Grillo Center Labyrinth

Grillo Center Labyrinth
Meander and Meet....designed by George Peters and Melanie Walker of Airworks For more information contact Susan at

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Saturday Morning Walkers - November 5, 2006

Hi everyone,

Well, I was going to spin quite a yarn about our Saturday morning walk yesterday but I'm not feeling that creative. Barb, Terri, Mary and I indeed met for our monthly planning meeting at Caffe Sole but we were all a bit unenthusiastic about going for a walk - so we didn't!
Here's the schedule for November:
11/11/06 - Barb
11/18/06 - Susan
11/25/06 - Christie
Details on where and when will follow as each date approaches.

Book Report: Just a short one this week:

From Susan - I just finished a wonderful book, Modoc by Ralph Helfer - this is our current book group selection and I was a bit skeptical when I first saw the book - not something I would have chosen on my own and that's the beauty of a book group - you read things you might never had given much thought to reading. Modoc is a true story about a boy and an elephant who grew up together and devoted their lives to each other. It has romance, adventure and spirit. I highly recommend it.

From Kirkus ReviewsThe simply astonishing, exhilarating story--complete with high adventure, betrayal, and resurrection--of Modoc, elephant extraordinaire, told by Helfer (The Beauty of the Beasts, 1990). They were born on the same day, a hundred years back, in a Black Forest village: Bram Gunterstein, son of a circus animal trainer, and Modoc, an Indian elephant headed for big-top life with the Wunderzircus, a provincial troupe. Their love for each other develops early, when Bram is just a toddler and Modoc a youthful one-ton package, and Bram's father on his deathbed councils Bram to watch after Modoc. That he does, and the tribulations and pleasures they share defy the imagination: The circus is sold out from under Bram to the sinister Mr. North; Bram stows away on the vessel transporting Modoc, leaving behind the girl of his dreams; discovered, Bram wins over the captain, but the ship sinks during a hurricane; Modoc and Bram float to the shores of India, where Bram learns further tools of the trade at the maharaja's elephantarium; there he lives in a teak-built compound, tends to Modoc, and is honored to have an audience with the sacred white elephant; he woos and wins a woman from the village but is warned that North is on his trail. He strikes out with Modoc to the teak plantations of Burma, is captured by rebels, loses his wife, confronts North, journeys to the US and fashions a spectacular show for Modoc, wins back his earlier love, only to have the elephant sold out from under him again. Helfer (an animal trainer by trade) happens across Modoc and buys him in the 1970s, then Bram appears yet again. The story is told with a heart-tugging warmth that, granted, at times slips into Disney mode, but that feels credible: There is, amazingly enough, a truthful tang to the picaresque proceedings. One glorious pachyderm and one cracking story.

I'm just beginning Nine Parts of Desire by Geraldine Brooks - this is a non-fiction account of Islamic women encountered by Brooks during her stint as a foreign correspondent in the Middle East. She is the author of two novels, The Year of Wonders and March. I'll let you know more next week.

From my niece Mandy: I did want to mention that Mandy and her book group recently read One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
"Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."
It is typical of Gabriel García Márquez that it will be many pages before his narrative circles back to the ice, and many chapters before the hero of One Hundred Years of Solitude, Buendía, stands before the firing squad. In between, he recounts such wonders as an entire town struck with insomnia, a woman who ascends to heaven while hanging laundry, and a suicide that defies the laws of physics:

A trickle of blood came out under the door, crossed the living room, went out into the street, continued on in a straight line across the uneven terraces, went down steps and climbed over curbs, passed along the Street of the Turks, turned a corner to the right and another to the left, made a right angle at the Buendía house, went in under the closed door, crossed through the parlor, hugging the walls so as not to stain the rugs, went on to the other living room, made a wide curve to avoid the dining-room table, went along the porch with the begonias, and passed without being seen under Amaranta's chair as she gave an arithmetic lesson to Aureliano José, and went through the pantry and came out in the kitchen, where Úrsula was getting ready to crack thirty-six eggs to make bread.
"Holy Mother of God!" Úrsula shouted.
The story follows 100 years in the life of Macondo, a village founded by José Arcadio Buendía and occupied by descendants all sporting variations on their progenitor's name: his sons, José Arcadio and Aureliano, and grandsons, Aureliano José, Aureliano Segundo, and José Arcadio Segundo. Then there are the women--the two Úrsulas, a handful of Remedios, Fernanda, and Pilar--who struggle to remain grounded even as their menfolk build castles in the air. If it is possible for a novel to be highly comic and deeply tragic at the same time, then One Hundred Years of Solitude does the trick. Civil war rages throughout, hearts break, dreams shatter, and lives are lost, yet the effect is literary pentimento, with sorrow's outlines bleeding through the vibrant colors of García Márquez's magical realism. Consider, for example, the ghost of Prudencio Aguilar, whom José Arcadio Buendía has killed in a fight. So lonely is the man's shade that it haunts Buendía's house, searching anxiously for water with which to clean its wound. Buendía's wife, Úrsula, is so moved that "the next time she saw the dead man uncovering the pots on the stove she understood what he was looking for, and from then on she placed water jugs all about the house."

