Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Our June/July Selection: Kitchen Chinese


After the past two months of negative press on China, here's something positive!  The food!  When I read Kitchen Chinese, by Ann Mah, last year, her writing impressed me, the food was inspiring and her story quite intriguing, so of course it had to be my Cook the Books Club pick.

As the Publishers say: "Kitchen Chinese, Ann Mah’s funny and poignant first novel about a young Chinese-American woman who travels to Beijing to discover food, family, and herself is a delight—complete with mouth-watering descriptions of Asian culinary delicacies, from Peking duck and Mongolian hot pot to the colorful, lesser known Ants in a Tree that will delight foodies everywhere. Reminiscent of Elizabeth Gilbert’s runaway bestseller Eat, Pray, Love, Mah’s tale of clashing cultures, rival siblings, and fine dining is an unforgettable, unexpectedly sensual reading experience—the story of one woman’s search for identity and purpose in an exotic and faraway land."


The star of the tale is Isabelle Lee, who after her magazine career comes to a halt, finds herself at loose ends and wanting change.  She leaves New York, hoping also to reconnect with her family roots in China. Her older sister is an attorney living there, so she has a place to stay. However, her familiarity with the language and culture is limited to 'kitchen Chinese'.  Luckily, after arriving she is able to land a job at a magazine for the expatriate community in Beijing and find a circle of friends. Isabelle's Beijing immersion provides a refreshing and fun narrative, with insights into modern China and the expatriate experience, making for a truly enjoyable read.  I hope you'll find it inspires your cooking as well!

Anyone can participate in Cook the Books by simply reading our selection, taking inspiration from the book, then cooking and posting about your inspired dish. We look forward to having you read and cook along with us this round. New participants are always welcome! (Leave a comment here or check out our Guidelines page if you have any questions.)

Deadline for contributing your post is Friday, July 31, 2020  Leave a comment below with a link to your post or email me at claudiariley@yahoo.com.

Aloha,
Claudia
Honey from Rock



Monday, June 1, 2020

Hippie Food: The Roundup

It's time to roundup all the happy hippie-ish dishes our participants made for our Cook the Books May/June pick, Hippie Food: How Back-to-the-Landers, Longhairs, and Revolutionaries Changed the Way We Eat. Yes, there was a lot of brown rice involved but there was also bread and veggies and a yummy apple crisp! ;-)


Wendy from A Day in the Life On the Farm was first in, finding the book timely, saying "I thought it was quite coincidental that this book was chosen to be read during this time in our history. The book is all about the Hippie Movement of the 60's and 70's when they were flocking to communes and trying to live off the land with what they had on hand and with very little money." 

Wendy made White Whole Wheat Tassajera Bread saying, "One of the things that "Hippie Food" brought to us was the awareness of the natural goodness and health benefits of whole grains. Tassajara Bread starts with whole wheat flour. There are recipes that also add in additional seeds and grains but I did not add anything to my version that I started with a bag of white whole wheat flour that I had in my pantry."
  


Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla was right behind Wendy with her entry. She said, "On one hand, I loved this book as food history. On the other hand, it's not about hippie food; it's just food you should eat once you learn about the merits of a less-processed diet. Then, again, the boys' friends do call me a 'hippie food witch. So, maybe it is hippie food and I'm just a hippie.

Camilla tried her hand at sourdough saying, "… a friend gifted me some of her sourdough starter. And with time on my hands as we all shelter in place to help flatten the curve of the coronavirus, I was inspired to give sourdough bread baking a try. After more than a half dozen sourdough bricks, I finally moved to weight measurements versus volume. Plus I started using the Tartine Bakery method of folding versus kneading. Those two adjustments made a world of difference and I finally started to enjoy the bread I was baking. This Boule with Fresh Garlic, Fresh Rosemary and Pitted Green Olives was my twelfth loaf and - by far - my favorite! So, I'm sharing it today to go with Hippie Food."
   


