The Forme of Cury

bookshelves: currently-reading, published-1390, summer-2014, skim-through, food-glorious-food, medieval5c-16c

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: FutureLearn

 

Description: A number of medieval collections of recipes survive. The best known of these in English is The Forme of Cury; ‘Cury’ here comes from the French ‘cuire’ – to cook, and simply means ‘cookery’. Several medieval manuscript versions survive.

John Rylands Library

Project Gutenberg

LOL I don’t have the patience for this!

Gretel and the Dark by Eliza Granville

bookshelves: currently-reading, vienna, victorian, gothic, e-book, net-galley, newtome-author, fantasy, anti-semitic, eugenics, historical-fiction, cults-societies-brotherhoods, austria, eye-scorcher, witches-and-wizards, superstitions, published-2014, psychology, lifestyles-deathstyles, gardening, food-glorious-food, doo-lally, cover-love, adventure, a-questing-we-shall-go, austro-hungarian-empire

Read from July 10 to 13, 2014


** spoiler alert **

**WARNING: there are spoilers galore in the reviews of this book, so don’t check down through the community book page.**

Description: Gretel and the Dark is Eliza Granville’s dazzling novel of darkness, evil – and hope. Vienna, 1899.

Josef Breuer – celebrated psychoanalyst – is about to encounter his strangest case yet. Found by the lunatic asylum, thin, head shaved, she claims to have no name, no feelings – to be, in fact, not even human. Intrigued, Breuer determines to fathom the roots of her disturbance.

Years later, in Germany, we meet Krysta. Krysta’s Papa is busy working in the infirmary with the ‘animal people’, so little Krysta plays alone, lost in the stories of Hansel and Gretel, the Pied Piper, and more. And when everything changes and the real world around her becomes as frightening as any fairy tale, Krysta finds that her imagination holds powers beyond what she could have ever guessed . . .

Eliza Granville was born in Worcestershire and currently lives in Bath. She has had a life-long fascination with the enduring quality of fairytales and their symbolism, and the idea for Gretel and the Dark was sparked when she became interested in the emphasis placed on these stories during the Third Reich. Gretel and the Dark is her first novel to be published by a major publisher.

This as change of pace from the huge and delicious dip-in/dip-out read of Der Turm: Geschichte aus einem versunkenen Land

Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a young adult read. The main narrative is from the point of view of a young girl who doesn’t quite catch the meaning of all that happens around her, yet you the reader will discern straight away just what is unfolding if you remember your history of the time and the place.

Karl Lueger: The populist and anti-Semitic politics of his Christian Social Party are sometimes viewed as a model for Hitler’s Nazism.

Turn of the century Vienna is a time of blossoming psycho-analysis, uprise in anti-semitism, a rumbling of discontent with the emperor Franz Joseph, and the poor are becoming poorer. This is the backdrop to ‘Gretel and the Dark’, where the deeds are dark, superstitions run rife and most important, the writing superb.

Lambach Abbey: In 1897/98 Adolf Hitler lived in the town of Lambach with his parents. It is often claimed that he attended the secular Volksschule at which Benedictine teachers were employed, but also that he attended the monastery school, where each day he saw swastikas among the carved stones and woodwork, which included the symbol.

Just as Oskar in The Tin Drum is one step removed from the events, so here with Krysta, and her real thoughts sometimes are only revealed when she is conversing to her doll. This is clear at the death of her father where she vocally tells everyone that papa is not dead, then she whispers a query to her doll about what are they going to do now.

Just a smidgeon short of five hitlers

An aside: on NetGALLEY(™) you get a chance to vote whether you do or don’t like the cover. I liked it!

