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Friday, August 23, 2019
We were greeted by a pleasant middle-aged lady who escorted us into a refectory….
There were some pitchers of iced tea on the table, hopefully to be turned into wine. Nice-looking young men and women, alight with the Holy Spirit, brought out platters of food. I’d expected loaves and fishes, but we got rice and beans, and poultry that had come second in a cockfight.
from The Cuban Affair by Nelson DeMille (2017). No Recommendation.
Saturday, August 17, 2019
She had returned home…one afternoon to the smell of roast duck procured from Lai Chee Roast Chicken and Duck at the market. There was soup bubbling away… And fishcake, raw stuffed okra, silky tofu and straw mushrooms, all plated on the side, ready to be plunged into the boiling soup. Sweet tang yuan to round off the meal. Cutlery already in place. .. It had been years since they had shared a reunion dinner…. It took them a while to stop watching each other over the tops of their bowls and begin talking about their day.
from How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee (2019). Very Highly Recommended.
Saturday, August 10, 2019
The drinks trolley rolls by, blithely smashing into the knees of the long-limbed. Compact and travel-sized, I have plenty of space, even in the cramped and ever-diminishing airline seats. I secure myself a bland Bloody Mary in a plastic cup, wondering for the dozenth time about the name of this precious, life-giving elixir - related to the gory bride we conjured in mirrors as girls.
I swirl the viscous tomato juice among the too many ice cubes and not nearly enough vodka, sipping through the tiny red straw…. I’m trying very hard to think about what I’m leaving and where I’m heading.
from Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach (2017). Very Highly Recommended.
Sunday, August 4, 2019
The universal use of flavor descriptors powerfully suggests that taste acuity is tantamount to judging the quality of a wine. It is nothing of the sort.
from True Taste, The Seven Essential Wine Words, by Matt Kramer (2015). Recommended.
Saturday, August 3, 2019
|from The Sea by John Banville (2005). No recommendation.|
At lunchtime the Colonel and I must shift for ourselves…. The Colonel is a ruminant. He sits at the kitchen table in shirt-sleeves and an antique sleeveless pullover munching away at an ill-made sandwich - hacked lump of cheese or chunk of cold meat between two door-stoppers smeared with his slap, or a dash of Colman’s fieriest, or sometimes both if he feels in need of a jolt - and tries out feints of conversation on me, like a canny field commander searching for a bulge in the enemy’s defences.
Friday, July 26, 2019
On Saturdays, she knows, they sometimes eat lunch at a restaurant. Mila told her that. They go to a café where the little girl is allowed order anything she wants and where Adam tries tasting a bit of mustard or lemon from the end of a spoon, under his parents’ tender gaze. Louise would like that. In a packed café… she would be less afraid of the silence. She would sit between Mila and her brother and she’d straighten the large white napkin on the little girl’s lap. She’d feed Adam, spoon after spoon. She’d listen to Paul and Myriam speak. It would all go too fast. She would feel good.
from Lullaby by Leïla Slimani (2018). Recommended.
Saturday, July 20, 2019
|Battenberg by Henrycooksey https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Battenbergcake.jpg|
And she said, ‘…. And what about Battenberg?’
And I said, ‘I don’t know because I don’t know what Battenberg is.’
She said, “It’s a kind of cake. It has four pink and yellow squares in the middle and it has marzipan icing round the edge.’
And I said, ‘Is it a long cake with a square cross-section which is divided into equally-sized, alternatively coloured squares?’
And she said, ‘I think you could probably describe it like that.’
from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (2003). Highly Recommended.
Saturday, July 13, 2019
Falk felt the tension in his shoulders finally start to lift around the time Gretchen poured the third glass of red… He could feel muscles in his neck loosen. He took a mouthful of wine and enjoyed the sensation as his cluttered head gave way to a more pleasant type of fog.
The kitchen was now dark, the remains of the dinner cleared… A lamb stew. Her own, she’d said. Animal, not the recipe.
from The Dry by Jane Harper (2016). Highly Recommended
Saturday, July 6, 2019
Alastair knew quite a bit more about contemporary Iraq than I did. I hadn’t been in ten years and couldn’t remember the name of the Shiite tribe my family belonged to; moreover, when I admitted I’d never tasted sheep’s-head soup he gave a look of such incredulity you’d think I was a man from Parma claiming never to have tasted ham.
from Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday (2018). Highly Recommended
Saturday, June 29, 2019
“Yes, of course,” said Fidel..
from Changó’s Beads and Two-Tone Shoes by William Kennedy (2011). Recommended.
Saturday, June 22, 2019
She wound up at La Rotonde, the place Aunt Nora used to talk about, the place if Fiona remembered right, where Ranko Novak lost his mind. Or was it Modigliani? In any case, she sat inside where it was warm, and she ordered soup à l’oignon gratinée and wished she weren’t surrounded by so many English-speakers. There was no scruffy, drunk artists, no absinthe-drinking models, no great expat poets.