Next was Claudia of Honey from Rock who related to parts of the book before it got too historical in areas, saying, "I lived this darn book, some of it anyway. Caught up in the world directly around us as we were, much of what Kauffman recorded was part of the "Mainland" story or only hearsay. We were hippies, Bob and I, of a sort, back-to-the-landers (if you can go back to where you never were in the first place) in rural Hawaii. Building a basic, simple home, planting trees, a garden and etc.

Claudia settled on a vegetarian dish, Golobki--Barley and Mushroom-Stuffed Cabbage Rolls. She said, "Thus, when he  mentioned a particular vegetarian restaurant serving Barley and Mushroom Spinach Rolls, that's what I hit on. Who knows where in the book it was?  My Kindle died, just when I'd finished reading it, so now it's not available to go back and check. Until next week when my new one arrives. All things being equal. I usually make my spinach rolls with a meat filling, so this is an homage to Kauffman's version of hippie food - vegetarian."

  

Cathy of Delaware Girl Eats says, "I’ll bet you didn’t know that granola was invented way back in the 1950’s by noted nutritionist Adele Davis or that it was considered “hippie food” until it went mainstream in the 1990’s. I didn’t until reading the book Hippie Food and then researching the topic. Davis was dubbed “the high priestess of nutrition” in her heyday and was at the forefront of the health food movement. She remained a groundbreaking influence on healthy eating until her death in 1974, compiling several famous books on vitamins and healthy eating including “Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit and Let’s Cook it Right.” Author Jonathan Kauffman singes her praises in his book “Hippie Food“ which is the selection this cycle in our Cook the Books reading/cooking group.

Cathy put that granola to good use saying, "For my dish inspired by the book selection I chose to use granola to liven up a traditional recipe for Apple Crumble. This long-standing favorite is a dish that works equally well for breakfast with coffee as it does to end the dinner meal as dessert.It’s that flexible."



Debra of Eliot's Eats says she learned a lot from the book, "Can I just say “I had no idea”? I guess I have always been aware that the 60s and 70s had influenced the way we eat, especially where health food is concerned. This book goes way beyond the hippie movement and starts all the way back in the early 20th century with those finding the health benefits of raw food. Hippie Food is not however about hippies exclusively. While all the health food movements during the last century seemed to be led by colorful characters, the gamut of leaders run from Zen masters to surfers to Seventh-Day Adventists to homesteaders." 

For her dish Debra says, "From chapter two, “Brown Rice and the Macrobiotic Pioneers,” I knew that the dish I would present for this post would feature brown rice. The final paragraphs of the book reinforced this decision. The foods that the hippies, back-to-landers, longhairs and revolutionaries promoted and championed are now mainstream. These once foreign and strange ingredients are now in our pantries. “They slip into the meals we throw together after a long workday” (287). That is the scenario that led to this dish: Roasted Broccoli Brown Rice Bowls."



Simona of briciole said, "Although I have lived in California for 25 years, I spent my childhood and early adulthood in Italy, so I don't have firsthand experience of the events described in the book that predate my move. The situation in Italy was different from that in the US. For example, Italians have always been serious about their bread, buying it fresh almost daily from a neighborhood bakery. I have never experienced the "plastic bread" described in the book. I do remember, however, when whole-wheat bread (pane integrale) became more readily available, as the health benefits of whole grains became better known.

For her Carrot, Radish and Turnip Salad with Microgreens, Simona took inspiration from sprouts and farmers markets, saying, "I buy carrots, radishes and salad turnips by the bunch, then, once I get home, I cut off the greens from all of them and use those in other dishes. I admit I am still learning to appreciate carrot tops: they have a rather strong grassy flavor that I must dilute with other greens. ... One great characteristic of carrots, radishes and salad turnips is that they last a few days, unlike their greens, which wilt fairly quickly. This is particularly important for me as I am the only root vegetable eater in the household, which explains why the recipe is for one. Of course, it can be easily multiplied to nourish all the people around your table."



