3.5. Really close to a 4 at some points, but not quite. Sometimes it reminded me of the prose of Kage Baker. I think it would have made me think of th3.5. Really close to a 4 at some points, but not quite. Sometimes it reminded me of the prose of Kage Baker. I think it would have made me think of that even without the Spanish setting, but it's impossible to say.
It's about cheese, yeah, but it's not only about cheese. And there's the betrayal and revenge stuff, sure, but what the author is really doing here, and why this book took over ten years to produce, is because he's dealing with stories and why they're important. And also national-cultural identity as reflected in our personal lives, and how we can want to change that but can't always do so. Does that sound boring? Nonsense. Check out this excerpt:
(view spoiler)[My kids were back at home, and my wife, and there were bills to pay, and I owed England a bunch of money and then I had another thought: I'm not really Castilian, am I? Sara had said as much, but I hadn't believed her—hadn't wanted to—for in that moment, I'd felt myself so close to a breakthrough. I'd desperately needed a breakthough. Why couldn't I be the guy in the poncho, herding my family to a slower way of living? Why couldn't I settle in here and embrace the simple life, its quietude and old-wrld charms? What was so wrong about wanting to sit by the fire with your family, telling stories?
But no. It was like the boy raised by wolves, who realizes he likes raw rabbit innards less than pepperoni pizza, and begins to ask some hard questions. I heard a voice in my head singing my lonely hallelujah—and it now seemed as plain as deep-fried sheep ears when it spoke: You're an American, dude. I had long ago pledged my allegiance to Starbucks and microbrews, to stupid TV shows and those fluorescent Slurpees. I liked to order food without always hearing, "Como?" I couldn't invent attachment-apparatuses for a tractor, let alone drive one. When I was away from home, I missed vegetables and the phone ringing with some new assignment to somewhere i'd never heard of. Or a friend around the corner who wanted to grab a beer. I pledged allegiance to the ideals of our oft-flawed political system, for, at our best, we seemed less haunted than other countries, more protean, less grudge-holding, even if the world seemed more so toward us (and sometimes for good reason). As much as I loved that version of Guzmán on its hill, I don't think my heart had ever soared higher than the first time I drove cross-country and, in an adrenalized rush, saw the Rockies, carved in indigo, before my eyes—nor was I ever more taken aback by pure, random friendliness than, when first walking into a Waffle House after hours of driving, I was greeted by the woman behind the counter with, "Hey, shug-ah, anything I can get you?"
Yes, American life was messy and maddening, overwhelming and aggressive, supersaturated and plaque plagued, but it was deeply comforting, too. In the blur of our digital times, we may not have been as in touch with out inner Daniel Boones as Ambroisio was in touch with his El Cid, but this America was who I was.
... I realized that whatever legacy I gave my kids, I wanted them to know what it meant to be close to the land, close to history, close to the song of stars at night. I wanted them to feel close to me, too, and to Sara, by finding unfettered time that was so hard to find unless you flew far away from the madness. But it hadn't occurred to me to try to tame that madness rather than escape it, to bring the lessons of Castile back to my American life. (hide spoiler)]
This book made me want to read Poema de Mio Cid and more about Goya, and the stuff that Paterniti quotes from Walter Benjamin. It has some very long footnote-digressions, so if you are not into that sort of thing, well, don't say I didn't try to make sure you went into it with your eyes open!...more
This was a good look at the food history involved, albeit one not as well-footnoted as it could have been. But I feel like the main flaw was that it tThis was a good look at the food history involved, albeit one not as well-footnoted as it could have been. But I feel like the main flaw was that it took slavery too much as simply read. And .. Sally Hemings was there almost the whole time but it's like the author didn't want to be controversial by talking about her relationship / involvement / entanglement with Jefferson. That bugged me. Dates are very approximate....more
Actually I'd read this before now. I've owned a copy for a while but am planning to get rid of it. It's not very suitable for practical use, as thereActually I'd read this before now. I've owned a copy for a while but am planning to get rid of it. It's not very suitable for practical use, as there are smaller books that are more comprehensive that you could keep in your kitchen for a quick reference. (Aliza Green's books, for example.)
Also, it's got some interesting images (like the one of the Mandeville-esque family of carrots out for a stroll), but doesn't note the sources, only the rights-holding image service. ...more
If this is the same Betty aka Elizabeth Wason who was a war correspondent, of course it's a moral imperative to read this. Especially since I love cheIf this is the same Betty aka Elizabeth Wason who was a war correspondent, of course it's a moral imperative to read this. Especially since I love cheese. Sadly, my library's copy seems to be missing....more
Dates approximate. I saw this in a HPB and got curious, because apparently it had lots of weird 50s experimental recipes. Checked it out from the librDates approximate. I saw this in a HPB and got curious, because apparently it had lots of weird 50s experimental recipes. Checked it out from the library. IIRC, it did have a couple....more