A Newsletter for Lovers of Books and Food
from the authors of The Book Club Cookbook
Book clubs around the country are experimenting with and integrating food and literature in a multitude of exciting ways. This and future issues of Book Bytes will feature tips on reading and eating from a variety of book clubs - ideas we've gleaned from our ongoing conversations with a growing community of book and food enthusiasts around the country. So read on… and write in. We want to hear from you!
-- Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp
WIN BOOK CLUB COOKBOOK APRONS FOR YOUR BOOK CLUB!
Has your book club matched food to the theme of your reading selection? If so, tell us about it! We're looking for the most creative, compelling pairing of food with a contemporary novel. Please send a brief description of your favorite literary-culinary pairing by October 15. Each member of the winning book club will receive a Book Club Cookbook apron. (Limit: 15 aprons)
WHAT SHOULD YOUR CLUB READ NEXT?
When it comes to choosing books, nothing beats a recommendation from a book club. We asked the book clubs featured in our book what they enjoyed reading this summer, and we're pleased to share their advice with you. The most popular titles? Life of Pi by Yann Martel; The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon; The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown; and Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi.
Looking for a new title or a hidden gem and the food to go with it? Here are additional suggestions from our book clubs:
Portola Hills Book Club, Orange County, CA recommends:
Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas
"This is a memoir of a Persian woman who moved to America as a child, but had extended family here who had also immigrated from Iran. It is a heart-warming, funny immigrant tale with some profound truths at its core."
Paired with: Mediterranean Chicken Salad, steamed asparagus spears, fresh fruit, baklava and divan (a pistachio candy from Turkey).
Dallas Gourmet Book Club, Dallas, TX recommends:
The Pursuit of Alice Thrift by Elinor Lipman
"A humorous book that looks at the life of very serious Alice Thrift, M.D., a surgical intern who does not have much in the way of social skills. Lipman deftly weaves in themes of sex roles in social and professional relationships as well as looking at the ways we treat each other in our friendships and families. We laughed a lot while discussing this one!"
Paired with: fudge brownies because Ray, the boyfriend, is a carnival fudge salesman.
No Boys Allowed (NBA), Miami, FL recommends:
The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood
"Although it deals with difficult topics of love and death, this is ultimately an inspiring book full of hope for anyone who has ever experienced loss. We absolutely loved this book!"
Paired with: a clambake (to evoke the book's Massachusetts setting) and a drink called "orange cloud" in honor of the protagonist in the book, Charlie St. Cloud.
Erika Gardiner's book club of suburban Boston, MA recommends:
Going to the Sun by James McManus
"Going to the Sun is a very powerful story about a woman who decides to face a previous trauma in her life and the ongoing difficulties of being diabetic. It is a great book for discussion about new beginnings, health, trauma, graduate school, biking and music. We did not have a thematically related menu, but two of us made CDs for everyone which contained music mentioned in the book. That went over really well!"
MEET A BOOK CLUB…
Through our website and public appearances, we continue to hear from new book clubs about their favorite books and in some cases, the foods they've paired with their selections. In each issue of Book Bytes we'll introduce you to a new book club, and their recommendations for pairing food and literature.
The Read It and Eat Book Club of Indianapolis, Indiana suggests Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik:
Most of the eight members of the Read It and Eat Book Club of Indianapolis, Indiana work outside the home, so they generally dine at restaurants that match the theme of the book. But Dawn Nowakoski, the group's only full- time homemaker enjoys hosting meetings at her home, and cooking up a recipe to match the book.
Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons, a novel chronicling the lives of five friends who form a book club, is a perfect "book club" book, says Nowakoski. "It's about a neighborhood book club and the ups and downs of the characters' lives over three decades."
The group found the characters' relationships especially interesting. "While these women were great friends and had known each other for so long, one of them not only kept her traumatic past hidden from her friends, but lied about it as well," says Nowakoski. "Avoidance seemed to be a major issue in this novel."
Nowakoski hosted the meeting and enjoyed the book's "easy to match" food theme. "I certainly don't mind poking fun at my role as a homemaker, so I sent a cute 'housewife' poem with the invitations to dine in my home." She served Lazy Housewives' Lasagna (a crock pot lasagna), salad and breadsticks, along with wine -- "a main staple of the fictitious book club!"
And bon bons to cap of the meal of course? No, says Nowakoski; she served brownies. "After scouring the city for bon bons I was left to wonder if they even exist. I'm ashamed to say that this proud housewife has never eaten a single bon bon…but, I'm still looking."
Please tell us about your book club - and what you are reading and eating.
THE BOOK CLUB COOKBOOK IN THE NEWS!
The Book Club Cookbook and the clubs in our book have been featured in USA TODAY, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Boston Globe, Dallas Morning News, Self magazine, A Chef's Table, and more.
WE'D LIKE TO KNOW…
Has the excitement of the election season influenced your book club's reading selections? Please tell us about any titles your group chose because of their relevance to the election by clicking the link below.
SPICED APPLE TOPPING BAKED IN A PUMPKIN
This sweet, cinnamony topping for ice cream, baked in a pumpkin shell, will make a splash at your fall book club meeting. Choose a plump, round pumpkin with an attractive stem. We found that a combination of Honeycrisp and Macintosh apples worked well, but use any that you have on hand.
Thanks to the Book Bags of New Prague, Minnesota for contributing this recipe, which they enjoyed with their discussion of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.