Amy of Amy's Cooking Adventures found the book to be a bit too much, saying "As I started reading, there were certainly some interesting tidbits, but between those tidbits, it was a slog, almost like reading a textbook. I got about halfway through the brown rice chapter when I started skimming. I read most of the brown bread chapter (as a bread baker, I thoroughly enjoyed that chapter. And after that I just lost interest. One of the most interesting things I noted as I read was that the trend of hippie food started as a pursuit for optimal health and longevity...while on copious amounts of illicit drugs. Kinda mind boggling."

Amy found that dichotomy inspiration for her unique rice dish, Arroz con Coca-Cola (Brown Rice With Coca-Cola), saying "As luck would have it, right as I decided to be finished skimming the rest of the book, I came across a brown rice recipe as I was researching for a different blog event. The fascinating part of this recipe that made me unable to turn away was the fact that the rice was cooked in coke!  I thought it was perfect for hippie food.  It reminded me of the conundrum of eating whole grains to be healthy paired with other very unhealthy aspects of their lives. The pairing of brown rice and coke, I thought, illustrated this perfectly."



It's lovely to have Terri of Our Good Life back with us for this round. Terri found the book interesting, saying "I think Mr. Kaufman did wonderful work covering the history of the food culture. New to me was the "hippie trail" which is now something I would love to do! In all this book continues to show the idealism this generation brought to the world. Thank goodness, as we all may be eating food that looks and tastes like cardboard more than we do now." 

She found easy inspiration for her dish saying, "My inspirational dish is Brown Rice and Raw Veggies Salad. With the spices I chose, it is a nod to the Hippie Trail!  This dish uses leftover brown rice and raw veggies with good oil and delicious spices. It is a great side dish for grilled pork steak (I'm a Missouri girl, loves her pork steak!) or as an awesome vegan meal."
  


And finally, at Kahakai Kitchen although it took me awhile to make it through because of competing review reads and life, I geeked out a little over this book and really enjoyed it. I think much of that came from how much Kauffman hit on some of my favorite classic vegetarian cookbooks, chefs and food icons. 

For my bookish dish I picked a very hippie-ish Spinach-Brown Rice Casserole from the New Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen. With sunflower seeds, eggs and cheese, and spices it was a tasty bit of nostalgia. 


Mahalo to everyone who joined in this edition of Cook the Books! I enjoyed reading your posts and drooling over your healthy and inspired dishes!
I think I managed to include everyone in roundup--at least all of the entries I recieved on the blog and by email but if I missed anyone or goofed somewhere along the way, please let me know. 


And now, I’m turning things over to Claudia of Honey From Rock who is hosting our June/July edition. We will be reading Kitchen Chinese by Ann Mah

Much Aloha,

Deb
Kahakai Kitchen

Monday, April 6, 2020

Our April/May Selection: Hippie Food

Back many (many) moons ago when I was a preteen, I earned my spending money as the neighborhood babysitter. Our next door neighbors with two young boys were vegans before I knew what that meant, and in my opinion, they weren't very good at it. On their frequent nights out I had to heat up and feed the kids dinner, and it was usually some kind of weird casserole in an unappealing shade of brown that smelled funky and tasted horrible (and did not make for good diapers for the toddler at all). The neighbor would always tell me that I should eat with the children and I would beg my mom for virtually ANYTHING to take with me so I didn't have to. Since they were a meat-free household, that meant I ate a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on my watch. Needless to say, they were not my favorite customers (those were the people down the road who always had snack food and frozen pizza available) and they gave me a deeply-rooted suspicion and disdain for anything vegetarian or vegan and foods like brown rice, tofu, seitan and sprouts. 