Janet just finished listening to Phillipa Gregory's The Constant Princess. She loved it and has passed it along to me. Gregory has been pretty prolific - I also read The Other Boleyn Girl which I recommend.

From Publishers Weekly
As youngest daughter to the Spanish monarchs and crusaders King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, Catalina, princess of Wales and of Spain, was promised to the English Prince Arthur when she was three. She leaves Spain at 15 to fulfill her destiny as queen of England, where she finds true love with Arthur (after some initial sourness) as they plot the future of their kingdom together. Arthur dies young, however, leaving Catalina a widow and ineligible for the throne. Before his death, he extracts a promise from his wife to marry his younger brother Henry in order to become queen anyway, have children and rule as they had planned, a situation that can only be if Catalina denies that Arthur was ever her lover. Gregory's latest (after Earthly Joys) compellingly dramatizes how Catalina uses her faith, her cunning and her utter belief in destiny to reclaim her rightful title. By alternating tight third-person narration with Catalina's unguarded thoughts and gripping dialogue, the author presents a thorough, sympathetic portrait of her heroine and her transformation into Queen Katherine. Gregory's skill for creating suspense pulls the reader along despite the historical novel's foregone conclusion.

Cooking Report: I have two recipes to share this week: one is an appetizer from Fine Cooking Magaine and the other is an old family favorite

Sun-Dried Tomato Tart with Fontina & Proscuitto
1 large egg yolk
all-purpose flour, as needed for rolling out dough
1 sheet frozen puff pastry sheet (about 8 ounces), thawed according to package directions
1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 cup Fontina cheese (about 2 ounces), grated
4 thin slices proscioutto (preferably imported - about 2 ounces), cut crosswise into thin strips
2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese , freshly grated

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Whisk the egg yolk with 1/2 teaspoon water.

2. Lightly dust a work surface with flour and gently unfold the pastry sheet. Roll out the pastry, eliminating the creases, to a 10 x 14 inch rectangle. Cut the rectangle in half lengthwise to make two 5 x 14 inch rectangles, and if the edges are uneven or ragged, trim them.

3. Transfer both pastries to the baking sheet. With the tines of a fork, press a 1/4 inch border around the edge of the pastry. Brush the egg mixture along the border (you will not need all of it). Poke the rest of the pastry all over with the fork to keep the pastry from puffing too much. Bake both pastry rectangles until firm and golden, about 12 minutes. Remove the pastry from the oven and increase the temperature to 475 degrees F.

4. Let the pastry rectangles cool slightly and press them gently to flatten any large air pockets. Scatter a thin layer of the sun-dried tomatoes on both rectangles. Scatter the Fontina over the top. Place the prosciutto strips on top of the Fontina, either draping them in a random pattern or arranging them evenly. Sprinkle the top with the Parmigiano. Bake until the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes, then cut into strips or small squares to serve.

Cincinnatti Chili
1 quart hot water
2 pounds ground beef, crumbled
1 12 ounce can tomato paste
1 large onion, chopped
3 Tablespoons chili powder
3 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Teaspoon cinnamon
1 Teaspoon ground pepper
1 Teaspoon allspice
1 Teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/2 Teaspoon cumin
1/2 Teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1/4 Teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 Teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound spaghetti, freshly cooked
1 cup cheddar cheese or monterey jack, grated
1 onion, chopped
sour cream

1. Pour water into large saucepan. Crumble in beef. Add next 13 ingredients. Simmer 3 hours, stirring occasionally, skimming off excess liquid.

2. Before serving discard bay leaves.

3. Place spaghetti on an individual plate or bowl and pour chili over it.

4. Serve with grated cheese, chopped onion and sour cream for garnish

We always serve this chili on Christmas Eve - ENJOY!

Have a great week!



No comments: