Showing posts with label #AmuseBouche. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #AmuseBouche. Show all posts

Friday, April 20, 2018

Amuse Bouche


The strange turns of language, of fairy-tale grandeur and precision-tooled sizes - this is the side of Rimbaud that appealed to the Surrealists. Whereas later critics felt they had sucked all the juice out of Verlaine and perfectly digested him, Rimbaud remained somehow…inedible. He was impossible to assimilate and therefore remained endlessly fascinating…

from Rimbaud, The Double Life of a Rebel by Edmund White (2008). Recommended.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Amuse Bouche


Abraham brought me to a buffet line, arranged in the courtyard. Twenty doctors and nurses lined up in their uniforms, blue and white. They were a mixed bunch: Kenyans, whites, Indians, one nurse who looked like a very light-skinned Arab. Abraham helped me with my plate, filling it with chicken and rice and lettuce.
He watched me tear into my chicken and rice; I hadn’t had meat in months. He took a bite of a drumstick and stared at me.
-What kind of trouble are you in?
-I’m in no trouble, I said.
-How did you get out of Kakuma?
I hesitated.

from What is The What by Dave Eggers (2006). Very Highly Recommended. 

Friday, April 6, 2018

Amuse Bouche


‘Yuck’. He fishes out a tiny piece of tinfoil that he accidentally chewed and removed the rest of the packaging from the roll.  ‘I got you one too’, he says… ‘It’s on the counter. It’s vegetarian, just eggs and mushrooms in a wholegrain roll.’
I remember when I used to worry about being healthy.
‘I got them to put Ballymaloe Relish in it instead of ketchup….. Right, Emmie?’
Stop calling me Emmie, I want to say. I am the Ballinatoom girl how. I am That Girl.

from Asking For It by Louise O’Neill (2016). Very Highly Recommended.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Amuse Bouche


Create a new user. If only it were that easy in the real world.
In the real world, all the students at Björke School have to eat breaded fish. It should be good, but the breading was so disgusting that they figure the lunch ladies made it especially to torture them, so it was called “Punishment Fish” by everybody.
In the real world, Karro had come back to school. “Have you made yourself extra disgusting today or did I just forget how ugly you are?” Karro sneers ….while they stand in the lunch line.

from Wonderful Feels Like This by Sara Lövestam (English translation 2017). Very Highly Recommended.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Amuse Bouche

Southern comforts
The mention of locking doors and the rebel songs from the Irish pubs brought Belfast back to him. He tried to flinch away from the images. Concentrate on the drink. The first mouthful. The Jameson deserved his attention. He had nothing but praise for it. A whiskey made in the south. A Catholic whiskey. Bushmills was Protestant, made in the North. Black Bush. It was well named. But he couldn’t care less. As far as alcohol was concerned he was totally non-sectarian.

from Midwinter Break by Bernard MacLaverty (2017). Recommended.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Amuse Bouche extra


Drew is coming for Sunday dinner….

Grandma is wearing a good dress with an apron.. She has made her spicy beans and a roast with gravy and real potatoes, not the ones that are flakes in a white box that says mashed potatoes. For dessert there’s peach cobbler cooling on the stovetop.
Real potatoes...
… She wants me right up under her, watching how she does the cooking so I can feed my future husband a healthy meal. She shows me how to cut the onions, the carrots, and stir the brown gravy. When she lets me taste the cobbler, she feeds it to me from her hand that still has a salty onion taste.

from The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi Durrow (2010). Very Highly Recommended.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Amuse Bouche. Mimi Sheraton v Paul Bocuse


In 1977, the New York Times sent Mimi Sheraton, their restaurant critic, to France for a month where, among others, she lambasts the renowned Paul Bocuse.

