katie W. - Chinese Almond Cookies
Dawn - BBQ pork (store-bought, alas), egg flower soup
Heather - stir fried veggies
Katie S. - General Tso's Chicken
Next month's book is Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard. Here is an author interview. There are currently 4 copies available from Sno-Isle that you can place holds on, plus cds and ebooks.
We will be meeting on Wednesday February 13th at 6:30pm.
Look forward to seeing you then!