Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Eating with Junot Diaz

Our book club read "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" by Junot Diaz. The authors name should be Junot dazzling because the book is itself - wondrous. Diaz writes without a care about his audience - I had the feeling he writes entirely for his own pleasure and writes exactly as a educated, erudite, hip DR would speak. I was consulting Wikipedia for much of the reading translating the Spanglish and the many literary and gaming references - sci fi, D&D and other genres...like Japanese comic books. About halfway through the book and after 50 translations or so, I began to realize that DR Spanish relates to regular Spanish like Australian English compares to our English. The DR's use a lot of baby talk, for lack of a better word, like the Aussies, with their shortened words and plethora of diminutives. The book is joyous to read for a word person and a puzzler.

So what to eat during the discussion? I settled on Jerked Chicken Wings because I think poor Oscar might have liked them. I'm using Lawry's marinade on Chicken drumettes so they are appetizer- sized and easy to handle for the group to eat and for me to tranport. There's black bean soup on the menu as well...I'm using Bush's black beans as they are a favorite of mine after visiting with their R & D gang and doing a flavor school for them. For dessert I made little sorbets - a combination of coconut and mango. A tiny treat for the finale. I'm hoping somebody will bring Mojitos or something like that.

This book made almost no mention of food other than placing some action in the Chinese restaurant and the bakery La Inca operated; in fact there are so few food references that I wonder if Junot cares at all about what he eats. The sci fi types seem always to hold out hope that some day we will all be sucking down soylent green or some other nutritious goo out of a tap on the wall. Functional food- and that would be that. I remember at DisneyLand in Tomorrow Land, the kitchen of tomorrow, circa 1969 was organized around serving mostly straight nutrition. Ha, nothing could be farther from the reality we have today where we can get almost anything to eat here right in Fallbrook and also in such unlikely places as Pierre South Dakota - mangoes, crepe mix, vichysoisse, avocados.