Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Orchardist

This month we had a great discussion (and even greater feast) around The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin.  We hoped at a minimum we could make a meal around apples and apricots, but the book proved to be full of all kinds of inspiring food.

Overall people seemed to enjoy reading the book, but found it a bit depressing. It was hard to read all the passages with child abuse (there was true worry the baby would be made into a sex slave), and sad that Della never bonded with the baby.  And it was strange when she checked herself into jail, we concluded between the abuse and the near-hanging, she had sustained both emotional and brain damage.  Most of all people were frustrated that we never found out what happened to his sister...while it was agreed this did make the book all the more realistic and tragic, and did explain his actions in defense of lost Della, it made it feel like a presented mystery had no resolution. 

But there were also many moments of lightness and beauty, such as this delightful quote Katie S. shared with us:

There was lots to love in this book.  The trip to the The Peninsula was lovely. Some of us appreciated how as a cobbled together family, everyone in the book had so much space. We really loved the writing, and the  melancholy tone. The pacing was nice and steady, though slow.   Being Washingtonians, we really enjoyed the references to local towns, and the setting in general.  The descriptions of the orchard were so vivid and full of life.  And we drooled over the crab chowder description, and that of the Christmas dinner with rabbit and chestnut dressing.

 Random quote of the evening: "Cell phones don't protect you from bears."

 The food was SO good this month.  Really one of our best feasts!

Barbara – Autumn Apple Salad with Creamy Maple Dressing

Bobbi - Apple, onion, gruyere puffs

Dawn – Watermelon, pickles, lemon drops, cider

 Heather McN – seafood chowder/bisque and nectarine honey tapioca

Julie - Crab (no photos...but tasty!) and chicken and rice 

Katie S. – raisin buns
Vanessa - Artichoke crab dip and mini carmel "apples" (grapes), bacon wrapped chicken fingers

 Madeline - Pork loin with apples and apricots

 Katie W. – plum cake
 Laura – Cornbread and apple pie and honey butter 

Next month's book is The Dinner by Herman Koch. 

It's a summer's evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse -- the banality of work, the triviality of the holidays. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened.

Can't wait to see what you all think of it...and what you cook!

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