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Saturday, December 9, 2017
I was eating a thing called couscous and there were no peas or spuds on the plate, or meat. I was doing this as I sat beside a naked woman. There was a mug of wine on the floor beside me. I felt French. I felt American. I felt like a writer, living the writer’s life. I felt handsome. I felt cruel and good, adult and giddy. I felt sophisticated, and I didn’t. I felt that this was mine. My life had started. My real life had started.
from Smile by Roddy Doyle (2017). Very Highly Recommended.
Thursday, November 30, 2017
His feet started moving and he was there, in front of Mrs Powell…. He watched her slice an orange into half-circles, and she looked up and told him she hadn’t had a chance to eat breakfast that morning. I like oranges, he’d said. I like how they smell.
Instead of sending him back to his desk, she sort of laughed and held out an orange slice, and he ate it in one bite, ripped it off the rind. No one else got an orange piece, only him.
He couldn’t kill her, and maybe that was all right, but he couldn’t kill the others in front of her either.
from Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips (2017). Highly Recommended.
Saturday, November 25, 2017
The Russians had dinner with Shadrin at Piscatory, a family-run Italian fish restaurant in Dover Street. Lugovoi enjoyed the finer things in life. The bill shows the party ordered oysters, a grilled lobster, two tuna steaks (very rare), with grappa and espresso to finish. According to Shadrin, Lugovoi …insisted on picking up the £214.20 bill. He told Shadrin that since he was ‘pitching for business’, he would get the tab. Radiation was found here too: at their table, on cushions, in the gents’.
from A Very Expensive Poison by Luke Harding (2016). Highly Recommended.
Friday, November 17, 2017
They were married on September 17, 1946…. the ceremony was held very early in the morning in Clogheen Church. “Then the reception was in the Victoria Hotel. It was a wedding breakfast with rashers and sausages. There was a wedding cake and they went on the mid-day train to Dublin. ….. I threw confetti on them at the station. It was unusual to have a breakfast reception - maybe it was because they wanted to get the twelve o’clock train.”
from The Life and Times of Noel Murphy by Con Hurley (2012). Recommended.
Saturday, November 11, 2017
Bobby and Alexandra found them in the kitchen, Irina drinking tea with her thumbs wrapped around the cup….
Stoycho lay on the floor beside the table, clearly in Lenka’s good graces. He got to his feet and sniffed their shoes, licked Alexandra’s hand, and lay down again… Lenka bought them cups of tea, which smelled of the hay and grasses outside. There were questions in her eyes, too.
“How was your lunch?” Irina said. Reluctantly, they told her everything, and the alarm in her face grew.
from The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova (2017). Very Highly Recommended.
Friday, November 3, 2017
The skylark was traditionally seen as a delicacy in Britain and Ireland and was a very popular dish until modern times. For example, in Britain in 1854, approximately 400,000 larks were sent up to the London market alone, mainly from Dunstable… which was famous for its larks ‘for the table’. In 1890, the dinner for the opening of the Forth Bridge included an immense pie of 400 birds.
from Ireland’s Birds by Niall Mac Coitir (2105). Recommended.
Saturday, October 28, 2017
Speaking in the Dail in 1968, the Labour TD Michael O’Leary complained that the supermarkets were using imported sweets and biscuits to draw in customers, while the money spent was now leaving the country……they were pushing British biscuits, British cheese, British confectionery….
..earlier, the Dail had debated another worrying trend… - chocolate bars were getting smaller..
The Minister agreed… but there was nothing he could do about it.
from Hopscotch and Queenie-I-O, A 1960s Irish Childhood, by Damien Corless (2016). No recommendation.
Friday, October 20, 2017
[António] Simōes recalls that Guttmann drummed home his message about excessive drinking to his players every single day:
When you went to a bar, it is in your head. Somebody would go to get another drink and a teammate would say, ‘Hey, don’t you remember what Guttman said? We should stop at one.’ He taught us that football is not just a matter of running hard and crossing the ball. You need to have discipline. I am seventy-two years old. More than fifty years later, I am still telling you what he said. It has stayed in my head for ever.
from The Greatest Comeback (The Story of Béla Guttmann, from genocide to football glory) by David Bolchover (2017). Highly Recommended.
Saturday, October 14, 2017
|View from Trocadero|
The following morning, while President Sarkozy was taking Carlo Bruni for his third wife and EU operation commander General Pat Nash was taking his third cup of coffee at a Trocadero café, President Idriss Déby was taking stock of preparations for his third action against the rebels.
He had not come too well from the previous two and now was fighting for his life. While wedding bells were ringing in the Élysée Palace, tank shells were ringing in N’Djamena.
from Into Action: Irish Peacekeepers Under Fire, 1960-2014, by Dan Harvey (2017). Recommended.
Friday, October 6, 2017
On the long grassy banks beneath the peppermint trees and cavernous roots of the Moreton Bay figs.. they lay blankets and white tablecloths..and they sprawl in their workclothes and stockings, rollers in, buns half out. Out of the crates come hams, cold chickens, lettuce salad, hardboiled eggs and asparagus, potato salad and shredded carrot, chutney, bread, a jar of anchovies and a vat of pickled onions. Lemonade, Coke, ginger beer, squeezed juices and a hip flash of Chateau Tanunda. A collective groan goes up at the sight of the white linen napkins that Dolly hauls out.