It took me many years to shake off my prejudices and try (some actually delicious) "hippie food" for myself. Flash forward a few decades and I leave the meat and poultry to others and eat mostly plants and fish. I've even gone through a few vegan stages although the siren call of cheese always lures me back. I cook with tofu, seitan, nutritional yeast, jackfruit, and other things I would have once turned up my nose at. These foods have become more mainstream and my local grocery stores even carry them now (although it certainly is more difficult to find some of them during a pandemic). 

Having made my own journey, and seeing how popular and even trendy these foods are is why I picked Hippie Food by Jonathan Kaufman as our April/May Cook The Books selection.

From the publisher: 
 "Food writer Jonathan Kauffman journeys back more than half a century—to the 1960s and 1970s—to tell the story of how a coterie of unusual men and women embraced an alternative lifestyle that would ultimately change how modern Americans eat. Impeccably researched, Hippie Food chronicles how the longhairs, revolutionaries, and back-to-the-landers rejected the square establishment of President Richard Nixon’s America and turned to a more idealistic and wholesome communal way of life and food. 

A slick mix of gonzo playfulness, evocative detail, skillful pacing, and elegant writing, Hippie Food is a lively, engaging, and informative read that deepens our understanding of our culture and our lives today." 

I think it will be fun to see what kind of dishes this book will inspire! I realize with everything going on with the Coronavirus, some of us may have to get creative with ingredients, and recipe ideas, but I think that actually works for this book. I plan on pulling out my Moosewood cookbooks and having some fun.

I hope everyone is taking good care out there.

Much Aloha,

Deb
Kahakai Kitchen 

The deadline for contributing your post: Sunday, May 31, 2020. 

Leave a comment below with a link to your post or email me at debinhawaii@gmail.com.

Remember that anyone can participate in Cook the Books by simply reading this selection,  taking inspiration from said reading, then cooking and posting the inspired dish. 
We look forward to having you read and cook along with in this selection period and beyond. New participants are always welcomed with open arms! (Leave a comment here or check out our Guidelines page if you have any questions.)

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Pomegranate Soup: The Roundup


It's time for the roundup of Cook the Books' Club February-March 2020 edition for which we read the novel Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran (2005).

The three Aminpour sisters, protagonists of the story, move to Ballinacroagh, County Mayo, Ireland and open the Babylon Café in the location that used to house an Italian bakery. In honor of the sisters' Persian food eatery, I will present our club's contributions as a menu, with the dishes in each section ordered alphabetically. For each, I will give you the official information (author, blog name and post title) and a quote from it — a taste: follow the link and read the author's take of the book and how the reading inspired the cooking.

Cook the Books Club's Pomegranate Soup-Inspired Menu

First Course:
Red Lentil Soup à la Tina
Red Lentil Soup à la Cathy

Second Course:
Fesenjoon (Chicken Stew with Walnut and Pomegranate Sauce)
Kabob Koobideh (Ground Meat Kebabs)
Kuku Sabzi à la Claudia (vegetarian)
Kuku Sabzi à la Simona (vegetarian)
One Skillet Cabbage
Torshi Tareh (Persian Sour Herb Stew With Marbled Eggs)

Accompaniment:
Lavash Bread

Dessert:
Elephant Ears
Persian Drizzle Cake

Make yourself comfortable, then enjoy the meal.



"You could substitute any middle eastern family trying to run a cafe in any small town, in Ireland or the U.S. for this plot... The plot plays out predictably with the women and their Irish neighbors, the cultural differences accepted. Well, by most people. Definitely a foodie book with over a dozen recipes included throughout. There were so many interesting dishes served up in this book but the recipe for lentil soup grabbed me right away. I had been wanting to make red lentil soup for a long time."


Cathy of Delaware Girl Eats prepared Red Lentil Soup

"Did you know that lentils are super healthy? I didn't but learned this in researching them for this post. In fact, this humble legume has shot up to the number 1 slot for healthy foods... Author Mehran writes about lentil soup: 'Red lentil soup, although quite seductive in scent, is as simple to make as its name suggests. In the recipe book filed away in her head, Marjan aways made sure to place particular emphasis on this soup's spices. Cumin added the aroma of afternoon lovemaking to the mixture for instance'. Now that's quite a statement... I cut this recipe in half from what was published in the book... This was totally enough to feed more than a few people."