Well, how would she know? Maybe that table in the corner was full of them.
She’d asked Nora once if she ever met Hemingway, and Nora had said, “If I did, he didn’t make an impression.”
from The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai (2018). Very Highly Recommended.
Saturday, June 15, 2019
‘I didn’t know you could cook.’
He smiled. ‘That’s probably a bit generous. I can make this and a few other things. It’s like playing the piano, though, isn’t it? You only need to know about five decent pieces you can drag out in company and people think you’re good at it.’
‘So is this your signature dish, as they say on the cooking shows?’
‘One of them. I’ve got exactly four more.’
‘Still, five is four more than some men can make,… Can I turn on the news for a minute?’
Carmen picked up the remote… Falk could see the screen out of the corner of his eye…. The ticker scrolled across the bottom…
GRAVE FEARS FOR MISSING MELBOURNE HIKER.
from Force of Nature by Jane Harper (2017). Very Highly Recommended.
Saturday, June 8, 2019
Alice..returned with a sheet of plywood on which she had bread and marmalade and some glistening butter… She poured me some black tea and added sweet condensed milk. She insisted I draw up a chair to eat and waited until I did.
Meanwhile I could hear Battery going through the empty bottles in the bedroom dresser. I told Alice she need not serve me. She shook her head and grasped the knife and smeared the canned butter on my bread… suddenly she smiled and a moment later her whole face collapsed and her mouth opened and she howled.
Doctor Battery came rushing… Alice abruptly controlled herself. Something very odd was occurring between them.
from A Long Way from Home by Peter Carey (2017). Highly Recommended.
Sunday, June 2, 2019
Inside, the house was already full to overflowing. There were mimosas and an omelet station. There were caterers offering bite-sized quiches and poached eggs in puddles of velvety hollandaise. There was a three-tiered pink-and-white cake.. with a sugar figurine of a baby holding the number 1…. pink and white streamers unfurling their triumphant way toward..where Mirabelle McCullough, the birthday girl, nestled in Mrs McCullough’s arms.
From Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (2017). Very Highly Recommended.
Saturday, June 1, 2019
You pass a coffee shop you hate because it’s always hot and flies constantly swarm the front of the shop, where a big patch of sun seethes with some invisible shit the flies love and where there’s always just that one seat left in the heat with the flies, which is why you hate it, on top of the fact that it doesn’t open until ten in the morning and closes at six in the evening to cater to all the hipsters and artists who hover and buzz around Oakland like flies, America’s white suburban vanilla youth, searching for some invisible thing Oakland might give them, street cred or inner-city inspiration.
from There There by Tommy Orange (2018). Highly Recommended.
Friday, May 24, 2019
Marianne brings a cold bottle of sparkling wine out… and asks Niall to open it….. A crest of white spills over the lip of the bottle and Niall pours the wine into Elaine’s glass. The glasses are broad and narrow like saucers. Jamie..says: Do we not have proper champagne glasses?
These are champagne glasses, says Peggy.
No, I mean the tall ones, Jamie says.
You’re thinking of flutes, says Peggy. These are coupes.
from Normal People by Sally Rooney (2018). No Recommendation.
Saturday, May 18, 2019
When he looked again, the spoon had carved a well in the butter.
….Bora choose to remain standing.
“Gospozha, I do need the rest of the information I came for. As you see, I’m upfront about it.”
Without answering him, Larissa ogled the butter.
from Tin Sky by Ben Pastor (2012). Highly Recommended.
Friday, May 10, 2019
He’s an excellent cook. His overheated house is always smelling of something delicious. His spice rack looks like an apothecary’s shop. When he opens his refrigerator or his cupboards, there are many brand names I don’t recognize; in fact, I can’t even tell what language they’re in. We are in India. But he handles Western dishes equally well. He makes me the most zesty yet subtle macaroni and cheese I’ve ever had. And his vegetarian tacos would be the envy of all Mexico.
from Life of Pi by Yann Martel (2002). Highly Recommended.
Sunday, May 5, 2019
The first time I went to an Indian restaurant in Canada I used my fingers. The waiter looked at me critically and said, “Fresh off the boat, are you?” I blanched. My fingers, which a second before had been taste buds savouring the food a little ahead of my mouth, became dirty under his gaze. They froze like criminals caught in the act. I didn’t dare lick them. I wiped them guiltily on my napkin. He had no idea how deeply those words wounded me…… My sambar lost its taste.
from Life of Pi by Yann Martel (2002). Highly Recommended.
Friday, May 3, 2019
from Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman (1980). Highly Recommended.
Image by Andreas Barsch from Pixabay