Saturday, May 7, 2011

Good Books

A friend was so eager for me to read it that she sent me this copy of The Year of the Hare, a  quirky little novel that, translated from its original Finnish, has become an international bestseller.
The novel tells the story of a journalist who, having hit a young hare with his car, stops to attend to it... and winds up quitting his job, leaving his wife, and spending a year wandering about Finland with the hare.

The novel is very low key and  seems to hover just on the edge of allegory. It's been compared to Life of Pi, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, and Watership Down. Well, yes and no -- to me it seems very much its own charming self. I have a feeling I'll be re-reading this soon.

Calvin Trillin is the funniest food writer around.  Feeding a Yen catalogues some of his favorite local delicacies -- local if you happen to be in Ecuador (ceviche,) Nice (pan bagnat,) Louisiana (boudin,) Galicia (pimentos de Padron,) to name a few.
I've followed Trillin's eating adventures for many years, ever since my first encounter --Alice, Let's Eat and his other two classics --American Fried and Third Helpings. 

Guaranteed to put a smile on your face, make you wonder what's in the fridge, and maybe send you in search of some local delicacies.

I've tried to think what that would be in our neck of the woods -- local and indigenous -- and what I come up with is cornbread -- made with freshly milled white corn and slathered with home-churned butter. 

On the other hand, local delicacies of my childhood in Tampa would include Cuban sandwiches, black beans and rice, mamey sherbet, deviled crab cakes, and any number of  Cuban delicacies. . .

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Julienne said...

Can I read Year of the Hare without thinking? It sounds maybe the sort of thing I need right now.

Miss_Yves said...

I Know Year of the hare (le lèvre devatanen in french)I'm fond of Paasilinna's books. His sense of humour delights me .

Brian Miller said...

nice. ok seeing if i can grab year of the hare today...i need a good read.

KarenB said...

The Year of the Hare sounds lovely. I will have to see if I can find it.

Have you read Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle? It is a year of her family eating locally and I do believe that it is set somewhere near your neck of the woods.

Vicki Lane said...

Dear Julienne -- I'm so sorry for your loss. I think THE YEAR OF THE HARE might be just the thing -- quite soothing.

Miss Yves -- this is the first of Paasilinna's books I've read but I'll look for more.

Karen -- Oh yes, I love ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE and have been thinking about it recently as we eat our own asparagus almost every day. (And eggs and milk and cheese and chicken and beef ...)

R. Burnett Baker said...

You caught my interest with the Hare book. I'll try to find it tomorrow. I never read Jonathan Seagull but dearly loved Richard Bach's book "Illusions". It's one of my all time favorites for several reasons.

Interesting post!


Mama-Bug said...

Year of the Hare sounds quite interesting to me; gonna put it on my list. The mention of those wonderful cuban sandwichs has me craving one now; as well as the black beans and rice...yum! Was down in that area last weekend but we ending up eating Greek instead.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Brought back memories. Although I can still get most of what you mentioned in Tampa, for some reason reminded me of the Cuban sandwiches at The Silver Ring in Ybor City (now closed I think)and the a man who had a box on the back of his bicycle and rode around town selling deviled crabs. I never had the ice cream you mentioned, but recall that the Spanish Park Restaurant had delicious coconut ice cream. Spanish bean soup at The Columbia...cokes with an olive at The Colonnade (both still open). I still mourn the close of The Mullet Inn! Pat, still in FL