In my book club, we have read some books that have been challenging (boring), fascinating, unforgettable, emotional, and adventurous. Sometimes we are able to serve some of the foods that are described in the book as our snack for the evening. For “Princess Bride” we ate plenty of chocolate and a chocolate “ball” that represented the “pill” that was made by Miracle Max for Westley to get him well again. For “A Day No Pigs Would Die” we snacked on bacon, crackers and cheese, and chocolate cake with nuts on top (you’ll have to read the book to figure that one out! Ewww…!) And for “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” we sampled cotton candy, popcorn, fruit kebabs, lemonade and other boardwalk goodies. However, this time we read the gothic romance and thriller, “Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier, a gripping and suspenseful read.
On page 24 of “Rebecca” the protagonist is sipping her citronade explaining her unusual name to Mr. de Winter. Therefore we sipped lemonade and of course hot tea as well. Page 187 describes the visit the new Mrs. de Winter makes to her husband’s grandmother and with great joy it was “watercress day.” We joined them with these delicious (best egg salad I have ever had) Watercress and Egg Salad Sandwiches only I added 1/2 tsp. curry powder and served them closed. Early on in the book a foreshadow occurs describing the relationship between the soon to be Mrs. de Winter and Mr. de Winter while eating a sour tangerine. I transformed the sour dish into a sweet dish of St. Joe’s Oranges, recipe to follow. On page 10 the narrator describes how she is served ill carved ham due to her lowly status. We nibbled nicely carved Ham and Cream Cheese Pickles, a tasty finger food treat where salty meets creamy and crunchy. And then came the chocolate mention on page 87 and chocolate must always be copied. “Chocolate Bars, the easiest dessert and the most appreciated.” Susan, a fellow book club member and I blurted that little saying out at the same time. Jinx! But it is true, do not fuss over dessert, simply set out an array of chocolate bars on your prettiest plate and you will have happy guests. Plus it is du Maurier’s birthday today so chocolate was in order.
After each member discussed her thoughts on the book we had a little contest naming the un-named Mrs. de Winter. She is the narrator of the story and our low self-esteemed protagonist who does posses an unusual, lovely and fitting first name, but the author chose not to reveal it. We took it upon ourselves to reveal the poor gal’s name and here it is: Emilia. From this day forth the second Mrs. Maximilian de Winter is hereby Emilia de Winter. Has a nice ring, don’ it?
Slice oranges and arrange on pretty plate. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with pepper. Serves 6-8.
Note- The above version is the sophisticated version. Here is how we make them most of the time. Leave the peel on and slice, then drizzle with vegetable oil and sprinkle with sugar. Everybody digs in and goes to town. They love peeling the “wheels” while eating. The name of this dish comes from my cousin Joe of California who created it.
PS I’m in 2 book clubs- so much time, so little books.