Archive for August, 2007

FOOD BOOKS

this bookgroup’s theme was food. harmless enough you may think.

we initially agreed everyone would read their own book – on a food theme. then we agreed everyone would bring food related to their book. then when everyone arrived we decided to report on each book as we ate the food.

the result was outstanding, a new type of evening, a literary degustation menu. one of the best meals i’ve ever had, and a total sensory overload.

one bookgrouper compared the evening to a troop ship full of chocolate coated johnny depps, dipped in chilli, and sleeping in triple decker bunks. as far as i know that was not a recipe in anyone’s food book, at least no-one admitted to it anyway

ENTRE
Book
– Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky. connected the history of salt with the history of the world particularly exploration and the colonial era, and how crucial it was to both
Dishes – Air-dried, salt-cured topside beef with avocado and parmesan cheese. Bacalao – Salt cod on Tomato & Garlic Confit.
wine – oyster bay sav blanc

SOUP
book
– Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran – Set in the Irish town of Ballinacroagh where the local people discover the sensuous fragrances of cardamom, cinnamon, and saffron floating from The Babylon CafĂ©. The cafe is set up by the Aminpour sisters refugees from the Iranian revolution, one settling, one still running and another unsure of everything around her. Its a pleasant feel good holiday novel. It may be unfair but it feels like there is a formula in publishing these days; exotic country, romantic storyline and recipes. Is this a new genre?
dish – pomegranate soup
wine – society adelaide hills viognier

SALAD
book
– clementine – about a french woman who went to the US and cooked recipes from home
dishes – white bean salad, eggplant a la turque
wine – bullers durif

MAINS
books

– The Bittersweet World of Chocolate by Troth wells and Nikki Van der Gaarg. a history of chocolate from its south american origins in mayan and aztec cultures through the conquistadors via the enlightenment quaker families such as the cadburys and hersheys, into the modern chocolate we know today which was invented by mr lindt in the 1800s, to whom i am eternally grateful. however the main focus of the book is 20th century corporate greed and exploitation of poor equatorial cocoa farmers. the answer to which they say is for us all to buy fair trade chocolate, readily available from oxfam shops. save the world by eating chocolate – now that is a revolution to which everyone can sign up
– Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. classic mexican magical realism book/film featuring many of the same recipes as the above history. emphasises the power of the emotions of the cook whilst cooking to affect the emotions of the eater. if thats true we were all feeling good feelings when we cooked for bookgroup because the dishes had a happy contentment effect on us
dishes – chilli chocolate chicken mole which is chicken in a chocolate and chilli sauce, and chilli sin carne which is red kidney beans and onions in a chocolate and chilli sauce
wine – st halletts cab sav

DESSERT
book
– French Provincial Cooking by Elizabeth David. the original celebrity chef from the uk. who was doing back in the 40s what everyone does now with food. sounds like she was a super rich party girl with heaps of aristocratic friends, but she put it to good use, learning all the culinary secrets from the french cooks in her aristocratic friends french country houses/chateaux
dish – pear tarte followed by oceans of high quality chocolate
wine – society botrytis semillon

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August 2, 2007 at 11:45 am Leave a comment


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