Thursday, November 11, 2010

Book Club Meeting November

Here's to the book club
The beautiful table
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand was enjoyed by all. A very convivial pre-meeting mingle in Rox's warm and hospitable kitchen was a welcome and too-short respite from the slings and arrows of the real world. As people arrived, dishes of delectables in hand, the kitchen island filled up with plates, wine glasses were filled and as usual, the talk ranged on subjects far and wide. Beth D's arrival was particularly special as she hasn't been able to make the book club for quite some time.

Now straight to the food: The appetizer was a plate of melon wrapped with prosciutto. In an homage to the book, Beth D. brought Steak and Kidney Pie and she made the mints that Major Pettigrew liked to nibble while hunting. Both were excellent and she made a few converts to the idea of kidneys for consumption instead of limiting one's admiration to their function only. A hearty lasagna was composed of vegetables from Lori's garden, the last remnants of summer - and two delicious salads were enjoyed, one which incorporated wonderful, juicy pears from Barb's garden along with chunks of plum. We also had butternut squash wontons with a walnut and brown butter sauce.  Without any advance planning and quite by accident, these meals always turn out interesting and satisfying.  A Sauvignon Blanc, perfectly chilled, from the Fallbrook winery was excellent, perfect with the repast.

Steak & kidney pie
Back to the book: Beth opened the discussion with the declaration that despite the satire, the novel was essentially a love story - the story of the Major and Mrs. Ali, a cultured Pakistani woman who runs the shop in the town.  All agreed that the book is a comedy of manners and a light hearted study in contrasts - between old and new manners, the changes planned for the new village versus the old, the differences in generations standard of behavior, difference in manners young versus old, American versus English and the cultural/religious differences of Muslims and Christians. Most appropriately for a book club choice, a love of literature threaded through the book; Mrs. Ali and the Major fall in love reading Kipling to each other.

When Mrs. Ali and the Major consummate their relationship the author tastefully leaves them in each other's arms and "the morning after" unfolds in the next chapter. Several expressed relief that "Sex Over
Sixty" was not explored explicitly.

I read this book on Kindle for Mac; Beth D. brought her new IPad and showed us some of the features.  Beth C. also is now the proud owner of an electronic reader - the Kindle, which is her Christmas present. Many of us who thought we wouldn't like electronic reading are gradually gaining interest.

Eating, drinking, discussion
Next month's book is yet to be determined. Barb is choosing between three. We decided to change our  meeting dates to the the first Wednesday of the month beginning in January as both Beth's find that time more convenient and the rest of us have no preference.  Going forward the group will meet at member's houses on a rotating basis, Roxanne doing double duty for both November and December.

Our two founders were sorely missed.
Rox, hostess with mostest

Vegetable lasagna

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