Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Latin American Food and Marquez Feast

The photo above does small justice to the array of foods that my dear friend and caregiver to Sophie, Saint Mirtha, made for my inaugural Books & Bakes literary and food salon. Here she is preparing the empanadas, corn tortillas tinged red with paprika, stuffed with beef and potatoes and spices, then fried until crisp:

There were also Colombian arepas, pico de gallo, a brothy, beef soup called estofado de carne, a coconut chicken dish (pollo en salsa de coco), and beans (frijoles rojos Colombianos). We drank margaritas, Chilean white and red wine and finished with a Chocolate Red Wine cake -- a recipe that inspired me to pick Strange Pilgrims by Gabriel Garcia Marquez as my first Books & Bakes discussion. If you've never visited Cara Nicoletti's blog Yummy Books, please do. She's a young kick-ass butcher, writer and cook with what looks to be an amazing book coming out next summer.

Marquez' book of short stories, Strange Pilgrims, inspired a great discussion. The people who attended were really engaged, and whether they liked the book or not, had so many interesting thoughts and reactions. We all marveled over the language of the short stories, the humor in them, and above all, the seamless way Marquez moved from tight and journalistic prose into the flights of imagination that mark his mastery of magical realism. I learned so much from others' commentary and believe I managed to facilitate the discussion quite well. I have a second group of people coming in two weeks, and then Books & Bakes is on to another book, The Book of Salt by Monique Truong.*

* I have some open spots for February 13th or 27th, so if you're in the area and are interested, please email me to reserve one at elsophieATgmailDOTcom.


  1. I AM going to make it to one of your salons! It sounds divine.

  2. Empanadas! How I love them. Bravo. It sounds like the event was hugely successful. xo

  3. If I could wrangle up a plane ticket I would come! Oh, and a passport. I could sleep with Valentine.

  4. I too want to attend such a resplendent gathering. And that cake!

  5. It was hard to focus after "Red Wine Cake..." Yummmmmmmm... okay, I'm drifting off again ;)

    Looks like success (and I'm sure it tasted like it too!!)

  6. To be honest I would be too intimidated to open my mouth I think. I read endlessly but feel rather than talk about the books I read. I'm hoping I would eventually have the balls to voice my opinion but I am very shy still at my advanced age:)

    All that being said, I would love to come, to sit quietly, sip on a glass of wine and just enjoy everyone talking about books. I shall have to take a look at " The Book of Salt".

  7. I love it! Food for the belly and for the soul. So glad the first one was such a smashing success. Can't wait to hear about the next one.

  8. Looking forward to the 23rd. Can I entice you to hold one in Nor Cal. You can use my house.

  9. Oh my LORD I wish I could go.

    I'd be worried about sounding foolish, though.



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