This installment: delectable essays on food (nf); early Brooklyn, with nuns (f); and kids with secrets and dares (f).
The Reporter’s Kitchen by Jane Kramer
These essays about food appeared in the New Yorker, gathered here for your delectation. I’m not a foodie myself, and sometimes get weary of all those gastronomic excesses but Kramer takes such delight in all manner of cooking and feasting that I was intrigued no matter what. Her reporter’s curiosity gets her behind the scenes, from villages to restaurants to celebrations of all sorts with lots of personal testimony along the way. She produces meals in her tiny NYC kitchen or in her expansive one in Umbria, and explores all manner of culinary lore, like the development of cutlery through history. Lots of inside dope, tasty indee
The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott
The Little Nursing Sisters of the Sick Poor certainly make their presence felt in this Brooklyn neighborhood, showing up for those in need. In particular Annie, newly widowed, and her unborn daughter. Annie needs succor, a place to live, and a livelihood so the order takes her in and that’s where little Sally grows up. Will she join the convent? Life eventually tugs her in another direction but what a wealth of experiences she’s had, with an amazing cast of characters. Set in the early 1900’s. Vivid, intense, and tender.
The Gunners by Rebecca Kaufman
A small group of neighborhood kids gathered in the Gunner’s long-abandoned house and formed a club full of dares and secrets. None knew why Sally withdrew abruptly and now, years later, they’re at her funeral; she committed suicide. Gradually they piece together the story, each with a fraught connection to the deceased. And through this, some friendships are rekindled which will serve them well down the line. Small town Midwest setting, intriguing revelations.
Back next week.