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.


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