books I read in march

Books: Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook by Alice Waters, Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold, and The Snow Fox by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer

Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook- I’m still reading this book. At first, I was put off by a lot of the ingredients while skimming through the recipes (squab, duck fat, truffle, champagne, parsley, chervil) and the heavy French influence. Silly/bad joke: You know you’re eating French food when it tastes like butter and garlic. A lot of the recipes seem rather labor intensive or the ingredients hard to procure on a limited budget. Definitely not for casual weeknight consumption. I know, what was I thinking, these are recipes from a restaurant, not from Cooking Light or Rachel Ray. I took a second stab at the book this morning after my walk and liked it just for the sheer pleasure of reading recipes. I’ve found a couple recipes I’d like to try on weekends. I’m also curious as to what truffles taste like.

Memory- I found out later that this was not the best introductory book to read for the Miles Vorkosigan series. Still, I liked it. It was very introspective but still entertaining. The political hobnobbing and status games annoyed me a little, but I suppose its to be expected. The writing was good but not up to the level of Curse of Chalion, which was more literary. I’d like to try another Miles book. Maybe next time I’ll try Cordelia’s Honor or Komarr.

The Snow Fox- I loved the style of writing in this book which reminded me of The Tale of Genji. I also liked the characterization of the three main characters and their relationship to one another. The characters were realistically drawn, but mythic at the same time. I think Lady Utsu, Matsuhito, and Lord Norimasa had very modern ideas and personalities, but they didn’t come across as anachronisms. They remained rooted in the customs and traditions of their time. I also liked Lady Utsu’s poems.

The pampas grasses wave like banners
What makes the grass so strong?
Does its strength come from the soldiers
Buried deep beneath the roots?

I’m certainly no judge of poetry, but I liked the strong feelings and simplicity of the poems.

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