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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
Friday, April 26, 2019
|Pinot Noir via Pixabay|
There were six of us in the cozy little dining room in the Meyer’s apartment in Lützowerstrasse. As four of them stood up and toasted me silently, I shook my head. I wasn’t sure I deserved Franz Meyer’s thanks, and besides, the wine we were drinking was a decent German red - a Spätburgunder from long before the war that he and his wife would have done better to have traded for some food instead of wasting it on me. Any wine - let alone a good German red - was almost impossible to come by in Berlin.
Sunday, April 21, 2019
..When he stopped at an establishment that
… The waiter was a boy of about seventeen, who rushed to fetch water and refill the napkin holder. In his haste, rushing, the boy dropped the menu. Immediately he picked it up and dusted it and kissed it.
Goody understood. The day had just begun and the menu was an object of veneration, the good book that gave the boy his livelihood.
The Bombay sandwiches they ordered were soggy with butter and chutney. Xavier was lifting up a slice of bread to examine the cucumber and tomato….
from The Book of Chocolate Saints by Jeet Thayil (2018). No Recommendation.
Friday, April 19, 2019
|Image by Hansetravel from Pixabay|
from Reading Between The Wines by Terry Theise (2010). Very Highly Recommended.
Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Big Momma Sweet made sure she had plenty of women and they all danced and howled and satisfied every lust that money could buy in prelude to the vicious night. Some brought grills in their truck beds and coolers packed with venison and pork and the smell of charcoal and meat wafted in the humid air in breaking grey clouds. Some wandered over to the open-air barn and admired vehicles that they had once owned but had been forced to turn the titles over to Big Momma Sweet to settle their bets.
from The Fighter by Michael Farris Smith (2018). Highly Recommended.
Friday, April 5, 2019
Of course, many old wines disappointed. You never knew, until you opened it, how a bottle would be. When Broadbent tried an 1875 Margaux, he rhapsodised about its “extraordinary nose like crystallised violets and clean bandages!” At another event, however, he glumly lamented the state of an 1858 Mouton, wincing at its “incredibly awful creosote, tarry smell” before jotting in his notebook the ultimate condemnation” “Not tasted”.
from The Billionaire’s Vinegar by Benjamin Wallace (2008). Highly Recommended.
Friday, March 29, 2019
Inside our house, my mother is also cooking and I have little choice but to wait in anticipation. There is something artistic about the way she moves about the kitchen cooking, the little things she says, the snippets of songs she sings. It all goes into her rice, tacos, enchiladas, menudo and caldo de res.
She’s poetic, lyrical in her creations. I take out my cell phone and record her, hoping to keep the moment ingrained forever.
from Homelands by Alfredo Corchado (2018). Very Highly Recommended.
Friday, March 22, 2019
Guests weren’t allowed in the crowded maternity ward, for health and hygiene reasons, but my mother couldn’t stand the hospital food and she was starving. She was waiting at the open window for the gibanica: a feta cheese and phyllo pastry pie, and “reform torte”, a nutty creamy dessert — both made by her mother, at her request. Dad spotted her and threw the ball of twine… She didn’t catch it….
He threw it again and she caught it.
“If you’d thrown it like that the first time, I would have caught it,” she said, hauling the basket up, eager to have the last word.
from Miss Ex-Yugoslavia by Sofia Stefanovic (2018). Highly Recommended.
Photo: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gibanica_single_slice_with_full_pie_in_background.jpg. Attribution: Cyrus Roepers
Sunday, March 17, 2019
It was just me and the other guy. The blue kite.
The tension in the air was as taut as the glass string I was tugging with my bloody hands. People were stomping their feet, clapping, whistling chanting, “Boboresh! Boboresh!” Cut him! Cut him! I wondered if Baba’s voice was one of them. Music blasted. The smell of steamed mantu and fried pakora drifted from rooftops and open doors.
But all I heard - all I willed myself to hear - was the thudding of blood in my head. All I saw was the blue kite. All I smelled was victory.
from The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (2003). Very Highly Recommended.
Saturday, March 16, 2019
The staff lunch is a daily ritual that serves as a tasting forum and often draws guests who just happen to show up around twelve thirty. “We see these heads in the window,” says Beckey, “which is terrific, because Russell is incapable of cooking for less than twelve.”
Clearly a man of large appetites and enthusiasms, he can take no credit for his towering height, but his Falstaffian girth is presumably his own accomplishment. He is also widely reputed to have both an excellent palate and an extraordinary memory for older vintages.
from The Juice, Vinous Veritas, by Jay McInerney (2012). Highly Recommended.
Saturday, March 9, 2019
The serious-looking waiter set more new glistening stemware in front of us. We were refreshed all around with the Comte Armand. As the wine rose to our lips, we were vertiginously winched up to a more rarefied plateau. It was as if we had just left the harbour and entered the sea, as if the clouds had parted and the sky had turned lavender and wraithlike little sprites were dancing on the surface of the water.
“Now this is Pinot Noir, “I said.
from Sideways by Rex Pickett (2004). Highly Recommended.