Elizabeth of CulinUrsa cooked Fesenjoon (Social distance-adapted)

"As I was reading this novel, there was a scene in a crowded pub, and the thought went through my head, 'Why are all these people out in a group together?' Already the fears of viral spread had become ingrained in my thinking, and I have wondered when and how will I feel comfortable being with people again, touching the door handle of a store again?... There was not a single [recipe] for which I had all the ingredients at home, and, trying to minimize shopping trips, I didn’t want to venture out for anything. But I felt I could improvise enough for the fesenjoon. I have read many times about this iconic chicken stew with walnuts and pomegranates, and always wanted to make it. Despite all the changes and substitutions I made, it was fantastic!... It is often spelled fesenjan."


Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla
prepared Kabob Koobideh (Ground Meat Kebabs)

"Though Mehran doesn't shy away from the traumas that can occur during political upheaval, she achieves a delicate balance of reality and sensitivity. It's quite a remarkable book that has me longing to read more about the Iranian revolution... I'm sharing my version of Iranian Kubideh or Koobideh, ground meat kebabs... Though this wasn't specifically mentioned in the book, it is something that I envision Layla packing on a picnic to go meet Malachy. And because I remember eating fresh herb salads at my Iranian friend's table, I decided to serve my kebabs with a thick herb paste, similar to Argentinian chimichurri."


Claudia of Honey from Rock prepared Kuku Sabzi (Persian herb frittata)

"In contrast to local descriptions, the background on the Iranian women, who are all of course beautiful, was interesting, their preparations to open The Babylon Cafe absorbing, together with accounts of their food and cooking, lovingly rendered, tantalizing, and well-written... Kuku Sabzi made a lovely, light evening meal with some steamed sweet potato (fresh bread or toast would also be good) and a glass of white wine. I discovered that at room temperature, the next day for lunch, the herbal flavors all came through beautifully."


Simona of briciole (your host) prepared Kuku Sabzi (Persian herb frittata)

"I was particularly intrigued by the description of 'a good apple khoresh, a stew made from tart apples, chicken and split peas' (page 60 of the hardback edition), but while I was searching for a recipe for that, I read about Kuku Sabzi, a kind of herb frittata traditionally prepared for Nowruz, the Iranian New Year that is celebrated on the spring equinox... The idea is that you can use greens and herbs you like and have available. A different combination means a different flavor, so this is a recipe that can be repeated without becoming boring."



"You get to know each of the residents as well as the back story of the Aminpour Sisters.  You will love some and you will hate some but you will, definitely become involved with all of them and their lives. I enjoyed this novel very much and the food descriptions of the meals prepared in this restaurant were heavenly... I absolutely adore Persian food but as I read a common thread that ran through this small town was that all the residents were sick and tired of eating cabbage for dinner.  As luck would have it, I had planned on having this Skillet Cabbage Dinner during the week I was reading this novel and it fit in so perfectly that I had to share it."


Deb of Kahakai Kitchen
prepared Torshi Tareh (Persian Sour Herb Stew with Marbled Eggs)

"There are delicious recipes woven into the chapters of book (why I am so disappointed that I couldn't find my copy) so the overall feeling is like a mix of Like Water For Chocolate and Chocolat, only with the clash of Irish and Iranian culture. I recommend it to foodies who don't mind a touch of magic in their books... I love everything about this stew--the exotic herby flavor, the acidity, and the touch of lime 'sourness' and the jammy eggs and creamy spinach. At first, I thought the smoked fish accompaniment was a little odd but it rounded out the flavors nicely."