Eventually she appears on a French talk show, masked by a veil… She tells Paul Bocuse that, in the interest of quality, he should perhaps start to spend some time in his restaurant’s kitchen. When the show is over and the cameras are turned off, the gourmet chef becomes violent. He tries to rip of Sheraton’s mask, she pushes him away, Bocuse stumbles and falls. Afterwards, Sheraton feels regret. That’s what she tells People magazine. Regret that she didn't slap him in the face.

from In the Restaurant (2016) by Christoph Ribbat. Very Highly Recommended.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Amuse Bouche

..what a strange privilege it was to be able to sit in this coffee shop among other people who did not wish me any harm and who would, more likely than not, be happy for me if they were to know that I was having a good day…. none of these people would begrudge me any of this and all would appreciate the expert way this sandwich was put together…how everything about it revealed a degree of attentiveness which went beyond mere experience and spoke something of a care and commitment which was gently humbling, so unexpected and baffling also to come across something so banal which filled me with a sense of how improbable life was and how this unlikely construct - a sandwich for Christ’s sake - could communicate such intimate grace…

from Solar Bones by Mike McCormack (2016). Recommended.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Amuse Bouche


‘My compliments on your choice of wine.’
‘Thank you. Volubia Gris. The rose colour appeals more than anything, but don’t tell my wine-buff friends.’
In response, she smiled the first genuine smile since we had met.
“Yes, a quality wine produced in Morocco by Frenchmen,’ she said. ‘Discovered through a love of golf.’ She swirled the wine in the glass and tilted it towards the light.
‘You have done your homework, young lady.’ It surprised me.

from There was a crooked man by Cat Hogan (2017). Highly Recommended.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Amuse Bouche


Music publishing certainly was the business to be in, Elvis must have thought to himself one evening when Julian invited him to dinner at his swanky home to meet some people in the business. It was all very friendly, and Julian’s wife was a nice lady, but when dinner was served the star of the party nearly gagged when he saw some pink, rare lamb on his plate.
‘But it’s still bleeding,’ said Elvis in horror.
Mrs Aberbach..quickly took the plate away.

from Being Elvis by Ray Connolly (2016). Recommended.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Amuse Bouche

The Kuwaiti contractor....extracted a meaty profit margin off each worker.. also dinned into them American lingo. When I asked one of the Indians for French fries, he snapped: “We have no French fries here, sir. Only freedom fries.”

The seating was as tribal as that in a high school cafeteria. The Iraqi support staffers kept to themselves. They loaded their lunch trays with enough calories for three meals. Between mouthfuls, they mocked their American bosses with impunity. So few Americans in the place spoke Arabic fluently that those that did could fit around one table, with room to spare.


From Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajir Chandrasekaran. (filmed as the Green Zone)

Friday, February 9, 2018

Amuse Bouche

I went over to the freezer and did something I almost never do - I poured myself a drink: cold viscous vodka. I filled a glass and drank it quickly; it burned all the way down my throat and into my belly. Then I poured myself another.
My head swam and I leaned against the kitchen table for support. I was keeping an eye out, I suppose, for Lena. She’d disappeared again…


from Into the Water by Paula Hawkins (2017). Highly Recommended.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Amuse Bouche

The discussions were soon focussed on launching Macron’s own movement….
In November, the team brainstormed possible names for their organisation attended by communications and marketing expert Adrien Taquet, who had also come on board. As the hours ticked by, they drank whiskey and tossed around ideas in an another intense but good-humoured session. Later on, Taquet…. had a flash of inspiration: En Marche.


from The French Exception Emmanuel Macron by Adam Plowright (2017). Highly Recommended.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Amuse Bouche


The tablecloth shows alternating concave and convex folds..… Two little serving platters have eels garnished with fruit slices. They have no obvious religious or iconographic meaning; however, river eels were popular in Italy at the time, and we know that Leonardo, although usually a vegetarian, put “eels and apricots” on at least one of his shopping lists.