Professor Andersen’s Night by Dag Solstad

bookshelves: one-penny-wonder, paper-read, hardback, midlife-crisis, shortstory-shortstories-novellas, norway, spring-2013, bellybutton-mining, re-visit-2014, re-read, published-1996, spring-2014, under-500-ratings, oslo, trondheim, newtome-author, feckless-procrastination, food-glorious-food, lit-crit, politics, philosophy

Read from April 26, 2013 to May 06, 2014


First time around I abandoned this but I have been persuaded to give it another try: REBOOT 2014:

Description: An existential murder story. A master of Norwegian literature critiques contemporary society with wry wit.

It is Christmas Eve, and 55-year-old Professor Pål Andersen is alone, drinking coffee and cognac in his living room. Lost in thought, he looks out of the window and sees a man strangle a woman in the apartment across the street.

Professor Andersen fails to report the crime. The days pass, and he becomes paralysed by indecision. Desperate for respite, the professor sets off to a local sushi bar, only to find himself face to face with the murderer.

Professor Andersen’s Night is an unsettling yet highly entertaining novel of apathy, rebellion and morality. In flinty prose, Solstad presents an uncomfortable question: would we, like his cerebral protagonist, do nothing?

Discarded from Tower Hamlets Libraries
Translation by Agnes Scott Langeland

Opening: It was Christmas Eve and Professor Andersen had a Christmas tree in the living room. He stared at it. ‘Well, I must say,’ he thought.

Trondheim Cathedral

A wooly, waffley story of three parts: politics and dinner; dither and literary criticism; then sushi with philosophy for dessert.

At least I made it to the end this time, however I do feel that Solstad is not the writer for me.

The Land Where Lemons Grow by Helena Atlee

bookshelves: spring-2014, nonfiction, published-2013, radio-4, travel, italy, history, newtome-author, food-glorious-food

Read from April 22 to 25, 2014


BOTW

Description: A celebration of the Italian love affair with citrus fruit.

Mixing travel writing, history and horticulture, author Helena Attlee sets out to meet Italy’s dedicated gardeners and farmers – whose passion for their life’s work is as intoxicating as the sweet scent of zagara (citrus blossom).

Episode 1: The elaborate naming systems of Renaissance botanists for the myriad varieties of citrus; and a journey to the Gulf of Naples to experience the mild yet intensely flavoured juice of the Amalfi lemon.

Episode 2: Scicily, the mafia, and blood oranges. Citrus first arrived on the island in the ninth century, brought by the Arabs whose sophisticated irrigation systems made it viable there as a crop. The island is still renowned for the quality of its fruit, particularly the arancia rossa, the blood orange, hailed as the ‘prince among oranges’, which is grown in the shadow of Mount Etna.

Episode 3: The extraordinary story of the Lake Garda lemon. In spite of the coolness of its northern latitude, Lake Garda was once the centre of a thriving citrus industry, producing extremely bitter lemons that were exported all over northern Europe. It was a feat only made possible by dogged determination and a lot of hard work.

Episode 4: Uncovering the origins of the fantastically violent and messy Battle of the Oranges – an annual event that marks the end of carnival in the Northern Italian town of Ivrea.

Episode 5: A journey to Calabria, in the deep south of Italy, to discover one of the rarest and most precious of citrus fruits: the bergamot.

Bergamot is the product of a natural cross-pollination between a lemon tree and a sour orange that occurred in Calabria in the mid-seventeenth century. It’s very particular about its environment and fruits successfully only on a thin strip of land that runs for seventy-five kilometres from the Tyrrhenian coast to the shores of the Ionian Sea.

Reader … Francesca Dymond
Writer … Helena Attlee
Abridger … Laurence Wareing
Producer … Kirsteen Cameron.

This fed my odd-obsession streak. Isn’t it amazing the reads that look so average in subject matter can turn out to be so, well, zingy and zesty, and infuse a breath of fresh air into life. Citric acid was just what I needed to cut through the greasy sludge of those last days of winter. Come to think of it, ‘Driving over Lemons’ did the same job for me over a decade ago, however that lent more to the amusement side of the spectrum, whilst this is solid fact, beautifully read by Francesca Dymond.