"I prefer that authors stay realistic... or go full on Harry Potter magic... Despite my criticism, the book was good enough and I loved that the author included recipes at the end of each chapter. I decided to make a Lavash, using the recipe directly from the book.  The Lavash was delicious... The kids went crazy over the Lavash, begging me to make more. I used my favorite spice mix in this recipe (Everything Bagel), because I knew my family would love it. This bread is best enjoyed hot and fresh from the oven."


"The amount of food in this book is staggering... There’s so many herbs and spices, Persian food, Italian food and Irish food, I just couldn’t keep up... I decided on a sweeter recipe: Elephant Ears... They were interesting. I did not roll mine thin enough so they were more doughy (read donut) than a thinly fried treat... I would recommend this book to friends (and will).  It would make a great beach read (not that there’s anything wrong with that).  Mehran’s writing style is descriptive and sometimes romantic. (I mean that in a good way.)"



"I loved all the food content, the descriptions of the way that Marjan in particular nurtured those around her through her food. I liked that there were a number of recipes included in the book, and enjoyed the almost magical realism feel to it, focusing on the power of food to change the way that you are feeling. I guess I would call it magical realism lite for want of a better term... Overall, it's a readable book, without being amazing... I chose to top my cake with Turkish Delight Easter eggs rather than rose petals."

A great Thank you! to everyone who joined in this edition of Cook the Books.

I believe all the submissions I have received are presented in the roundup. However, mishaps are part of life, so if you find anything missing or in need of amendment anywhere in the roundup, please do let me know.

And now, I’ll turn things over to Deb of Kahakai Kitchen who is hosting the April-May edition in which we are reading the Hippie Food by Jonathan Kauffman.

Arrivederci a presto!

Simona, of briciole

Friday, February 14, 2020

Announcing Our Next Four Selections

Are you ready? Here are the next four selections of our book club, with which we will keep each other's company during the year 2020:

Deb (Kahakai Kitchen) opens the series with Hippie Food by Jonathan Kauffman (published January 2018) for the April/May edition


For our April/May 2020 pick, I had to go with the book that was just edged out by The Food Explorer as my choice or the last round: Hippie Food: How Back-to-the-Landers, Longhairs, and Revolutionaries Changed the Way We Eat by Jonathan Kauffman. Food history fascinates me and I want to learn more about how tofu, brown rice, and veggie burgers made their way into the mainstream. It's also a good excuse to hit up my Moosewood Collective cookbook collection for some hippie fare.  

From the publisher:
An enlightening narrative history—an entertaining fusion of Tom Wolfe and Michael Pollan—that traces the colorful origins of once unconventional foods and the diverse fringe movements, charismatic gurus, and counterculture elements that brought them to the mainstream and created a distinctly American cuisine. 
Food writer Jonathan Kauffman journeys back more than half a century—to the 1960s and 1970s—to tell the story of how a coterie of unusual men and women embraced an alternative lifestyle that would ultimately change how modern Americans eat. Impeccably researched, Hippie Food chronicles how the longhairs, revolutionaries, and back-to-the-landers rejected the square establishment of President Richard Nixon’s America and turned to a more idealistic and wholesome communal way of life and food. 
From the mystical rock-and-roll cult known as the Source Family and its legendary vegetarian restaurant in Hollywood to the Diggers’ brown bread in the Summer of Love to the rise of the co-op and the origins of the organic food craze, Kauffman reveals how today’s quotidian whole-foods staples—including sprouts, tofu, yogurt, brown rice, and whole-grain bread—were introduced and eventually became part of our diets. From coast to coast, through Oregon, Texas, Tennessee, Minnesota, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Vermont, Kauffman tracks hippie food’s journey from niche oddity to a cuisine that hit every corner of this country. 
A slick mix of gonzo playfulness, evocative detail, skillful pacing, and elegant writing, Hippie Food is a lively, engaging, and informative read that deepens our understanding of our culture and our lives today.  
And how can you resist that cover?!? 

