Reader's Link - February 2009 Staff Picks Archive

Friends in the Kitchen

M.F.K. Fisher and Me: A memoir of Food and Friendship

Title: M.F.K. Fisher and Me: A memoir of Food and Friendship
By: Jeannette Ferrary

If only it were my kitchen! I would prove to both Jeannette and Mary Frances that when I scramble eggs, or sear a pork chop, it was their advice that helped me make them turn out so "right." What serendipity! Jeannette is a cookbook writer and writes M.F.K. a fan letter and darned if M.F.K. doesn't write her back! Jeannette visits Mary Frances in Napa in her very own kitchen and through Jeanette's observations, we learn so much about Mary Frances' lifestyle. The easy chatty writing style is interspersed with biographical notes of this important icon who wrote "The Gastronomical Me" and "How To Cook A Wolf." Really adds to one's collection of cookbooks!

View similarly tagged posts: non-fiction,history,biography
Posted on Feb. 26, 2009 at 1 a.m.

Correspondence from the German Occupation

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Title: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
By: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Upon a strong recommendation and kind provision of the book, I started to embark on the reading of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. However I had a slow start. For some reason, I was deterred by its format consisting of letters or correspondence between the protagonist Juliet Ashton, and various other characters in and outside the Society. The format itself is a little distracting, and one does have to keep track of who is who.

After a dozen of the letters, which formed a preliminary character network, I began to grow fond of the book. My husband and I happened to watch Enemy at the door, a 1977 TV series on the German occupation of Guernsey, Channel Islands in World War II. Typical stories and social issues then are again faithfully reflected in the book, such as Jerrybags, Todt slave/prisoner workers, curfew, food scarcity, etc. To keep such local flavor intact is one of the beauties of the book.

The book has also explored the single-minded thirst of the Society members to pursue rich knowledge and literature during the bleak time period of German occupation. Through Juliet's researching in London, the authors have cleverly introduced both the origin and history of Guernsey, and the formation of simple but unique characteristics of Guernsey islanders.

A final point about the book is that Mary Ann Shaffer, one of the two authors, worked in many professions, and one of them is being a librarian. She has succeeded in demystifying the myth that librarians only read and cannot write.

View similarly tagged posts: fiction,history
Posted on Feb. 17, 2009 at 2:27 a.m.

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