A weddin present, she says. Could never think of a decent bloody reason to get them dirty.
from Cloudstreet by Tim Winton (1991). Very Highly Recommended.
Saturday, September 30, 2017
Ballard watched the sun sink..and then got up. She once again bought takeout for herself and Lola on the boardwalk and ate sitting on a nearby bench. She could not generate much enthusiasm for food and ended up giving half her order of black beans, yellow rice, and plantains to a homeless man she knew named Nate. He was a street artist who until January had done decent business selling portraits of the former president. He reported to Ballard that images of the new president went unsold because his kind of people didn’t come to Venice Beach.
from The Late Show by Michael Connelly (2017). Recommended.
Saturday, September 23, 2017
In December, Pop insisted that Ed come for Hanukkah, because, he said, Zinaida would make latkes, and also they could watch Georgetown play Virginia, “Ewing versus Sampson, what a match-up!”. The latkes, Ed thought were heavy on the onion, and fried not in oil but, thoroughly, in Crisco; they ate them in front of the television, on paper plates, with sour cream and a quivering, translucent plum jelly.... Zinaida, Ed noticed,...., drank beer from a glass while poking at her frying pancakes... “The pancake,” she said, piling latkes on her spatula. “You want?”
Zinaida pointed out the refrigerator and added: “More zour crim.”
From Ed King by David Guterson
Friday, September 15, 2017
|via Wikipedia commons|
From Barack Obama by David Maraniss.
Saturday, September 9, 2017
We found a table..when the gored man was taken past us on the street on a stretcher…
“Toro, toro!”, someone in the cafe yelled drunkenly and the man sat up. Everyone cheered, and then a young boy ran over with a glass of whiskey, which the man drank and then threw back empty to the boy….
“It’s a hell of a way to live, isn’t it?” Duff said.
“I can think of worse,” Ernest said.
…. The waiter brought gazpacho and good hard bread and some nice fish poached in lime, and though I didn’t think I would be able to eat after the sight of the goring, I found that I was hungry and that it all tasted very good to me.
from The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (2011)
Friday, September 1, 2017
By mid-afternoon, I can’t hold out anymore. I tear off a piece of bread and top it with the garlic. I take a tiny bite. The intensity of the taste catches my throat. Then there’s a tingle on my tongue, which gives way to a flavour I’d totally forgotten. It spreads through me… Good God! It’s so great, I feel dizzy.
Unable to fall asleep, I run through all the escape scenarios I can think of. None of them hold up.
from Hostage by Guy Delisle (a graphic non-fiction book 2017). Highly Recommended.
Saturday, August 26, 2017
.. she poured a dollop of soy sauce into one of the small dishes and mixed in a dab of wasabi paste. She then dipped in a slice of one of the tuna rolls and ate it. She liked it and immediately sampled another. I was useless with chopsticks so I used my fingers to take a slice of California roll. I skipped the wasabi.
Two bites later and I was back to business.
“.. this DEA agent, James Munro, are you sure you never had dealings with him?”
from the Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly (2013). Recommended.
Saturday, August 19, 2017
|I prefer cognac|
Ringo offset his notorious dislike of onions and spicy foods - he was the Beatle who brought baked beans with him to Rishikesh in 1968 - with an everyman diet. “I’m easy to please,” he said of his palate. “Fish, meat, nothin’ fancy. I don’t need your curries and chop sueys. Garlic and onions kill me. I prefer cognac.”
But his history of intestinal troubles caught up to him in April 1979 while he was in Monaco....
from Ringo by Michael Seth Starr (2015). Recommended.
Saturday, August 12, 2017
Still, when he beheld his breakfast on its sunny yellow plate, his resolve began to decay. He couldn’t help but think of properly fried bacon, of hash browns, and fluffy free-rangers, of a coffee upon whose bronzed crema a spoonful of sugar might wallow, like a cherub upon a cloud. As he struggled with some aberrant species of ham-and-cheese croissant that clung to his gums like denture glue, he began to wonder if he might just man up after all and make a dash for Bub’s. Well, perhaps not a dash. A power shuffle, a wilful creep.
from Eyrie by Tim Winton (2013). Highly Recommended.
Sunday, August 6, 2017
|Beer for the men|
Most of the men dined on egg and chips with wine or beer as they couldn't afford much else. Officers and other ranks generally dined at different premises. Officers were allowed to drink spirits when not on duty but soldiers were not. Some cafes ignored this rule and put spirits into the men’s coffee…. it became necessary for military police to conduct spot checks.. and smell the cups the soldiers were drinking from.
from Finding James by Aedín Johnston (2016). Recommended.
An extra Amuse for the Bank Holiday Monday
An extra Amuse for the Bank Holiday Monday
Saturday, August 5, 2017
I was thirteen years old and running the kitchen as though I had been a faithful and refined domestic in a previous life.
Big Mama was an inspiration. In the kitchen stirring the pots, she was a culinary sorceress. I watched her thin, elegant hands. Dusted with flour, they gently pressed out dough for cobblers. Under running water, they scooped blackberries from down the hill where the McAdoo family lived. With a magician’s grace, they pulled pin bones from fish. Grains of salt rained from her fingertips over a pan of gravy or a skillet of freshly shucked corn.
from Soul Serenade by Rashod Ollison (2016). Very Highly Recommended.