Lots of small publishers draw hard and fast lines between indie bookstores and the great-big mega-chains, like Barnes and Noble. But we’re delighted to report that our local B&N in Park Slope, Brooklyn, has been as nurturing and friendly as any local store on Main Street, USA. Recently they sponsored a very special Recipe Club meeting. It was warm and genuine, filled with surprising intimacies and lots of laughs. Here’s just some of what we talked about:
Philippa told the story of traveling in Cambodia, where she was greeted–as an honored guest–by having live scorpions placed on her by two local girls. Quickly realizing that people around her were actually eating the critters (the scorpions, not the girls, and fried in hot oil, thank you) she somehow managed to not completely freak out. In a way, she knew, it was nothing more than an extreme case of “meet your food”–like picking the lobster out of the tank at an American seafood restaurant. Although Philippa confessed she resisted the generous offer of these…ummm…savory snacks, we were still all very impressed at how she kept her cool!
This led to a lively conversation about the “revulsion impulse” of encountering strange or exotic foods…from hot, buttered yak tea in Bhutan to a first-time childhood encounter with a (really scary) artichoke. Talking about our personal food boundaries (ie, for some people eating cow is okay, but eating Thumper or Bambi can be unsettling) further led to a story about: