A Homemade Life is filled with stories from Molly's life, each revolving around a specific food and ending with the recipe. The three to six page anecdotes can be read it short bites over several weeks, or devoured in a sitting or two. I loved the book by the second page:
"When I walk into my kitchen today, I am not alone. Whether we know it or not, none of us is. We bring fathers and mothers and kitchen tables, and every meal we have ever eaten. Food is never just food. It's also a way of getting at something else: who we are, who we have been, and who we want to be." (page 2)
It was a warm August evening when eight of us gathered on my patio. As it turned out, everyone loved the book as much as I did. We especially liked Molly's open, honest style. The discussion focused mainly on retellings of our own "food memories" and experiences with our selected recipes. One quirky observation - it seemed that several of the recipes required more baking time than suggested.
Our meal included:
- sliced spring salad with feta and avocado
- Burg's potato salad
- Doron's meatballs with pine nuts, cilantro, and golden raisins
- garden fresh green beans with Molly's vinaigrette dressing
- roasted eggplant ratatouille
- bouchons au thon
- banana bread with chocolate and crystallized ginger
- chocolate cupcakes with bittersweet glaze
The recipes were sometimes chosen based on a quote from the preceding vignette:
"...you can tell a lot about someone by their potato salad. I like to think of it as the Rorschach test of foods." (page 11)"Those nightly glasses of milk didn't create much in the way of happy memories, but they did do one thing. They taught me that anything, anything, can be made better with chocolate. It's a lesson that has served me well." (page 42)
Doron's meatballs with pine nuts, cilantro, and golden raisins was my contribution. I was intrigued by the combination of ingredients, but thought the family might not appreciate it. My book club friends were the perfect guinea pigs, and the turkey meatballs were a huge success! We made them again and Margaret posted the recipe (and a photo) at Lakeside Kitchen.
A new book club tradition has been born! We're already considering next summer's foodie selection. Any suggestions?
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