Wednesday, February 24, 2016

My Paris Kitchen

This month we shared the cookbook, My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz. And what a delight it was!

The group was delighted to do a cookbook for a change of pace, and were super excited for our potluck.  The book itself was so beautiful...nobody wanted to return it to the library. Everyone loved the way he he was in the room with you talking. "He makes everything sound easy." Folks were surprised how hilariously funny the book could be at times. We all wanted to go to the market with him, and be his friend. Loved the discussion about his sink, too. There was so much passion in this book, about food, people, and bringing folks together. And such great stories! Our favorites were about the rotisserie chickens ("I vowed to eat less chicken skin and skip the workouts. So far I've been good at keeping the later promise to myself, but not the other.") and the story about the onion tarts. And the photographs...everything in this book made us drool.

The only thing people didn't like about this book was that we couldn't make it all! (Ok, a few people found some of the beef photos unappealing, and some had trouble not splattering the library books, too).

I've said this before, but this was one of our best meals EVER.

Barbara - leeks with mustard bacon vinaigrette

Bobbi – Madeleines and Sorbet


Dawn – beet hummus


Jane (Laura’s neighbor) - lentil salad


Katie S. – cherry tomato crustini with homemade herbed goat cheese + chocolate dulce de Leche tart

 Katie W. – Grated carrot salad (Oh photo!)

Laura – chicken with mustard and the mashed potatoes (check out that dripping sauce...sooo good!)

Susan - green beans and tapenade and crackers  

For March we are reading Tattoos on the Heart: the Power of Boundless Compassion by Father Gregory Boyle. (It is especially wonderful as an audiobook!) We will once again be meeting at Laura's house, and you are encouraged to bring some sort of Mexican food and/or baked goods!

Message me if you need directions,


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

John Saturnall’s Feast

This month we read John Saturnall's Feast by Laurence Norfolk. People seemed to have pretty mixed feelings on this one.  This was a pretty heavy piece of literature, and many of us had trouble getting into it, and some had a hard time following it...especially during the war scenes. A family tree would have been helpful. Folks feel it picked up when it reached the castle, but it kept shifting gears, and sometimes felt like an altogether different story. That said, it would make a great HBO series.

There were many things we did like about the book. Once hooked, many people enjoyed it. The illustrations were much enjoyed. Loved the quote "A Recipe is but the Promise of a Dish but a Dish is the Measure of its Cook." And the historical events were very well received, such as the king's entrance with all the fanfare, the details about the scullery, and the fascinating descriptions of worship (such as proving devotion by kneeling on pebbles). But it didn't romanticize things, you still got a heartbreaking portrait of Medieval times, mobs and bullies, and the suffering of the poor and the mentally ill.

But there were also a lot of things people had trouble with, too. The descriptions could be interesting, but sometimes too much. The writing had abrupt transitions, and sometimes dropped int he middle of conversations. It was just to violent for some folks, and there was nothing drool-worthy in the food writing. And everyone was irritated by the jacket design. Having a cover flap on a paperback was really kept getting in the way and wasn't suitable for a bookmark.

Unlike the book, we had some wonderful food!

Barbara - apple strudel

Bobbi – poultry, fruitcake

Dawn – boysenberry pie

Heather McN – ham and chicken pie (not sure where the photo of this went!)

Katie S. – stuffed artichokes with peas and dill. And a starfruit jello.

Katie W. – Maezzerine tart raspberry, bread

Laura – chocolate chip cookies, fruit and tea

Sunny S. – pineapple gingerbread and a green salad

Next meeting will be at Laura's house on February 3rd. February, when we will be discussing and eating from My Paris Kitchen.

Message me if you need directions!