Book Club: The Tea House on Mulberry Street

That's dinner last night...slowly simmered pasta sauce. Although unfortunately I had to eat it (and take the picture) before it had been slowly simmered for very long...I had book club. That's why leftovers are nice...you can keep simmering, long after you've eaten.

Besides, I like to begin with a picture...that way you don't just see a bunch of words and go running away never to return.

I enjoy being involved in things other than science - obviously those having to do with food top the list - and lucky for me, the third week of every month happens to be a few food-oriented days all in a row. First, there's Supper Club on the third Saturday of every month, which is then followed by Book Club on the following Monday. This makes for an exciting few days for me where I get to cook my little heart out and enjoy the company of good friends and good food.

This is the fifth meeting for our Food 4 Thought Book Club (how
cute is our name?). We choose a book, have a month to read it, and then get together for a potluck-of-sorts at the host's house (or another fine establishment) with the theme of the book in mind concoct mouth-watering dishes to bring. We've done tapas, Native American food, Iranian food, and Hawaiian dishes. I must admit, however, that although we do use book club as a forum to talk about literature and read more (we're all grad students in science), it's mostly a night for hanging out with the 'girls,' eating delicious food, and drinking copious quantities of wine. :)

This month our book was "The Tea House on Mulberry Street," by Sharon Owens. It's about a tea house in Ireland and details the intertwining of the lives of the people that own the tea house, their friends, and regular customers. It was a decent summer (ie. light-reading) book, and a cute story that ended with every situation ending like a fairy tale. The writing was not as richly descriptive about the food involved, as I had hoped, based on the reviews. We decided to meet at my favorite coffee shop/tea house/wine bar, Perugino, instead of at the host's house this month since the book was centered around a tea house.

One thing we do is read passages in the book that we liked, laughed at, or identified with, and my friend B. read one that I wanted to share with you:

"...Now, every cell in body relaxed as the hot creamy coffee caressed her lips...Sadie's dainty lips opened and closed quickly. The cherry cheesecake melted on her tongue and filled her hollow self with culinary joy. She closed her eyes with pleasure when she swallowed the last spoonful, and then heaved a sigh of relief. Her sense of physical satisfaction was absolute..."

Reads almost like erotica for foodies! As lovely as our time at Perugino's was (I had a glass - or maybe two - of 2003 Dolcetto D'Alba from Podere Ruggeri Corsini, which I had never heard
of, but went down really easily), I was sort of sad that we didn't cook this time. Especially because there was a delightfully seductive recipe for cherry cheesecake, featured often throughout the book, on the last few pages. I have decided that I simply must try and make it at home in honor of the book (no recipe left untried)

...however, I'm too busy, unfortunately to be cooking much except for quick dishes this week: pasta with tomato sauce, herb-encrusted salmon over greens, and tonight grape-glazed chicken palliards (I'll take pictures tonight and get some more recipes up soon, I promise). These are all dishes that are more a product of needing to use up CSA veggies that weren't in tip top shape or were bursting with ripeness when we got them than any culinary prowess that I'd like to share with you. So, I thought I would just leave you with a picture of the long, romantic lunch Loving Boyfriend suggested we have today since the bosses are out of town:

...a grilled baguette with warm tomato slices, topped with tangy, creamy, imported brie that was seared and melting over the whole thing, with just a dollop of pesto to round out the flavors. Mmmmm....I think I'm in love...with you too, Loving Boyfriend, not just the sandwich. Whoever said "the way to man's heart, is through his stomach" didn't know there were all these foodie women out there in the world!

4 comments from you:

vlb5757 said...

Michele, did you see that I made your Yellow Squash Ribbons recipe and posted on my blog? It was FABULOUS! My husband cracked me up when I told him that we couldn't eat because we had to take pictures. He humored me and my food was cold as a stone when I finally got to eat it. Good though! How about making the same recipe with Zucchini?

I was doing the "happy dance" after reading about the Tea House book just now. I am so excited that I get a link on your page. I think your blog is great and I come it every morning while I have my Chocolate flavored Oolong tea. Keep 'em coming!

vlb5757 said...

Opps! I just realized that I misspelled your first name. Drives me nuts when everyone leaves my E off. Sorry about the 2nd L. I am just so excited to get the link!!

michelle said...

Hi Vicki!
I just wrote you at your blog, but as a PS: don't worry about mispelling my name. Even people who know me do it!

Have a good day!

michelle said...

hi vicki -
i just realized i didn't answer your question! yes, you could use zucchini, or a mixture of both. it would make it more colorful, which would be nice. we somehow don't end up with both at the same time very often though!

i definitely want to know where you get your yummy sounding tea!