We've "fallen back" more than a week ago, had some rain and watched furious waves crash ashore on Saturday. This all means winter is fast approaching on our hemisphere, bringing with it chilly evenings, when it is wonderful to curl up on the couch, wrapped in a warm blanket, in the company of a good book. If your reading list could use some new entries, here we are to provide you interesting suggestions. Each of the titles featured here has inspired the preparation of a dish: isn't that by itself a great recommendation?
Lisa of Champaign Taste and I started Novel Food as a literary/culinary event two years ago and we had fun organizing another edition. This time, it is going to be a cozy getting together around a fireplace, where we talk literature and food. Without further ado, I will introduce half of the contributions, while Lisa will present the other half. Sit down, relax, and enjoy this fireside chat about books and food.
Ruhama of rumahama carries us in the special world of literature for children. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner "is great for elementary aged kids (and perfect for a read-aloud, making it good for preschoolers, too)." Four children run away, "find an abandoned boxcar on an unused portion of tracks in the woods and turn it into their home." The children show a good dose of creativity in making use of limited resources to organize their life, including meals: "Henry makes a meal out of thinnings from the doctor's garden, and when I started pulling up carrots from our garden, I knew immediately I had to incorporate them somehow with this novel."
Ruhama's carrots look adorable and they end up in a beautiful Pistou Soup. Visit her blog to read more details about the book and the soup and to see more photos, then come back here for the next morsel.
With Sandi of Whistlestop Cage Cooking we are transported in the world of Fannie Flagg, the beloved southern writer who "paints a picture of every sleepy southern town." In Redbird Christmas, we learn about Little River "just in time for the holidays." The pie Sandi was inspired to make, Mildred's Key Lime Pie, is not a predictable holiday pie, because "with Mildred you never knew which way she was going to jump from one minute to the next."
I don't know about you, but I think key lime pie is excellent any time of the year, so hop over to Sandi's blog to take a close look at her post, then come back here for the next bit.
Food rationing going during World War II made cakes the subject of dreams. For Arthur Rowe, protagonist of Graham Greene's The Ministry of Fear, the dream comes true when he wins a "magnificent cake" at a fund-raising fair. And Susan, The Well-Seasoned Cook, was inspired by Rowe's magnificent cake to make a dream of a Dundee Cake, rich in spices and dried fruit. "Life, unfortunately for Arthur Rowe, was never wistfully sweeter than during the brief respite of a seemingly innocent cake in an era when loyalty and love were especially unkind."
Go over to Susan's blog to read more about Greene's novel and get the details of the special cake, then come back here for another sample.
Simona of briciole, co-host of the event (that would be me), was inspired by a recipe (without quantities) in the novel Tattoo by Manuel Vázquez Montalbán to prepare la caldeirada di Pepe Carvalho (Pepe Carvalho's caldeirada), a personal rendition of Portuguese fish stew. The novel describes Carvalho first shopping for the ingredients and then preparing the dish for a solitary, fireside dinner devoted to meditation on recent events.
Navigate to the post to learn a bit more about Carvalho and his author and the details of the recipe (to which I added my personal touch of gougères) then come back here for another taste.
My partner in the event, Lisa of Champaign Taste was inspired by Jeannette Walls' Half Broke Horses, a "true-life novel," as the author describes it. "The book is a lightly fictionalized account of the life of Walls' grandmother, Lily Casey Smith," who was born in West Texas in 1901. Later, she moved to New Mexico and then Arizona. The story is told in first person and is full of adventures.
Lisa enjoyed the novel, which inspired her to prepare "the classic Mexican breakfast": huevos rancheros ("ranch-style" or "country-style" eggs). I didn't know that "Ranchero sauce is the cowboys' ketchup."
You have not one, but two reasons to go over to Lisa's blog now: to read the details of her dish and the book that inspired its making, and to enjoy the other portion of the roundup. When you are done enjoying the offerings there, come back here for some parting words.
I hope you had fun reading the two portions of the roundup of this edition of Novel Food. Many thanks to all who contributed to our event and to my partner Lisa.
The next edition of our event will be in the spring: we will announce it on our blogs and on other venues, so stay tuned. In the meantime, read good books (maybe with the next Novel Food in mind), cook good dishes, and otherwise enjoy the time of the year.