First came the announcement, then the various contributions arrived in my mailbox, and finally, today it is time for the roundup of the 14th edition of Novel Food, the literary/culinary event that Lisa of Champaign Taste and I created in 2007. Novel Food is about literary works (prose or poetry) that inspire the preparation of dishes.
Like all its predecessors, the current edition of the event includes an lovely set of readables and edibles. Please, follow me on a short literary/culinary tour. For each contribution, I will offer a small bite to whet your appetite for more: follow the link to read the details of the inspiring work of literature and of the inspired recipe. I hope that by the time you reach the end of this post, you will have a nice reading and cooking list to be used in the near future. With the Holidays coming up, it's nice to have some books in your wish list.
"China is a former high-powered defense attorney who shifts gears mid-career to open up an herb shop surrounded by gardens in a small town." Each book has a different herbal theme "and one can learn a lot about gardening, folklore, the medicinal use of herbs and even try out some delicious recipes from the back of many of the books."
A line of the poem and the British habit of adding jam to a rice pudding merged to direct the creation of this dessert served in glass. The topping follows the same process as making a grape jelly... but stops short of allowing the jelly to set... The gâteau de riz layer is perhaps a little less firm than many French versions and is flavoured with lemon rather than vanilla."
"Pappanozza... I like the way it sounds – fun. I like the way it rolls off my tongue – Pap-PA-noz-za. Pap-Pa-noz-za!... I love the simplicity with which the food is described and the plainness of the ingredients involved, and the way it’s prepared... This was nothing fancy, yet it tasted delicious. Like Inspector Montalbano, that is all I ate. I, too, wanted to keep to light food. It was perfect."
"One of the points driven home by the book is the ability to be yourself. One of the ways that this is demonstrated is through the food. Robert is a vegetarian, and Francesca has never really liked meat... with Robert, she can experiment. She can do what she wants and cook food that makes her happy. One of those foods is stuffed peppers... I created a vegetarian option that made use out of what I had in the pantry."
"This book is a fun read... especially if you are at all interested in travel, food, or Italy... My copy of Beyond the Pasta was sitting right next to my knitting basket, where I can thumb through my favorite parts of the book. Page 17. Day One of Mark's trip to Italy. He is talking about his arrival to Italy and welcome into the family," and frittata con zucchine e cipolla comes out of Nonna's kitchen.
Inspired by "a story about college and growing up that shows how even being able to do magic does not make coming of age any less awkward," comes "a dish that reminded me... of wandering into the kitchen late on a Saturday afternoon and watching a meal evolve, unplanned and unrehearsed, as more people trickled in with thoughts of food on their minds... The ravioli dish below uses a little trick I figured out just this year."
"Dr. Treves' careful and kind recollections of his discovery of and subsequent enriching friendship with Mr. Merrick... shows the rewards of suspending such judgment until a measured and patient evaluation can be made... It is probable that Mr. Merrick and Dr. Treves had never encountered the anomaly of blue potatoes arranged on their dinner plates. But I know that given each man's remarkable character, and joy in living and giving, that neither would have refrained from a single mouthful."
The novel revolves around a series of gruesome murders that occur in Boston and Cambridge (MA) while Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is working on a translation of Dante's Inferno. The thought of Dante's exile from his beloved Florence inspired the preparation of a dish that includes popular ingredients, including two, mushrooms, and chestnuts, usually gathered in the woods.
The "story brings the reader into a quiet corner of France, where life goes on fairly steadily, but where nothing goes on unremarked... When I saw the two half crostatine on the plate, I thought they were an apt metaphor for the lonely halves in the story, whose leitmotif is the inability to communicate. This inability, which we see in every character, not just the main ones, has tragic consequences."
My special "thank you!" goes to the event's participants. The next edition of Novel Food will be in the spring: I will announce it here and on The Food Blog Diary, so stay tuned. The Food Blog Diary is the lovely event announcement site created and maintained by Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes. Visit the site to read about current events and let her know about your event and she will post it on her well-organized site. Thank you, Jacqueline!
In the meantime, read good books (maybe with the next Novel Food in mind), cook good foods, and otherwise savor life's local and seasonal offerings. Arrivederci!