Monday, March 16, 2009

Book Fun: A Homemade Life

This week's book fun is for the grown-ups. This weekend, as planned, I went to the book signing for Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table. It a delightful twist my Mom joined me. We didn't know quite what to expect, but arrived just in time to purchase our books and grab some seats. The allotted space was packed. Molly began with an introduction to herself and the book and continued to read from the first chapter.

I loved her focus on the interconnectedness of family moments and food as I feel they are there in my family too. Since my grandmother died, I find myself thinking of her often when I make things she would make and sometimes make them just because she liked to. I consider my Grandpa Dotter whenever making pie or pork loin and remember having them around various family tables. Other foods remind me of harvest or summer or celebrations. In short, many memories and moments in our family have a menu too and it was neat to see that in someone else. That said, while both my family and hers have definite ideas on potato salad they are VERY different. My grandmother, for instance, would include a dozen eggs while her father includes two teaspoons of caraway seeds which would not work for me or my family's version.

I digress, after a short reading she took questions. This was particularly neat as so many people in the audience knew her or her father so they often answered questions when she forgot. (She seemed a bit nervous). It was a lovely intimate setting and seemed very personal in her hometown. I was surprised how many people of different ages and connections were there as we waited in line to have our books signed. It was a nice new window into OKC.

Another discover was the store itself, I'd never been to Full Circle Bookstore, but found it quite lovely, complete will little quiet nooks, isles of interesting books, a cafe, a childrens book room with favorites old and new, those fun ladders that go along the tall walls, and a faux pearl encrusted buffalo too! I think I'll go back to visit again as it is an inviting and fun space.

As to the book itself, I'm about seven or eight chapters in. It works like this, each chapter has a short story of their family's life, usually two-four pages. This is followed by a recipe that plays a central role in the story. Thus far, I really love the stories and the recipes are interesting. That said, it is a little unclear whether to treat it like a cookbook or a book of short stories. I'm not a huge short story fan so find myself wanting more when the story yeilds to the recipe. Sometimes, I have instead looked fora recipe in the recipe index that looks promising for my meal plan and read that way rather than directly in a row. The writing remains strong and engaging throughout and it is a book I think I will read in pieces and savor (literally and figuratively it seems). It is very personal and yet quite approachable and open. I think the style and the subject are both engaging and novel. I look forward to trying out some of the food to match the stories soon and will let you know how it goes.

For this week's book resource, consider GoodReads. This site allows you to keep tracks of the books you have waiting to be read, those you've read and those you'd like to read. You can then connect with your friends (via e-mail invite) to see their lists and get ideas that way for things you might like. I've only been using it a litte while and actually not too much, but some of my other friends are really enjoying it and find it a great organizational tool. If you join, let me know and we can share lists.

That's it for today's Book Fun, but there will likely be more and I'll probably switch between kids, grown-ups, events and more. I hope it is fun and useful to you!

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