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Friday, August 10, 2018
Emi’s daughter awakens her with a gentle squeeze..
‘Breakfast is ready,” YoonHui says.
Emi smells freshly brewed coffee, along with boiled rice and pan-fried white fish. Her stomach grumbles….
Her daughter has outdone herself. An array of dishes on small porcelain plates sits on the breakfast table next to two steaming bowls of rice.
‘You made my favourite banchan,’ Emi exclaims..
Yoonhui swallows and stare at her coffee mug.. and doesn’t look up when she speaks.
‘Were you a “comfort woman”?’ Silence falls between them like an invisible sheet.
from White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht (2018). Very Highly Recommended.
Saturday, August 4, 2018
Dr Joseph Fry opened his chocolate company in the mid-1700s, marketing the powder for medicinal purposes, but it was his grandson, Joseph Storrs-Fry, who achieved the historic breakthrough. Combining Van Houten’s pressing machine with the Watt steam engine, he began mass-producing cocoa cakes and experimenting with the mix of butter and flavourings to produce something they could mould into shapes. By 1847, Fry had the balance..just right, and began selling..the world’s first chocolate bars.
from Dictatorland, The Men Who Stole Africa, by Paul Kenyon (2018). Very Highly Recommended.
Friday, July 27, 2018
Soap clicked his fingers and called for the coats, his voice somehow able to compete with the string quartet’s crescendo. The maître d’ approached tentatively. His voice, when he was within earshot.. was honey; too sweet to be wholesome.
“And how would sir wish to settle the bill tonight?”
“He wouldn’t,” Soap said.
“I don’t quite follow. Is it the lady’s treat, perhaps?”
“No.” Soap puffed his chest.”The food was atrocious and the wine was mediocre. You phoney bastards don’t deserve a dime.”
“Sir, if there’s been—“
“This isn’t a negotiation, pal. Chalk it up to customer dissatisfaction and step aside."
“Surely there is some way we can settle this amicably?”
“Yeah, you can get the fuck out of my way, and put a little more effort in next time.”
from Disorder by Gerard Brennan (2018). Very Highly Recommended.
Saturday, July 21, 2018
Joan’s lemon meringue pie was one of the most glorious things I had ever put in my mouth: warm, painfully sharp lemon filling, the most airy pastry imaginable and a billowing hat of thick, teeth-judderingly sweet meringue. She squeezed the juice of five lemons into the filling, enough to make you close one eye and shudder. The pie was always served warm, so the filling oozed out like a ripe Vacherin.
from Toast by Nigel Slater (2003). Highly Recommended.
Saturday, July 14, 2018
She opened the top and the smell of bacon and warm bread billowed out. Her stomach growled.
‘It’s good,’ the man said. ‘I had one earlier. Eat.’
Andra knew she shouldn’t. He could have put anything in it. But the smell. And she was so hungry. She reached inside the bag, pulled out half a sandwich, took a bite.
‘Why don’t you sit down,’ he said. ‘Give me five minutes to explain.’
She perched on the edge of the bed, chewed, swallowed. ‘You’ve got till the end of this sandwich,’ she said. ‘Now talk.’
from Here and Gone by Haylen Beck (2017). Very Highly Recommended.
Saturday, July 7, 2018
The buying of the car was another attempt on the Captain’s part to rescue his daughter from her isolation…. ‘Today, the races?’ he suggested and they would set out for Lismore or Clonmel. He took her to the Opera House in Cork, dinner first in the Victoria Hotel, where an old woman once stood up and in a quivering voice sang the last few lines of an aria from Tannhaüser. The diners applauded and the Captain was reminded of the afternoon in the Città Alta..”
from The Story of Lucy Gault by William Trevor (2002). Very Highly Recommended.
Friday, June 29, 2018
“Everyone who comes to Fatty Boom Boom’s is a drinker, Mother. Otherwise Fatty herself will show you the door.”
“In that case what do you have?”
“Wine, gin, whiskey, brandy, umqombothi-“
I cut off her recitation.”I will have a small glass of umqombothi.”
The girl laughs.”Fatty is a big woman, Mother, and she believes in big glasses. You will find nothing small here.”
The home-brewed traditional African beer I have ordered is illegal…
from Hum if you don’t know the words by Bianca Marais (2017). Very Highly Recommended.
Saturday, June 23, 2018
So Johel stressed over the menu: huge platters of fried plantains,
mountains of griot marinated in lemons and Scotch bonnet chilis; beef tassot made the way his grandmother liked it, soaked in orange juice for a night, then boiled and fried; and tray after tray of deep-fried akra. Everything was drenched in piklis, so spicy the waiters carrying the platters out from the kitchen kept rubbing their eyes with the back of their tuxedoed sleeves. Not to mention the drinks: vats of Prestige in big steel buckets, and on every table a bottle of five-star Barbancourt and pitchers of cocktails made from Haitian grapefruit, available at a Haitian greengrocer in Flatbush.
|Scotch Bonnett Chili by Temaciejewski|
from Peacekeeping by Mischa Berlinski (2016). Very Highly Recommended.
