For the 8th time in its illustrious history, Novel Food, the literary/culinary event that Lisa of Champaign Taste and I created a few seasons ago, has reached its final phase: the roundup.
Do you find that you read more in the summer? I don't, in the sense that I read about an hour a day every day of the year (more if I can). Somehow, though, this year I started the summer with a nice stack of books ready to become food for my hungry eyes and mind. So far, the meal has been quite pleasant. One of the nice characteristics of Novel Food is that we get a list of recommended readings and a list of recommended recipes, all packaged into a pleasant event.
Without further ado, let me tell you a bit about half of the contributions, while Lisa will present the other half. Sit down, relax, and enjoy this trip to the space where the literary and the culinary worlds meet, mingle and have a pleasant time together.
"Janie has a problem: she keeps getting sucked into other people's dreams." How is this for an intriguing introduction? I must admit that I keep thinking of what it would be like: fascinating, for sure. Ruhama of rumahama thus introduces Wake by Lisa McMann.
"When Janie comes out of a dream, she's exhausted and needs food quickly." In this instance, she is the one to get help in the form of Snicker bars. From this, Ruhama in inspired to prepare a Snicker bar salad. I know you'll be curious to learn about this dish, so hop over to her blog, read all about it, then come back here for more.
Flory of sugar sublime tells the story of how the proposal for a cheese party "somewhere along the way, morphed into an Alice-in-Wonderland Mad Tea Party." Flory became acquainted with Alice in Wonderland through Disney's movie, then went to the source, read Lewis Carroll's book and loved it. Don't we all?
I won't even try to start listing all the dishes of the party: you will read all the details in Flory's post. Did I say that the party included the characters too? Don't forget to come back here to go on to the next contribution.
We travel from Wonderland to war land, in the company of Paz of The Cooking Adventures of Chef Paz and the novel that inspired her: Mare's War by Tanita S. Davis. "Mare ran away from home at a young age, lied about her age, and joined the African American battalion of the Women’s Army Corp during World War II."
Being a soldier is a hard life. A passage in the novel inspired Paz to make Potato Salad. In this scene, Mare is working in the mess: "I might not know nothing about nothing in this man’s army, but I sure can handle myself in a kitchen." Make sure you read the post, then come back here for the next bite.
Adele of Tales of the Basil Queen turned our event upside-down, so to speak: "I started with the ingredients, and worked my way out." You will read the details of her journey in her post, where she introduces us to Adèle Geras' Apricots at Midnight a collection of short stories told to the narrator, a young girl, by her Aunt Pinny.
The title story revolves around a lavish party thrown by Mrs. Triptree. Mr. Triptree would rather be elsewhere than there, and he finds pleasure in bringing some food to the young Pinny. From the apricots shared then comes the Apricot Tart: "find a quiet corner in which to feast in peace," says Adele, then come back here for a bit more.
For the occasion, Simona of briciole (that would be me), went back to her beloved Inspector Montalbano, protagonist of many novels and stories by Andrea Camilleri. The immediate source of inspiration this time was Rounding the Mark, where Montalbano faces horrible crimes, but still does not waver from his habit of focusing on the food in front of him "savoring each bite as though it were his last."
Montalbano's simple gesture of picking up sesame seeds fallen from the surface of fresh bread, inspired me to bake four kinds of bread, three with sesame seeds and one with olives (a favorite food of Montalbano). After you have read about my bread spree, come back here for the last morsel.
Part of the fun of hosting Novel Food is the conversations Lisa of Champaign Taste and I have on the subject between the week before the announcement and the day of the roundup. We share ideas about the literary works to feature, declare changes to our plans, take detour into different areas of the food world (the most recent one being about lamb pluck) and rejoice at the wonderful contributions we receive. Of those, you have read here about half, so make sure you visit Lisa's portion of the roundup, for another set of enticing morsels.
At the beginning, you will read Lisa's own contribution, featuring the novel A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. She loved the book and was inspired by it to prepare an Afghan meal of lamb kebabs, spinach with rice and a tomato chutney. Thanks Lisa, and thanks to all who contributed to our event.
I hope you had fun reading the two portions of the roundup of this edition of Novel Food. The next edition of our event will be later in the year: as usual, we will announce it on our blogs and on other venues, so stay tuned. In the meantime, read a book (maybe with the next Novel Food in mind), cook, and otherwise enjoy the time of the year.