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Saturday, February 16, 2019
At each place there is at least one hollowed-out tree truck with a hole at the end, where at harvest time they stomp grapes to get juice for making wine. The two women said they could easily get 1 ton of grapes into a tree trunk. First the boys walk on the grapes, and then the older and heavier men crush them harder. … It takes about two hours to finish the job. Turpa, one of the women, proudly pointed to one tree trunk and said the family had been using it for three centuries.
from In Search of Bachhus by George M. Taber (2009). Recommended.
Friday, February 8, 2019
Once, I woke in the night… I just couldn’t sleep. We got up and ..watching him make pancakes, something I kept saying I didn’t want. With a big tray of food between us, we sat in bed, watching an old black and white movie, and I know nothing will ever taste as good as that syrupy mess…. Everything quieted in me.. and I allowed myself to be dependent on this one person… Steve. I had that once in my life. Maybe that’s enough.
From In Pieces by Sally Field (2018). Very Highly Recommended
Friday, February 1, 2019
… the Greeks, to whom we owe the proverb oinos kai aletheia, wine and truth, which became in vino veritas when the Romans took over. Claret still has this aura for me, of a wine to be not swilled but meditated, and always in good company—which does not, of course, preclude drinking it alone, if your company reaches the required standard (which, after a glass or two, I find, mine does).
from Roger Scruton’s My Fall, part of Wine Reads edited by Jay McInerney (2018). Very Highly Recommended.
Friday, January 25, 2019
There he ate the meals that Visitación brought him twice a day, although in the last days he lost his appetite and fed only on vegetables. He soon acquired the forlorn look that one sees in vegetarians. His skin became covered with a thin moss, similar to that which flourished on the antique vest that he never took off, and his breath exhaled the odour of a sleeping animal.
from One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Márquez (1967). Very Highly Recommended
Saturday, January 19, 2019
…we walked around in the balmy evening, looking at menus, deciding where to eat. What a heavenly, under appreciated time that is in any day. The pleasure of choosing, the anticipation of a couple of hours with good food and better flirting.
from Maeve in America by Maeve Higgins (2018). Very Highly Recommended.
Friday, January 11, 2019
In Clare, de Valera had a new running mate, the GP Patrick Hillery. Hillery was a political neophyte: when De Valera told him to go to the Fianna Fail head office to sign the (party) pledge he thought he was being asked to give up drink. But he was assured that he would know all he needed to about politics after a campaign with de Valera.
from De Valera, Rule 1932-1975, by David McCullagh (2018). Recommended.
Friday, January 4, 2019
One afternoon, a number of rainbow runners were lying on the deck and I took a filleting lesson from Em Phumanny, the bowl-cut Cambodian with Buddhist tattoos. We planned to make kinilaw, a kind of Filipino ceviche made of a cold, chopped, vinegary whitefish. “The fish is not cooked, you know?” said Tony, “It is cured in the vinegar.”
I squatted in the sun near the cutaway rail while the pirates watched us drowsily.
from The Desert and The Sea (977 days captive on the Somali pirate coast) by Michael Scott Moore (2018). Very Highly Recommended.
Friday, December 28, 2018
..in Jame’s tiny kitchen, she roasted a chicken, cubed potatoes, peeled yams into a casserole dish the size of a steno pad: Thanksgiving dinner in miniature. James, who had never cooked himself a meal, who subsisted on burgers from Charlie’s Kitchen and English muffins from the Hayes-Bickford, watched in awe.
After Marilyn basted the chicken, she looked up defiantly, closed the oven, and peeled the oven mitts from her hands. ”My mother is a home economics teacher,” she said. “Betty Crocker is her personal goddess.” It was the first thing she had told him about her mother.
from Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (2014). Very Highly Recommended.
Friday, December 21, 2018
The game wound down and dinner was served, a roast, and a salad of watercress, rocket, and Roquefort, then dessert, a charlotte Malakoff au chocolate much admired by the party-goers, which brought Mme Reynard a flush of pleasure. “Say what you want about Julia. I know some will drag her through the mud, but in the end, what are they actually accomplishing with this?…”
“Who is Julia?” Tom whispered to Joan.
Tom misunderstood. He turned to Susan and asked,”Who is Julia?’
from French Exit by Patrick deWitt (2018). Recommended.
Friday, December 14, 2018
As winter approached…they would finally make their big move and the whole world would find out what they had been up to.
It was going to be a great and important day. To celebrate the years of hard work, Norris promised to take Randall and Berryman to dinner at Peter Luger, a famous Brooklyn steakhouse, where gruff old waiters throw down $80 platters of sizzling porterhouse. It seemed a fitting tribute because Luger’s happened to be Chuck Blazer’s favourite restaurant.
Blazer had been a terrific cooperator. There could never have been a case without him.
from Red Card, FIFA and the Fall of the Most Powerful Men in Sports, by Ken Bensinger (2018). Highly Recommended.
Friday, December 7, 2018
I asked Corazón if she had a little bag of sugar. She was always stealing packets of sugar and tea bags. Her purse was full of everything she could pick up along the way.
