Sunday, March 23, 2014


For the first time in years, I went to my book group having not read the book.  I bought the book, read the first 85 pages or so and then lost it. I'm pretty sure it fell into a snowbank in Detroit after a concert at the Music Box at the Max. I have to say, book group when you haven't read the book is way more boring (despite the excellent company and food!)

The book was The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner and I can't say I enjoyed the first 85 pages. That fed into my decision not to buy a second copy of the book.  But sometimes a difficult or flawed book is the most interesting to talk about--we've had book group meetings where we all loved the book and the conversation kind of peetered out or just dwindled to "didn't you love it when ____" statements. The Flamethrowers generated a passionate discussion about art, sexism, authenticity, and meaning. BIG subjects.

So it was hard to sit silently while other people expressed some very interesting opinions. But luckily I had a negroni and a some delicious cheese, prosciutto, salami and olives to keep my normally jabbering mouth occupied.
Part of The Flamethrowers took place in Italy so that guided our meal (well, except for the salad I brought, but then I didn't read the book so I figured I was exempt).

Lea made an amazing batch of foccacia bread. There was olive oil for dipping but it really didn't need it.

And Meg made a salt-crusted roasted red snapper,

which when unearthed was wonderfully sweet and flavorful.

It was served with romesco sauce, a mushroom rice dish, roman-style artichokes and my salad with spinach, dates, almonds, red onions and toasted pita.

Then Sarah brought out three types of gelato for desert with some lovely little lemon biscuits. I was so full by then that I just had little sampler dabs of each one.

The next time we meet, I know I'll have read the book because I already read it and loved it--Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Whether it ends up an interesting conversation or a chorus of "didn't you love the part ____" will be fun to track. And of course, the food and company will be wonderful!

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