All told, The Last Supper is a mix of scientific perspective and theatrical license, of intellect and fantasy, worthy of Leonardo.


from Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson (2017). Recommended.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Amuse Bouche

Caciocavallo
He went to the kitchen, opened the fridge, and his heart sank. A little piece of caciocavallo cheese, four passu luna olives, five sardines in oil, and a sprig of celery. Well, at least Adelina had bought some fresh bread. He opened the oven. And howled like a wolf with joy. Aubergine parmigiana, done just right, enough for four!


from The Treasure Hunt (Inspector Montalbano) by Andrea Camilleri.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Amuse Bouche



They hadn’t finished the champagne, yet Nat had ordered another bottle to go with the starters, brandade of smoked trout for her, fruits de mer in aspic for him. He’d also asked for a jar of caviar on the side……..
The waiter had poured, and departed.
‘Puligny,” Nat supplied, unable to stop himself giving the glass a pompous swirl and sniff. ‘When you dream of France, you’re really dreaming of Burgundy.’


from Eureka by Anthony Quinn (2017). Recommended

Friday, January 5, 2018

Amuse Bouche

All in all, football is a perishable product, its use-by date is immediate. It must be consumed straight away, like oysters, whelks, langoustines, prawns (I will spare you the exhaustive composition of the plateau). It must be enjoyed fresh, in the intensity of the moment, in the heat of immediacy. Football does not age well, it is a diamond that only shines brightly today… Even legendary finals are faded. Their perfume has vanished into the dust of time..


from Football by Jean-Philippe Toussaint (2015). Recommended.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Amuse Bouche

Chaplin (right!)
Raymond Griffith can’t get a job in talking pictures because Raymond Griffith has no voice. Raymond Griffith is incapable of speaking above a whisper, and is therefore the perfect silent comedian. Eventually, Raymond Griffith chokes to death over dinner at the Masquers Club because he fails to chew his food properly.
But these ones do not concern him, or not as much as Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd.
Not as much as Chaplin.


from he by John Connolly (2017). Very Highly Recommended.

Amuse Bouche extra. Recommended Reading!

Recommended Reading!
An Amuse Bouche Extra.


Regulars know that I serve up an Amuse Bouche every Saturday, a paragraph or two (with a mention of food or drink) from a book that I've been reading. Some of the books are very good and I've compiled a shortlist of the best of those that I've read in 2017. It doesn't mean they've all been published in 2017! It is quite a mix of fiction and non-fiction. Hope you enjoy one or two. Happy Reading.

By the way, I get most of my books from the local library, many of them now ordered online via the fantastic Encore system. If the book is not available locally, I can still order it and soon it will be on its way to Cork from Dublin or Donegal or from wherever it is in the stock.

The list below is compiled from the books that were Very Highly Recommended on Amuse Bouche and is not in any particular order.


he by John Connolly

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

The Trout by Peter Cunningham

Signatories by Emma Donoghue and others

And The Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany

Grandpa The Sniper by Frank Shouldice

A Doctor's Sword by Bob Jackson

Soul Serenade by Rashal Ollison

Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova

Smile by Roddy Doyle

If I Die Tonight by A.L. Gaylin

Walking Tall by Rob Heffernan

Friday, December 22, 2017

Amuse Bouche

A Christmas Amuse Bouche

"one can get tired of too much rabbit for dinner"
His (Fr Travers) acquisition of six hens in May 1941 had not been a success, with five of the six dying without having laid a single egg. More promising was his cook-cum-concierge’s rabbit breeding initiative. The concierge managed to breed thirty or forty rabbits at a time, thus ensuring a constant supply of meat, “although one can get tired of too much rabbit for dinner’. Fortunately for Fr Travers, Mary Maher, an Irishwoman in Laval…. sent two geese for Christmas in 1942 and continued to send parcels of eggs, meat, cheese, and butter right up to the end of the war.


from No Way Out, The Irish in Wartime France 1939-45, by Isadore Ryan (2017). Recommended.