I wanted some sugar, but Corazón had only a yellow packet of Splenda. It was better than nothing. I ripped it open and poured the powder into my hand and licked it off my palm. Many things are better than nothing.
from Gun Love by Jennifer Clement (2018). Very Highly Recommended.
Friday, November 30, 2018
Not only distant peoples are our brothers and sisters, but foxes too, and laboratory mice, and now the fish. Perowne goes on catching and eating them, and though he’d never drop a live lobster into boiling water, he’s prepared to order one in a restaurant. The trick, as always, is to be selective in your mercies. For all the discerning talk, it’s the close at hand, the visible that exerts the overpowering force.
from Saturday by Ian McEwan (2005). Highly Recommended.
Friday, November 23, 2018
Were himself now capable of a morsel or two, I’d be the first to take pleasure feeding him. Maybe a slice of roast chicken, or a wing, a taste of salty ham perfumed with sugar and cloves on the skin, a wedge of chocolate cake sandwiched with apricot jam or a hefty slab of bread drowning in the best Irish butter, if you can get your hands on it off someone travelling from home. He’d relish the lot of that, make no mistake, and I’d be the happy woman to see him sated.
from The Woodcutter and His Family by Frank McGuinness (2017). Recommended.
Saturday, November 17, 2018
She’d actually given up drinking but she made an exception today. The food kept coming, white peach bellini, squid with chilli, a plate of raw sea bass scattered with pansies, rabbit pappardelle, blue beef, panna cotta like a severed breast, a hazelnut cake, white wine, red wine, espresso. They walked home, hand in hand, kissing by the swans……. You cannot be immune to downfall, loss and dirt, Kathy knew, but sometimes an afternoon is separate, its own gold sphere.
from Crudo by Olivia Laing (2018). Recommended.
Friday, November 9, 2018
We found a highway turn-off that led down to a parking lot… As we rolled in our headlights panned across tables and benches and grass and the water beyond. It looked real picturesque: the kind of spot Tracy and I might have have gone for a little picnic lunch, to eat potato salad and strawberries and these salami sandwiches she was fond of making. Of course, such thoughts of her now seemed all the more dreamlike and beyond reach, in the dark of the parking lot, with our inept plan unravelling and the stolen horse weighing us down like a curse.
from No Good Brother by Tyler Keevil (2018). No Recommendation.
Friday, November 2, 2018
They sat at a table by the window. The restaurant was full but not crowded. McLoughlin watched Elizabeth. She was sitting back in her chair. All the earlier tension and sadness gone from her face. She twirled her wine glass in her fingers, then drank.
‘This is lovely. You are clever. I’m useless at choosing from a wine list,’ she took another swallow, ‘this is truly delicious. What is it?’
‘It’s an Alto Adige from the north of Italy.’
‘Where you saw,’ she paused, ‘him, James Reynolds?’
from The Therapy House by Julie Parsons (2017). Highly Recommended.
Sunday, October 28, 2018
As Heather picked her way through the closely packed tables in Bewley’s, she could feel the stress of the morning melting away. There was something about Dublin’s legendary café that instantly cheered her. The smell of roasting coffee and warm scones… In one corner a stunning dark-haired young woman…. It was Sinead O’Connor… In another corner, a punk with a green-tipped blond Mohican was gently pressing his teabag against the side of his mug while holding an ancient Penguin paperback in his other hand. Only in Bewley’s.
from One Bad Turn by Sinéad Crowley (2017). Recommended.
Saturday, October 27, 2018
And he taught me how to cook damper and johnnycakes and whatnot… And a couple times I went back to the ridge country and popped a roo to give us a break from goat. Fintan loved a bit of roo. He boiled the tails for a stew. A few times I frenched him out a rack or two to do in the oven but mostly he liked to fry up a fillet with pepper and a tomato. Said it reminded him of beefsteak lunches at the Shelbourne, which is a pub in Ireland.
from the Shepherd’s Hut by Tim Winton (2018). Highly Recommended.
Friday, October 19, 2018
Nobody knew about the long-term effects, but one piece of recent research has indicated that ‘Girls born to Dutch women who were pregnant during the famine at the end of the Second World War had an above-average risk of developing schizophrenia.’ Another, earlier study indicated that those who had survived by eating tulip bulbs did better than those who had included wheat in their diet, but when they consumed American bread parachuted in at the liberation, they rapidly succumbed to coeliac disease.
from Arnhem, The Battle for the Bridges, 1944 by Anthony Beevor (2018). Highly Recommended.
Friday, October 12, 2018
In a proclamation to the Irish people, de Valera urged them to show discipline and to be ready to resist should force be used….
Dublin greeted the Truce with joy.
Crowds flooded into the streets, and overladen trams took tens of thousands to the seaside. Members of the Auxiliary Division commandeered military vehicles to join them. Ice cream vans sold ‘Gaelic ice cream’, and the city’s dealers laid out the fruit and vegetable on their handcarts in patriotic displays.
from De Valera Rise 1882-1932 by David McCullagh (2017). Very Highly Recommended.