If you read a book and love to cook post a post as Food For Thought.
OLIVE KITTERIDGE BY ELIZABETH STROUT
**** and a half
Lives lived are mostly dysfunctional. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout throws that fact into our faces. And I find it hard to dispute otherwise.
Olive is a large woman, solidly built, who lives without apology. She may be illogical, logical, temperamental, perceptive, obsessive, ego-centric, compassionate or abrasive. Or all of them at once. You feel her rage, you connect with her frustrations and her denials but at times you also despise her. Finally you sympathize in her fight to endure.
This is a book about several people, each, neck deep in living out their lives and reacting. Some desperately, some resignedly and some stubbornly to the crap their world has to offer.
This is also a story about the pain of growing old, the feeling of despair and frustration when you watch your stroke striken spouse become blank and distant then relieved and heartbroken when he dies. It is about the anger welling inside of you as you watch your children grow away and who seem intent on breaking your heart. It is about being "done with that stuff" in regards to bedroom life and about "I don't care if I die either....Long as it's quick."
This is a story about spouses who sense the infidelity, each in the other, mentally or physically, but who sometimes choose to pretend otherwise, to appear, even to themselves, to understand, intent on rationalizing the unacceptable or where things happen that alter their perception of each other forever.
It is about wondering how or why you have become what you are and your marraige what it is. This is a story about life. Take it or leave it.
There is no plot really. Like real life. Strout presents Olive Kitteridge through the stories of uniquely different people each connected to Olive in some way, significantly or otherwise, in a small town of Crosby, Maine, a town by the sea where the waves lap, the seagulls squawk, the wind blows and the flowers bloom.
It ends with Olive Kitteridge feeling vindicated in her belief at the age of seventy four "that lumpy aged and wrinkled bodies were as needy as their own young firm ones."
I found the book depressing but from page 203 onwards Strout 's descriptions of situations and characters began to take on the occasional hilarious streak. Some simply made me laugh out loud.
Olive is a multi-faceted character, like us. And to be able to write about people like us in minute and introspective detail, with clarity, is astonishing and, to read it, is frightening.
This is not a book for everyone. It wasn't unputdownable for me simply because it was mostly depressing or perhaps because it was too raw, uncomfortably truthful and blatant about angry feelings, about growing old, about infidelity, about imperfection, about real life.
It won the Pulitzer Prize and I can certainly see why.
We may be old enough to make choices but we may never be old enough to know if we have made the right ones.
Olive Kitteridge loves doughnuts.
Dunkin donuts was where Olive and Henry, her affable husband, would stop by for a coffee, for doughnuts and for the doughnut holes. Doughnuts feature consistently in the book and I knew it had to be either donuts or doughnuts for Food For Thought.
It's amazing how pretty and playful doughnuts can look. I'm not much of a doughnut person and am amazed that people actually make a long bee line for doughnuts from a shop called Big Apple Donuts when it opened several years ago. I must say their toppings simply set them apart. They were gorgeously pretty. You just have to click on their link.They are beautiful! Sorry Dunkin Donuts!
If I had a little bit more love for doughnuts I would probably be queuing up myself.
This doughnut recipe belongs to Delia Smith. These doughnuts are gorgeously delicious, soft and thick. I've never tried any other doughnut recipe but my son says a lady at his university canteen sells doughnuts that are just so good because they are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. But I don't have her recipe so Delia Smith's it is.
The recipe ~
Makes 8 doughnuts......
8 oz plain flour
11/2 oz castor sugar
2 tsp dried yeast ( I used the same amount of instant yeast)
1 egg, beaten
1 oz butter
1/2 tsp salt
3 T milk
3 T boiling water
Oil for frying
Measure the milk into a measuring jug and then add the boiling water, a teaspoon of the sugar and the yeast. Stir it and leave the jug in a warm place for about 10 minutes till the yeast mixture froths. Put the rest of the sugar, the salt and the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter. Then pour in the beaten egg and frothy yeast mixture and stir and mix to a smooth dough. If it sems a little dry add a tespoon or so of warm water.
Turn the dough out onto a board and knead for about 10 minutes by which time it should feel springy and show slight blisters just under the surface. return it to the bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place to rise until double in size, about 45 minutes to an hour.
When it has risen tip it out onto a board and punch it down to disperse large air bubbles. Divide the dough into 8 equal parts and flatten to a disc.
At this point I depart from Delia Smith by shaping it into a ring instead of filling the centre with jam.
Once shaped place on a baking tray and enclose them in an oiled plastic bag or a bin liner as Delia suggests. Let them rise for 30 minutes. Heat up enough oil (I used canola) in a pot to deep fry to about 185 C and fry the doughnuts, turning them frequently so that htey will brown evenly. About 4 minutes frying time.
drain on kitchen paper tehn toss then on a bowl of castor sugar or any sugar combination that you like.