Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Book Club -- The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Living 25 curvy miles away from the 15 other Book Club members, haven't hosted Book Club in the past five years. (Not to mention our little mountain cabin is in no shape to host guests at present.) Felt like I owed the ladies something special after their hosting many wonderful, memorable nights. So, I hauled my wedding china to work, where 12 were hosted.

My husband noted that the ladies in my Book Club don't eat much, many of them are slim. Last book club some wanted to stick to the appetizer plates instead of moving to the dinner-sized plates to help them with their portion control. That got me thinking, I could get away with just using my salad plates, instead of hauling dinner, appetizer and dessert plate along the twisty-turn-y roads!

The book the Nightingale is about two sisters in World War II occupied France. One works in the resistance and the other copes living on old family land in a small Loire Valley village. As things during the war start to get dreary and messy, the elder sister Vianne makes a Sunday picnic and a "normal" Sunday meal. These contrast to future war rations (as one Book Club member pointed out).

Therefore I made Vianne's dinner for her family (as described on page 10): pork tenderloin in thick-cut bacon (at eight o'clock--right on time--), apples glazed in a rich wine sauce, browned potatoes, a bowl of fresh peas swimming in butter seasoned with tarragon. Of course baguette, and for dessert ile flottante (toasted meringue floating in a rich creme anglaise).
One part of the book that stood out to me, was when the sisters were disappointed with a ration of octopus they received when things were tough. After standing in line for hours, with the food supply dwindling during WWII, makes one reflect on our modern conveniences.
The Nazi officer who lived with Vianne would give her daughter Sophie chocolates. I happened to find one that had a French-sounding name and made in Germany, thought it appropriate. I placed a bowl of a few MandMs on the table, maybe to give a small sense of scarcity during the war.

I think the 12 lovely ladies were happy. Hoped for a beautiful, relaxed feeling one might get as a visitor to Vianne's home during better times. The Book Club members were so kind to help with 100% of the clean up (just like the clean up in the book after dinner).