Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Cooking the basics














Carla Lalli Music, isn't that a great name for an author? She has written a cookbook called Where 

Cooking Begins,Uncomplicated Recipes to Make you a Great Cook. This book is very much about

the basics of cooking with wonderful recipes to illustrate the principles. She talks about shopping

and storing food, the basics of kitchen organization.  Next is technique, whether it be roasting,

steaming on several other approaches. Once those are explored, then come recipes, which are

 divided into categories. The recipes sound divine, such as lobster pasta with grated tomato

sauce. These recipes sound fancy enough to be interesting but basic enough to be approachable.

ML

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Ah Ireland!






Ireland! We all have an idea in our head of what that means. Some things come to mind: green, Irish Whiskey, hard times, storytelling. In the book When All Is Said, by Anne Griffin, all these archetypes are explored.  Aquintessential Irish novel, filled with melancholy and angst. Maurice is 84, his beloved wife Sadie gone now for two years. His only child, a son lives in America with his family. He now sits at a bar in a restaurant, intending to toast the five individuals who had the greatest impact on his life. He has reserved the VIP suite for the night. The bar where he sits, the hotel he is in, had once been the house of the wealthiest family in the village. This house figured largely in his youth, and the memories are not good ones. He is lonely,sorely misses his wife, feels as if he belongs nowhere, to none. Now though, Maurice has a plan.

As he drinks each drink we learn the story of his life. The importance of a gold coin, which is also the continuous item that travels through his stories. Maurice is very likable, a flawed character, and so very human, one filled with guilt and envy. Love that couldn't be expressed. A sensitive exploration of guilt and regret. A quiet novel, a heartfelt story that feels very real. A story of a father and son that had trouble connecting. The last chapter is an emotional slayer, but the memorable last line brought the curtain down.ML



Thursday, January 17, 2019

Murder in Japan



 



 Newcomer, a mystery by Japanese writer by Keigo Higashino, features Det. Kyochiro Kaga of the Tokyo Police Department. His style is deceptively laid back, so people underestimate him, but he does some intricate and surprising investigating and of course, solves the case! The author is hugely popular in Japan, and also wrote The Devotion of Suspect X, the English translation of which was nominated for the 2012 Edgar Award for Best Novel and the 2012 Barry Award for Best First Novel.


Winter in New York







Isabel Allende's new book In the Midst of Winter, is a sweeping novel about three very different people who are brought together in a story that journeys from present-day Brooklyn to Guatemala in the recent past to 1970s Chile and Brazil. In the Midst of Winter begins with a minor traffic accident--which becomes the catalyst for an unexpected  love story between two people who thought they were deep into the winter of their lives. Richard Bowmaster--a 60-year-old human rights scholar--hits the car of Evelyn Ortega--a young, undocumented immigrant from Guatemala--in the middle of a snowstorm in Brooklyn. What at first seems just a small inconvenience takes an unforeseen and far more serious turn when Evelyn turns up at the professor's house seeking help. At a loss, the professor asks his tenant Lucia Maraz--a 62-year-old lecturer from Chile--for her advice. These three very different people are brought together in a  story that moves from present-day Brooklyn to Guatemala in the recent past to 1970s Chile and Brazil, sparking the beginning of a long overdue love story between Richard and Lucia. Tender and surprising, this is a lovely read.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Fast and Delicious








Christopher Kimball has done a lot of cooking. He started cooking magazines and starred in a cooking show on public television. His new venture (after a messy divorce from his old company) is Milk Street Kitchen with a TV show and cookbooks. His new book is Milk Street Cooking: Tuesday Nights. This book emphasizes fast cooking, weeknight cooking and using spices for flavor. So the first chapter is titled Fast, and the next Faster. There are chapters for Pizza night, One Pot, and Supper Salads. While the choice of dishes are semi-traditional, the spices and combinations are not. Some of the dishes are for example, Braised Chickpeas and Spinach, Shrimp with Tamarind. Sweets are also included,(Raspberry-Pistachio Meringue anyone?) Delicious! ML

Drama in Edinburgh









Isabel Dalhousie is the main character in Alexander McCall Smith's new novel,The Quiet Side of Passion. This is the twelfth installment in this beloved series. Isabel grapples with her responsibilities of friends, family and work while dealing with matters of the heart. She must call once again on her kindness and intelligence to determine the right course of action. Lovely. ML

Living with Nature




 

In Stephen R. Kellert's book
 Nature By Design:The Practice of Biophilic Design several principals are explored. What is Biophilic Design, you might ask. Biophilia is the theory that people possess an inherent affinity for nature, which developed in the long years of human evolution. This need for nature is vital for human health and well being. So Biophilic design seeks to connect humans with nature, either by the design of the building using natural materials,or bringing light and using plants, to name a few. Many hospitals are incorporating garden design in their building to alleviate stress in patients and staff. With over one hundred striking photographs of Biophilic design, this is a beautiful book. ML