Food and Fiction Meme

My friend over at Incurable Logophilia ran a terrific meme the other day about food and fiction, so I thought I’d copy. It’s a great meme. It really makes you think about how food and fiction can be intertwined. Please add your associations at the end! I love to hear other people’s literary memories. …

 Food from fiction that you’d like to sample:

 Right away, I think of being a child and reading about the maple syrup concoctions Laura and Mary Ingalls made in Little House on the Prairie (and Little House in the Big Woods, I believe). (I guess that might actually fall under the “nonfiction” category, but I definitely remember reading that item in a book and wishing I could sample.) The girls would pour syrup onto the snow in swirling configurations, let them freeze, then eat them like a cookie. I always thought that sounded fun.

 As an adult, though … hmmm … well, I still lean toward the sweets: In Chocolat, I remember the way they described the hot chocolate in the book – thick and foamy, with real milk and real chocolate – and I recall wanting to taste that so badly.

 A fictional meal you would like to have attended:

 For some reason, the first thing that comes to mind here is The Great Gatsby, and the characters all sitting out on the veranda, the first night Nick visits Daisy. I would like to have been there, drinking claret while the summer wind blew the curtains and Daisy questioned whether the candles should be lit. It was such a strange but romantic conversation, with so many secrets. I always wanted to help Nick sort through the lies. Continue reading

Lane Cake, Crescendoes and Atticus Finch

The Lane cake made its appearance somewhere around 9 p.m. It arrived after the vegetarian chili, but before the discussion about triathlons. And it was before the discussion of the 1940s in the 1950s house, but after the inspection of the dog bed for the cat. …

And thus went another book club. …

I love our book club. It’s one of those arrangements of people you don’t even realize, when you’re there in the thick of it, that’s amazing.

I had this experience a few other times – once with set of neighbors, from about 1996 to 1998; once with a group of kindergarten moms; and once with a group of coworkers at the newspaper. When you’re in the middle of things – in the middle of the everydayness of gathering around the coffeemaker at the newspaper or walking your babies or dropping your kids off at kindergarten – it’s easy to overlook the fact that you get along remarkably well with this group of people. You tend to think (in the everydayness) that you would get along with any people who were walking their babies, or that you’d laugh that hard with any gathering of coworkers who created weird collections of plastic cups in each other’s cubicles. But it’s only later – years and years later, sometimes – that you realize that … well, no. No, you wouldn’t have laughed that hard with another gathering of coworkers, or felt that connected to another set of moms in front of the swing sets. That was a special group. It was just the right personalities at just the right time who came together at just the right moment, when you all understood and needed and appreciated each other. It’s like the coming together of random band instruments on a street corner, all at the proper pitch and proper speed, to create the perfect crescendo. Continue reading

The 2009 Book Club List

Ornament made by Janelle, highlighting last year's book list

Ornament made by Janelle, highlighting a previous book list

Whoo-hoo! Our new book club list is in! I look forward to our new book club list every year. When my kids were very little, I never had time to read anything but the backs of cereal boxes and the occasional Parenting Magazine article about whether you should put your baby to sleep on her back or her belly (… it depended on the year). I’d read these random sentences while my children were in the bath, or try to hold the magazine steady while I fed the baby with my other hand, but I had “reader envy” big-time. My co-workers at the newspaper would go on and on about all the great books they were reading, and I’d listen wistfully, longing for the day when I could read two whole pages, straight through, without a small fry needing his shoes tied or a munchkin needing me to wipe the chocolate milk she just spilled across the breakfast bar. And soon — eventually — the day came! Now I read like crazy. And my book club has been a great source of joy — a seriously wonderful group of women who are smart, savvy and make me feel like a grown-up. Here’s what’s in store for 2009:

  • January: To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
  • February: The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri
  • March: Snow, Orham Pamuk
  • April: The Transit of Venus, Shirley Hazzard
  • May: The Hour I First Believed, Wally Lamb
  • June: Zorro: A Novel (P.S.), Isabel Allende
  • July: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
  • August: The Devil in the White City, Erik Larsen
  • September: When You Are Engulfed in Flames, David Sedaris
  • October: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, David Wroblewski
  • November: A Mercy, Toni Morrison
  • December: A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

Have you all read many of these? Tell me what I’m in store for. …

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