Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Definition of Lacuna: A gap.

First let it be said that I am absolute rubbish when it comes to being able to make tortillas. The night that our book club was due to discuss Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver, I gave it my best shot. I borrowed a friend’s tortilla press, listened to how she said she made them, bought the masa harina, and downloaded a recipe. Good to go, I would have thought. Not

In my first attempt, I ended up with a crumbling mess. Another version resulted in sticky slabs that fell apart when I tried to get them to a pan. After three tries,  I gave up, took the mess of corn meal gorp, added a whack of beaten eggs to it, fried it up, and called them tortilla-pancake dippers. They worked. After a fashion.

Now, you might wonder why on earth I would even bother to try to make tortillas. It was because of my book club. There is a bakers’ dozen of us who meet once a month, and we not only report on our chosen book, but we also feast. I mean – we REALLY feast and the food is chosen to go with either the locale or the theme of the book.

Here we are - too wide for the box of this blog format - but that's us.
Photo Credit: Kerith Perreur-Lloyd

Obviously, some books present a real challenge. For example, consider the culinary dilemma of cooking food to go with Trainspotting by the Scottish author Irving Welsh. That wasn’t the only book that threw curve balls at us. I still cringe when I think of the dark humour surrounding the shish kebabs that were served the night we talked about The Bridge on the Drina by Ivo Andrić. Usually, the food-book convergence is not that challenging, let alone disgusting, and the good thing about it is that we stray into culinary territory that we would not have entered without the nudge.

Fortunately, the night we gathered to discuss and appreciate Barbara Kingsolver’s Lacuna, my chilli-lime chicken wings turned out just fine, better than my tortillas. Not that they were memorable. The most memorable piece de resistance, in spite of Chris's Jamie Oliver Mexican Street Salad being in contention - along with Sarah & Kerith's stunning salad and Colleen's amazingly arranged appies,was the chocolate cinnamon cream pie done by Rosemary. 

We all bow down in front of Rosemary. She is the only one of us in this book club to win Canada-wide notice in Ian Brown’s series in the Globe and Mail on where to eat in Canada. 

Here is what I think of most often when I imagine a Canadian meal: lunch with Bill and Rosemary Terry on the patio of their seaside home in Sechelt, a seaplane's hop up the coast from Vancouver.

Poor Ian, he only had the one experience of Rosemary’s cuisine.

Not that I want you to think that we didn’t actually talk about the book – even after copious amounts of Patron Gold Tequila. We did, but I would be lying if I said that I could remember the specific insights better than I remember the pie, many of which were no doubt worthy. Maybe I should blame the tequila. Maybe I should blame the pie.

Fortifications for intellectual discourse.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm...do you think it's the tequila talking when we think we're making astute observations? I'm just taking a stab in the dark here...