Friday, June 15, 2018
...in the main street of Long Grass a whole beef had been roasted and a large black butcher was carving it up and handing hefty slabs to cowboys and dignitaries alike. One hundred pheasants from Virginia were fast consumed. Doc Holliday, a stranger to quail’s eggs until that day, liked them so much that he ate forty. A veritable river of drink was imbibed. Food disappeared so quickly that a second beef was roasted, from which Lord Erne himself cooked the sweetbreads.
from The Last Kind Words Saloon by Larry McMurtry.
Saturday, June 9, 2018
“in 1205, Bishop Juan de Prejano established the food rations for all workers in the lands of the Albelda monastery in La Rioja, and they included wine for three meals a day. So, bread, cheese and wine were to be had at midday, bread and wine in the afternoon, and bread, meat, and wine in the evening.”
From The Finest Wines of Rioja by Jesus Barquin, Luis Gutierrez and Victor de la Serna.
Monday, June 4, 2018
On November 22, 1963, Aretha was seven months pregnant with her third son and in the Broadway Market in Detroit, a gourmet-food outlet, when she heard news of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. In her book, she recalls that among her strongest memories of that day were the powerful smells of hanging hams, salamis, and cheeses. On other occasions, she reflected that, in the aftermath of the president’s death, she found comfort in the presence of her father.
from RESPECT, The Life of Aretha Franklin, by David Ritz (2014). Highly Recommended.
Friday, June 1, 2018
…there was famine everywhere. In 1958, during the Great Leap Forward, the true face of our revolution was revealed. Why did our leaders dream that every farmer could be reborn as a steelmaker? How did they imagine that a boy who had studied the fields all his life could make iron ore out of nothing? …… Here in this village, the communal kitchen was shut down for lack of food. The ground and the trees were stripped bare. Nobody had a pot to cook their soup in, let alone soup itself. In six months, half the people starved, first the children and the old, then the rest.
from Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien (2016). Very Highly Recommended.
Friday, May 25, 2018
Sheila plucked one of the cookies from the tray - a powdery little thing that looked like a puff of smoke. She brought it to her lips and took the tiniest of bites, then carefully spread out one of the linen napkins and placed the cookie on top - a painfully slow ritual that seemed to have nothing to do with eating. ‘I asked you here because I wanted to look in your eye, I can always tell whether they’re lying.’
Amy nodded, unsure of what to say next.
from If I Die Tonight by A. L. Gaylin (2017). Very Highly Recommended.
Sunday, May 20, 2018
At that time Antoni Fortuny still suspected that part of the boy’s mental deficiencies were due to his diet, which was far too influenced by his mother’s French cooking. It is a well known fact that the richness of buttery foods led to moral ruin and confusion of the intellect. He forbade Sophie to cook with butter ever again. The results were not entirely as he had anticipated.
from The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (2002). Highly Recommended.
Saturday, May 12, 2018
Lost in scowling concentration in grease splattered apron and cook’s hat, slope-shouldered, head bowed over the chopping block, Stonecrop ventured to insert chopped Bermuda onions, green peppers and chili peppers into ground beef; he experimented with novel ways of preparing even Canadian bacon, Birds Eye frozen fish, chicken wings and chicken-in-the-basket, French fries. Stonecrop annoyed his uncle by using new types of pickles, potato chips, cole slaw…. His corned-beef hash and special chili began to find customers….. He had his own ideas about rib steaks, “chicken-fried” steaks, London broil and pork chops…
His Uncle Duke lit into him in fury. “You little cocksucker, what’s this? What kind of shit is this?”
from The Falls by Joyce Carol Oates (2004). Very Highly Recommended.
Friday, May 4, 2018
And now everything that wasn't tied seemed to float for an endless moment as time slowed. A wine bottle, a woman’s purse, a little girl’s iPhone. Plates of food hovering in midair, spinning gently, entrées still in place, and then the screech of metal on metal and the barrel roll of Scott’s world ripping itself to pieces.
A wave smacks him in the face, and he kicks his feet to try to get higher in the water. His shoes are dragging him down, so he loses them…
from Before the Fall by Noah Hawley (2016). Recommended.
Friday, April 27, 2018
Three horrifically inept matches at the (2000) Euros later, Bild put 11 Bratwürste in national team kits on its cover. (To be called a Bratwürst, a grilled sausage, is a huge insult to anyone, never mind a German footballer). The tabloid also printed a detailed report of Bayern players drowning their sorrows in late-night beers after the final game, a 3-0 defeat by Portugal’s B team.
from Das Reboot by Raphael Honigstein (2015). Highly Recommended.
Friday, April 20, 2018
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
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?
from What is The What by Dave Eggers (2006). Very Highly Recommended.
Friday, April 6, 2018
‘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.