Tag Archives: cooking

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver, Part II

Barbara Kingsolver ranks high on my list of authors with whom I would love to have a lengthy chat (along with Diana Abu Jaber and Khaled Hosseini). Besides the fact that I admire her literary artistry, I am intrigued by Kingsolver’s spiritual and religious views. I tend, for example, to think Nathan Price in The Poisonwood Bible so deranged that Kingsolver could not have intended anyone to take him seriously as representative of evangelical missionaries. … But does this character suggest Kingsolver perceives missionaries or evangelicals generally in a negative light?

In Animal, Vegetable, Miracle Kingsolver frequently references her rural childhood and observes that many of the small farmers she writes about are probably church-goers (though she mentions appreciatively that they keep their religion to themselves) (204-05). I assume Kingsolver, having grown up in such an environment herself, had a fair amount of exposure to Christian spirituality, if not from her family, at least from her neighbors. Regardless, she is now an evangelist for evolution, with a graduate degree in evolutionary biology. Continue reading

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Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver, Part I

Barbara Kingsolver is #74 on the list of America’s most dangerous people, according to the author of a recent well-publicized book cited in Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (p. 236). I’m not sure how Kingsolver earned her stripes in that author’s opinion, but I would agree that her linguistic artistry, self-deprecating humor, and winsome enthusiasm for her cause impart a formidable ability to win converts to just about any position.Well, maybe not any. Actually, I was already in at least theoretical sympathy with Kingsolver’s commitment to local, organic food, so I didn’t need much convincing, but Kingsolver’s treatise broadened my understanding and deepened my convictions. (I just bought some bean and pepper plants for a nascent garden on the balcony of our condominium. So I’m a little late getting started … at least I’ll get a feel for container gardening.)

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The Tassajara Bread Book, by Edward Espe Brown

The members of the linguistics department where my husband is pursuing his master’s degree are the most social bunch of academics I’ve ever encountered–not that I mind. Families are always welcome, and I have developed my own friends among the students and spouses. Besides that, there’s the great food…and the bread. At nearly every social and pot luck, a fresh loaf of heavenly homemade bread appears, courtesy of B’s adviser. As a bread lover and inveterate bread machine baker myself, I began to quiz E on his baking secrets.

E quickly directed me to The Tassajara Bread Book, which issues from a Buddhist monastery in San Francisco that he himself had visited while residing in the area a couple of decades ago. I obtained the 25th Anniversary Edition from the library and intend to purchase my own copy as soon as I have exhausted my renewals. This edition was published in 1995 and includes a note in the back from Ed Brown, along with a few additional recipes. Continue reading

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Crescent and The Language of Baklava

How are prayer, poetry, and food preparation related? Sufism, Arabic literature, and the culinary arts all contribute to the backdrop of Diana Abu-Jaber’s multifaceted second novel. As I was drawn into Abu-Jaber’s masterfully crafted world, I found myself increasingly aware of the art in the everyday circumstances of life. Continue reading

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