Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Female Nomad and Friends by Rita Golden Gelman

Being a confirmed armchair traveler and erstwhile kitchen tinkerer, I love to get my hands on books like this. It's a collection of forty one short travel stories and thirty three recipes from around the world. Hooray! Only it wasn't so much. I found the shortness of the stories to be distracting, reading more like a What-I-Did-On-My-Summer-Vacation essay. This may be fine for some readers, and there is a disclaimer at the beginning of the book about this very point, but I was expecting the writing to have a little more zing. And editing. These stories would work a lot better, I think, related verbally.

Anywhoo, that's not to say I didn't like any of the stories. I did. My favorite was 'A Stitch in Time' (page 102-104) where the author, Rita Golden Gelman, while in Vietnam, is looking to get her shirt mended only to be met with the maid's wrinkled nose and dismissive "But you old. No one care."

And then there was 'Turkish Delight' (page 164-165). Kay Moody is in a bazaar in Istanbul with her family:

'My husband, daughter, and I kept haggling over the price, and although the shopkeepers were fluent in English, they chatted back and forth in Turkish while we decided on our purchases. After a very long time, still unable to agree on a reasonable price for all our items, one of the men looked at Henry and said, "You're their son, aren't you? Why are you so quiet?" In perfect Turkish, Henry replied, "Because it's more fun to listen. And yes, my sister's red hair is natural, and she is happily married and not available to go home with you; and I agree, my father is too fat and doesn't need another can of caviar!"

Ha! Too funny.

As for the recipes, I tried the Charred Sugar Crusted Salmon and, with a small downward adjustment to the chili powder (one tablespoon instead of two), I must say it was quite delicious!

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