Only Rachel's had read many of Ondaatje's books, and she felt this may be one of his weakest. While everyone in the group found the setting very interesting, and the trouble the kids got into pretty amusing. the plot was slow to develop, and generally unsatisfying. It was unclear if he was leaving so many lose ends and unknowns in the story to illustrate how children know so little of what is going on around them and how memory and imagination fill in the rest, or if he is just actually piecing together his own childhood memories and doesn't have real answers to give. While many folks were left with uncertainty about reading more by this author, most of us could agree that we would like to take a long journey by boat like this one. One of the most disappointing passages was probably the secret dinner down in the hold. While the setting and characters took on an air of magic in this scene, the food was sadly neglected. Descriptive as this book could be in places, it simply was not drool worthy.
Happily, we still were able to piece together a lovely feast, loosely based on the regions featured in the book.
Harvey’s Bristol Cream sherry to stimulate our appetites,
lovely green vegetables, and rice.
simple veggie curry
couscous with chicken
Katie S. – Bademiya's Justly Famous Bombay Chile + Cilantro Chicken with Cilantro Sauce
cucumber mint tea sandwiches
spinach, pear and walnut salad
with raspberry vinaigrette
Sri Lankan Coconut Cake
Sonja K-G – Cherry Cordial Cupcakes with condensed milk
Much thanks to Katie S. for making a sign for us to put on the door, so Al-anon folks won't have to be embarrassed about going to the wrong location any more!
Next month, on Wednesday March 5th, we will be discussing The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. (takes place in Paris, with some Japanese cooking!) at Madeline's house (due to our regular location celebrating Lent with community dinners). If you need her address, please contact me, or someone else who was at the last meeting. She does not wish to post it online.