Monday, November 15, 2010

First meeting...Pigs in Heaven

We had our first book club meeting today....about "pigs in heaven." We had an assortment of snacks (I have to mention the food of course): sweet and sour meatballs, fresh pumpkin bread, chocolate, cheese and crackers and wine which we couldn't open because I don't own one of the corky-opener things! So we drank chai tea which was really good!

Anyway, I enjoyed the book and it definitely brought of up alot of questions. Couple of fun quotes from the book:
"Sex will get you through times with no money and money will get you through times with no sex." "'s the one job where the better you are, the more surely you won't be needed in the long run."

Here is a little quote from spark notes explaining the name of the book:
"This name comes from a story about six little boys who never wanted to do any chores. Their mothers became so fed up that they boiled the balls the boys played with and served it to them to eat. The boys got angry, and ran out to the ball field, where the spirits took them up the sky, and they stayed as the six stars. The "pigs in heaven" serve as a reminder to human beings to do well by their people. They also remind parents to always forgive their children. When the six boys went to the sky, the mothers mourned their loss. The constellation therefore symbolizes all the children who have been lost."

The book is about this women who adopted a Cherokee baby who was just dropped in her car one day. The three year old girl, named Turtle, was severely abused physically and sexually. Three years later, a Cherokee lawyer starts questioning the adoption and stating that children are not allowed to be adopted outside the tribe unless given permission.  The book brought up alot of questions, mostly centered around the Native American aspect of tribes and tribal sovereignty. These tribes have been through so much destruction and had their families ripped apart through history, forcing them to become "white" "Christian" etc. In effort to preserve their culture and nations they have made legislation exactly like the one addressed in the book. The tribe has to decide whether to take the child away from it's adopted mother for the sake of the tribe.

Some of the questions discussed:
Should the good of the tribe or community come before the what is best for the child?
What is best for the little girl?
What did you think of Annawake?
How does Barbie fit in the story?
The women in the story are very independent, but too much so that they can't have a healthy relationship?

There is alot to discuss in this book and it made me upset at times because I felt defensive of the little girl. I would've done what Taylor did and ran away if felt someone threatening to take my child. This poor little girl had been through enough and she didn't need to be torn away from the only stable life she knew. But then, she does need to know where she came from and why she is different and be connected to her culture. The ideal of the Native community is so wonderful even though the reality isn't always that way. There is something very different about the Native nations because they are not immigrants, wanting to to be melded and integrated into our society. They are desperately trying to preserve their nation, culture and community in the country that was taken away from them.

So, what did you think? What were your likes and dislikes about the book? Did you agree or disagree with either side?

And....our next book (drum roll) is JANE AUSTEN'S EMMA!!! Can you tell I'm excited? We are totally going to have a themed meeting with tea, china, sandwiches and maybe even British accents!

Because of the holidays we aren't meeting again until Jan 7th. Happy reading!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

First Food Challenge!

So...the other day I was talking to my sister and cousin about Thai food and realized I haven't really tried much if any. So we all decided to go to the Thai restaurant and try some different dishes. We had some wonderful fried rice with seafood, pork, and beef, some Pad Thai and some green curry. It was all very good and inspired me to try some on my own!

So I found this recipe on the Food Network (inspiration for alot of my cooking) for Kuay Tiaw Pad Thai:

I hope you will try it out with me and report back how you liked it, what you did different etc.

Can't wait to eat it!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Book List

So this is the list of books we decided on:

Pigs in Heaven ...................................Barabara Kingsolver 

The Catcher in the Rye......................J.D. Salinger
The Red Tent.....................................Anita Diamant
The Girl who Fell from the Sky.............Heidi Durrow
Crime and Punishment........................Fyodor Dostoevsky
She Walks in Beauty...........................Siri Mitchell
Alice in Wonderland/ through the Looking Glass.....................Lewis Carroll
The Secret Holocaust Diaries....................Nonna Bannister
Eva Luna..............................................Isabel Allende
Emma................................................Jane Austen
Midnight's Children...............................Salmon Rushdie
The River Why....................................David James Duncan

I would love to have some of you read them with me and contribute your comments on the blog, my "online book club"! 

The beginning

It's finally happening! I have been wanting to join/start a book club for a while now. More so after watching "The Jane Austen Book club"...if you haven't seen it, rent it immediately! One of my girlfriends decided to start one and invited me to join. We had our first planning meeting and decided on a compilation of mostly fiction, mostly classics. Our goal is to broaden our book choices to things that are not necessarily easy reads, but of course a good story with alot of substance. We are however avoiding theological, commentary type books.

My idea to start this blog is two fold: expanding my horizons in the kitchen as well as in literary pursuits and being able to get feedback and discussion from anyone who wants to try it out with me. If you are interested in one and not the other, you are welcome to participate in some and not all.

My book club is meeting once a month and we are trying to include some kind of theme to go along with the book. i.e Jane Austen: have a tea, scones, cucumber sandwiches. Should get pretty interesting depending on the book!

For the food part of it, I'd like to try new recipes about once a week. I am trying things I wouldn't normally make or the same thing with a twist. We'd try it together and report back on how it turned out, how it was received by our families and what tweaks we made to it. we go: our first book is "Pigs in Heaven" by Barbara Kingsolver. Our first meeting is on Nov 12th. We gave ourselves a shorter time for this one because we wanted to finish before Thanksgiving.

I'd like to start with a post on how I started my love of books and my journey so far in the kitchen. Please share your own story and little bit about yourself!

I'll start with the cooking journey because it's short and sweet. Growing up as third of 11 kids means you have alot of responsibility. But it also meant that since I had sisters who loved to cook, I didn't have to do it very much. I learned the basics, and mostly did baking if I was in the kitchen. In general, I was doing outdoor chores or doing stuff with computers/electronics....or reading:-) But now that I'm a stay-at-home mom with two kids, cooking is kinda a necessity. I found myself gravitating towards the same old faithfuls and my palate is getting bored!

Now books....that's a whole different story. I grew up mostly without television, home-schooled so reading was my primary source of entertainment. I can't remember not knowing how to read.  I learned around the age of 4 1/2, I think, and it opened up a huge world to me. I could go anywhere, do anything in my books and imagination. I would read a book, then make up my own little version with me in it. I remember reading my first Janette Oke book around maybe 7 or 8? I've always been a very fast reader and have often wished books would last longer. I always bring too many books with me on a trip now because I never want to run out. I remember flying to CA and only brought two books. I read one on the first 2 hour flight and the other on the next. I was stuck the rest of the trip with nothing to read...horrors!

I read a variety of books, mystery, Christian fiction, and classics. I love Jane Austen and like to collect older antique books. I am really looking forward to challenging myself and reading all the classics that I haven't gotten to yet!

I don't think there are many things better than a good book and tasty food. One of my fondest memories when I was a kid was making the perfect tuna sandwich, with toasted bread of course, a side of pickle and chips and a tall glass a milk. I'd take it out to the trampoline with my favorite book Silver Birch and read in the sun in absolute bliss!

Can't wait to start reading!