Saturday, April 19, 2014

It's Literally a Cookbook

One day, not too long ago, I found myself in the unusual position of  being in my library, and not having anywhere that I had to hurry off to go.  I had time to browse the aisles, instead of just picking up my books from the hold shelf - something that I hadn't done in a long time.  And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but The Book Club Cookbook by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp.  I checked it out, thinking that it couldn't possibly be what I hoped it was.  

Gelman and Krupp have compiled a book of recipes from best selling books.  Some of the recipes are for foods referenced in the books, some are recipes that Gelman and Krupp think the characters would make, and some are recipes given by the author or his or her family members.  Additionally, with each recipe, there is a summary of the book, and an interview with a book group that discussed the book.  The book groups usually mention what they served when the book was discussed, and how their meetings work. 

I had no idea that there were so many types of book groups!  Most of them have great ideas.  Some host formal dinners.  Some choose appropriate restaurants.  Some only read books set in other countries.  Some only read Pulitzer winners.  Some pick a book once a year that they think their husbands and partners would also want to read, and invite them.  Some (gasp!) actually have men in the groups, and are either couple groups, or just book groups where men are there too.

Before the night was through, I was online trying to order The Book Club Cookbook from Amazon.  Yes, it was a little old, but still, I wanted it.  Then it got even better!  The book that I checked out from my library was the first edition, from 2004.  Amazon had a new edition, from 2012, which included books that were released after the first edition was printed.  The Amazon review dated March 13, 2012 includes a complete list of all the recipes added to the new version, and all the recipes that were in the first edition, but were not included in the 2012 book. 

Here are the recipes that are included in the 2012 cookbook, for books that The Typical Book Group has read:
There are a couple of books that I can think of where food was essential to the story.  For instance, I HATED the ending of The Dive From Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer so much that I toyed with the idea of writing a book consisting only of alternate endings that would have been better.  But, despite my strong feelings, I still remember Carrie baking cherry pie, and how much all of her friends clamoured for it.  Now I have the recipe for the pie, if not for a better ending.   In Empire Falls by Richard Russo, the brother, David, moves back to town, and has ideas about how to attract a more upscale clientele by offering "good, cheap, ethnic food" in the honest feeling diner.  Gelman and Krupp provide a recipe for shrimp flautas, which David created as a special. 

There are lots of other recipes tying in with books that I have reviewed here, including Cocoa-Cinnamon Babka from The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon, Mojitos and Mango, Jicama and Corn Salad from Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Jennifer Egan's Oatmeal Fudge Refrigerator Cookies from Jennifer Egan, the author of A Visit from the Goon Squad.  All told, there are recipes from 100 books, in this 486 page collection.  And now, what's your excuse?  Go Get It And Read.

Still Reading:  American Woman by Susan Choi

Still Listening to:  The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

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