Thursday, May 6, 2010

The post I was going to post on Tuesday...

but didn't is now here!  I just didn't feel like blogging the last two days.  I sometimes wonder if I'm the only one who reads this!  And while it's a great tracking device for me, I sometimes just don't want to sit down and do it.  But I got all caught up today so here goes!

Well, I know when to admit defeat and I've been defeated by a book. I mentioned last time I needed to finish Wild at Heart by John Eldridge. Well...I took it back to the library on Tuesday, having never finished it. I renewed it once and it was over due when I took it in and in that time period I never picked it back up again. I had less than 100 pages to go but for some reason I just couldn't do it anymore. I think the book was good. I'm not sure I agreed with it 100% but trying to read non-fiction when I can get my hands on a fiction (and in my opinion, usually a much better (easier) read) then I'll pick the fiction every time. So - while I put it on my list as having read it...I did not finish it.

And the book that pulled me away from Wild at Heart? The Color Purple by Alice Walker. This is another one of those books that I've read over and over and over again. I think the first time I read it was in middle school - I was probably 13 or so and totally didn't get it. Now, I get it and I love it (well, I've always loved it). The story covers a woman who as a young girl has two children by her father (who gives them away) and is then given "for marriage" to a man who abuses her because she isn't the woman he really loves. The book quickly covers decades of time as Celie's life changes little by little - some truths come out and she learns more about her and her family.

An excellent read, this was turned into a movie in the mid-80s starring Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Margaret Avery, Oprah Winfrey and Willard Pugh. I'm not one to watch movies after reading books so I've never seen this movie and probably never will. I'd recommended this book to anyone though and if you can only catch it in movie version, please do - it's an excellent story.

After I finished The Color Purple I actually picked up another non-fiction book. Based on the blog posts of many others who are Booking It, I decided to pick up The Sharper the Knife, the Less you Cry by Kathleen Flinn. As a closet foodie who loves spending time in the kitchen and who is married to a man who wants to some day own his own restaurant - this was an awesome book to read!

I'm 32 and still don't know "what I want to be when I grow up" and reading about Kathleen taking the plunge to attend Le Cordon Bleu in her mid-30's made me feel better about it all. And the fact that she was able to follow her dreams gives me great hope for myself (and for my husband and his future kitchen). A personal look into the challenges of attending a world renown cooking school and living in Paris made this book easy to read and I often times forgot that it was real...this had really happened to Kathleen and wasn't just fiction put onto a character. I loved how the book covered the school side of things as well as Paris and her personal life and friends.

As I've shared before, one of my favorite parts of a book is where you find out why the book is named what it is. In this book, I found my answer on page 47. Kathleen is in an early basic cuisine class and Chef Savard is dicing onions in a way that they've been told to not cut onions. Another student points this out...that they were told to not cut that way and so the chef tells the class (through a translator), "...with a dull knife, it's true, you end up pressing too hard on the onion. This crushes the cells, causing volatile oils from the onion to be released, and it's the oil that makes you cry." As Chef Savard continues to explain the issue, Anne continues to translate, "But with a very sharp knife... You do not have to push so hard with your knife, and that way less oil releases." The chef finishes the mini lesson by saying, in English, "So the sharper your knife, the less you cry."

One other part that really hit home for me happened towards the end of the book, when Kathleen, Jenny and Margo (the class perfectionist who pushes herself entirely too hard) are sharing a bottle of champagne and a plate of frites and talk about their final exam for graduation. Margo has spent the whole semester pushing herself (and in turn pushing away others and causing them to be short ingredients because she hoards them in case of a mistake) and realized she'd been taking everything too seriously. She had practiced her wine-reduction sauce three times the day before final and burnt it twice and she was so upset with herself... Finally though something clicked, "When I came in today, I decided to forget the burned sauces. I would just do my best because really, that's all I can do. ... Everyone learns something different at Le Cordon Bleu, and maybe this is my lesson."

Huh... Everyone learns a different lesson. These people had all gone through the same class, the same recipes, the same chefs and had all learned something different. As goes life - we all go through life and learn something different.

If you enjoy an easy read and have any interest in food or cooking, this would be a great read. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to another book from a Booking It blogger's list to start! On the recommendation of another blogger I have The Reserve by Russell Banks in my hands and am starting it as soon as I finish this post! Hope it's a good one!


  1. I understand about wondering if anyone reads the blog - I feel the same way about mine! But it's good writing practice and keeps my college degree from getting too rusty (hopefully!). Great book review (I'm visiting from Life as MOM) and I really think I want to add the Knife book to my summer beach reading list. Thanks so much for taking the time to write out your review and post it! Maybe someday we'll all find out what we want to be when we grow up! Blessings!

  2. I followed the link from Life as MOM so you know at least two people have read this post. I love seeing what everyone else reading. Thanks for your reviews.

  3. Count me as number three! ;) I wonder the same thing myself.

    LOVED hearing your thoughts on The Sharper Your Knife! We may all end up reading the same books anyway. LOL. Everyone does learn a different lesson, though. So, it will be interesting to see what we all get out of each book. I liked the part about "living is like driving." You gotta pick a lane.