Book: The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman
Food: Broccoli Cheese Soup in bread bowls, salad, and spiced pumpkin bread with ice cream
Wine of the Night:
It had been a stressful week for most of us, with the holiday season beginning and our various work and home demands, so by the time book club rolled around, we were ready to have a good time. Most of us were driven by Mary, who is pregnant, which was nice because then we didn't have to worry about having more than a glass of wine (or two).
We all rolled up at once to Jennifer's house, and plopped on the couches and chairs and poured glasses of wine all around, minus Mary of course. While we sipped at our glasses, we chatted a bit and then Jennifer told us we could eat. In a herd, we trooped into the kitchen to prepare our plates. I swear, that soup was so good, that I ate two bowls of it, and then couldn't eat any of the bread! I actually enjoyed it so much, that I recreated the meal, down to the bread bowls for dinner last night with my husband, where once again I ate two whole bowls! If you are looking for a warming comforting soup, try it out. It is definitely not low fat though!
While we ate, we discussed the book. We agreed that we loved the Jess and George parts, but didn't necessarily enjoy the Emily and Jonathan parts of the book. And the end! So stupid! I wasn't expecting it, and I didn't enjoy it. However, the Jess and George parts redeemed the entire story. The way the food was talked about, as sensual and slightly erotic - and books were described in the same way, not really erotic, but as these rare treasures, which they of course were. The cookbook collector to whom the title refers was this eccentric old guy, who collected all these rare and old cookbooks, as well as not so rare. But strangely, they were the only things in his kitchen - they were in the drawers, the cupboards and even the oven, while there was not a single utensil or plate or such. Inside the books were notes, imaginary menus, bits of romantic poetry, drawings of the same woman, over and over. This cookbook collector seemed to be a sensual dreamer, with his head full of romance, yet who had never maybe enjoyed what he so desired - these exotic foods, a happy love life.
We also talked about our lives - one of the reasons we love book club is that we are all friends first. It is our time to stop our daily schedules, and make time for each other and our stories and our trials and our victories. We left feeling sated, emotionally and physically, full from the good food and conversation between friends.
Next book club is Chrissy's, and we are reading Rant. It is also our homemade gift exchange!