|View from Trocadero|
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Saturday, October 14, 2017
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.
Saturday, July 29, 2017
So there I was in the Jura, ready for my final pilgrimage. I was looking forward to tasting - for the last time - my favourite treats: some Cancoillotte, a bite of mature Comté, and a bottle of Monique Genevez’s Arbois wine. I would tread the last blades of grass, snap the last twigs, before the final plunge. My pilgrimage. My own personal Lourdes… hoping for a miracle..
It came to me during the night, in Monique Genevez’s gîte.
from After The Crash by Michel Bussi (2015). Highly Recommended.
Friday, July 21, 2017
All he had to do was drive to a fish warehouse in Oakland, hand a slip of paper to a Chinese kid who worked for Fariq’s organization, and throw the squid into his van. From there, he’d take it to Fremont, put it on the ground, and come back the next day, when it had thawed. Then he’d open it up and pull out the vacuum-sealed loaves of drugs. I used to love squid, he told them later. I can’t eat it anymore.
from Every Man A Menace by Patrick Hoffman (2016). Highly Recommended.
Saturday, July 15, 2017
I looked at the turkey, which had dropped off the end of the table and slid… to rest ..beside the door. I had ordered a big turkey, even though there were only three of us.Daddy had always said a small turkey looked mean, and we could make sandwiches and stew from the leftovers, and all those thoughts about the turkey and how many ways I could prepare it went through my head as my husband died, there and then in front of me. I stood in shock in those ten seconds while he fought to breathe, until he was entirely still.
from Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent (2016) Highly Recommended.
Saturday, July 8, 2017
’Cabbage? Red onions? Are you sure? Those ingredients are very…rustic. You know, I do believe he might enjoy something a little more sophisticated. He is a great gourmand, Édouard, you know. Why, once we went to Le Petit Fils and he ate the entire dégustation menu of fourteen course. Can you imagine? I thought he was going to burst by the time the petits fours arrived. But he was so happy…’ She shook her head, as if lost in a reverie. ‘He is a man of such appetites…’
from Paris for One and other stories by JoJo Moyes (2016). Highly Recommended.
Saturday, July 1, 2017
We ate breakfast without speaking. I waited, half-cringing, for the blows to fall, but Bennett did not accuse me further. His boiled egg rattled against the cup. His spoon clanked in the coffee. In the deathly silence between us, every sound and every motion seemed exaggerated as if in a movie close-up. His slicing off the top of the skull of his egg could be an Andy Warhol epic. Egg, it would be called. Six hours of a man’s hand amputating the top of an egg’s head. Slow motion.
from Fear of Flying by Erica Jong (1974). Recommended.
Saturday, June 24, 2017
This time two waiters appeared. One placed a cocktail in front of each of us, while the other set down on the table an array of appetizers, traditional fare from the fabled bar upstairs - ’21’ Club mini-burgers, crispy chicken wings, jumbo shrimp cocktail, and a large charcuterie.
“Nobody’s mentioned the mob,” Mike said, dredging a shrimp in the sauce and moving it to his mouth without a single drip. “You know something we don’t?”
from Night Watch by Linda Fairstein (2012) Recommended.
Saturday, June 17, 2017
The convoy set out across the Blasket Sound and on their arrival the wedding feast began in earnest… Nine barrels of Bandon Rattler, brewed by Allmans in west Cork, were consumed at this feast, according to Méiní, and the fact that in Maurice Keane’s memory it was eight barrels plus a gallon of whiskey confirms that it was certainly an occasion when thirsty souls were amply refreshed… and no doubt the island musicians did their share.
from Méiní, The Blasket Nurse, by Leslie Matson (1996). Recommended.
Saturday, June 10, 2017
The apartment was abjectly appointed on the corner of the second of three poured-concrete stories. The front window gave onto a distressing view of purple Christmas cabbages. Rain raised oily puddles in the grocery parking lot, peacock blue and burnt orange, and until well after midnight a corrosive smell of exhaust stole through the vents. The aisles of the grocery store were filled with college students. They dawdled in formation, and stared in perplexity at fresh produce like they were encountering obscene paintings.
from Kiddio at the Wedding by Mary O’Donoghue, one of the stories in New Irish Writing, a feature in Granta Spring 2016, Highly Recommended.