Aloha, 
Deb

Deadline for contributing your post is Sunday, May 31, 2020

For the June/July edition, Claudia (Honey from Rock) chose Kitchen Chinese by Ann Mah (published February 2010)


I read Kitchen Chinese last year, loved it, and immediately thought it would be a great pick for our Cook the Books Club. Though fiction, it resonates with the author’s real life experience. Not quite memoir, though the novel is loosely based upon her own experiences in China, when her husband was posted there. Mah says, “My husband’s diplomatic career brings frequent international moves, as well as lots of fresh material (and occasional angst) to write about, and we always have another relocation on the horizon.” 

Ann Mah's funny and poignant first novel about a young Chinese-American woman who travels to Beijing and in the process discovers food, family, and herself, is a delight--complete with mouth-watering descriptions of Asian culinary delicacies, from Peking duck and Mongolian hot pot to the colorful, lesser known Ants in a Tree that will delight foodies everywhere. 

Her tale of clashing cultures, rival siblings, and fine dining is also the story of one woman's search for identity and purpose in an exotic and faraway land. After her magazine career comes to a halt, Isabelle Lee, the author’s protagonist, leaves New York, wanting change, and hoping also to reconnect with her family roots in China. Her older sister is an attorney living there, so she has a place to stay. However, her familiarity with the language and culture is limited to 'kitchen Chinese'. 

Isabelle lands a job at a magazine for the expatriate community in Beijing and finds a circle of friends. However, her relationship with her big-shot attorney sister, Claire, who's lived in China for a while, gets off to a rocky start, with the two not knowing quite what to make of each other. Isabelle's Beijing immersion provides a refreshing and fun narrative, with insights into modern China and the expatriate experience, making for an enjoyably intriguing read.

Aloha,
Claudia

Deadline for contributing your post is Friday, July 31, 2020

For the August/September edition, Debra (Eliot's Eats) has chosen Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown (December 2019)
  

I am always on the lookout for a new Cook the Books suggestion. I was rambling through a book store recently and saw a table devoted solely to Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown. 

The blurb on the inside cover had me. This tale of two women in two different times (yet in the same house) had me. I figured that if the book had "recipe" in the title (and with at least one reference to meatloaf in the first few chapters), I decided I would choose Recipe for a Perfect Wife for my turn at hosting. 

From the publisher: 
In this captivating dual narrative novel, a modern-day woman finds inspiration in hidden notes left by her home’s previous owner, a quintessential 1950s housewife. As she discovers remarkable parallels between this woman’s life and her own, it causes her to question the foundation of her own relationship with her husband–and what it means to be a wife fighting for her place in a patriarchal society.
Debra

Deadline for contributing your post is Wednesday, September 30, 2020

To round up the list of selections, for the October/November edition Simona (briciole) picked the novel The Secret, Book and Scone Society by Ellery Adams (October 2017)


This book caught my attention first because of the words "book" and "scone" in the title, then because it revolves around a bookstore, whose owner, Nora, having once been healed by books, has chosen to do the same to other people. And finally, because it is a mystery.

Besides Nora, the society of the title includes three other women, quite different from each other, each with a secret to share, a story to tell. One of them is a baker, one with a special gift (which you will find out about when you read the novel). There are no recipes in the book, but food plays an important role and I hope the story will inspire you. 

Simona

Deadline for contributing your post: Monday, November 30, 2020.

Remember that membership in our book club is open to anyone and we hope you will join us by reading these selections and creating inspired recipes. For more information about participating, click here.  

As always, specific announcement posts can be found at Cook the Books at the beginning of each two-month period and the current selection is always shown on the right side of the homepage.

To recap:

April/May: Hippie Food by Jonathan Kauffman (hosted by Deb at Kahakai Kitchen)









June/July: Kitchen Chinese by Ann Mah (hosted by Claudia at Honey from Rock)






August/September: Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown (hosted by Debra at Eliot's Eats)









October/November:The Secret, Book & Scone Society by Ellery Adams (hosted by Simona at briciole)





Happy reading and cooking!