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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Book Club: Gotta Love Italy

It’s been a while since I’ve done a book club post, so thought it would be fun – you know, back to school, time to hit the books!

The last two books we’ve read have been pretty good, but I must say that the food has been divine, which is I why I’m posting! Both books lent themselves to an Italian food-inspired dinner – we have definitely been eating well at our meetings this summer. Can’t wait to share the food with you!

For July we read Eat, Pray, Loveby Elizabeth Gilbert. This is a non-fiction account of Elizabeth Gilbert’s ventures through eating in Rome, meditating in India, and finding love in Bali. She’s a good writer and the book was fun…wasn’t my favorite and there was something about Ms. Gilbert that bugged me, but at the same time I found myself quoting the book all the time while I was reading it!

What was truly great about this Book Club meeting was the food…Karen (far right in picture) cooked up a feast for us that was to die for. Seriously, everything she made was awesome, but I’ll just highlight 3 of the things, with links to the recipes (click the name of the food)! My most favorite was the Tuscan Bread Salad with Olives. This was SO GOOD. The main dish was Artichoke & Spinach Manicotti, which was also very tasty. For dessert she served Fresh Berries with Ricotta Cream (she used other berries in addition to strawberries – get creative!). I loved it, and let me tell you, for me to love a non-chocolate dessert is really saying something! Thank you Karen for your hard work and introducing us to some awesome recipes!!!

While discussing Eat, Pray, Love in July, Loretta (2nd from left) mentioned that she felt Under the Tuscan Sunby Frances Mayes did a much better job capturing the feeling of Italy…so she picked it for August for us to compare! This book was nice & relaxing…poetic descriptions of Tuscany, the house they rennovate and the food. Not much personal story, but if you’re interested in travel or Tuscany, it’s an interesting book. Ms. Mayes is an excellent writer, so the language is lovely. There’s not really a story and Harry Potter was much more tempting for me to read that month, but I’m still glad I read the book. (Side note: I have NOT read the 7th HP book yet, so if you have, NOT A WORD or I may be forced to use an Unforgiveable Curse!) The book (Tuscan Sun, not HP) is really nothing like the movie, by the way, which may or may not be a selling point for you (it was for me!).

Loretta hosted dinner at a beautiful local restaurant in La Jolla Shores called Barbarella. Awesome Italian food, great atmosphere – little twinkle lights everywhere. They don’t have a website, but if you live in San Diego, definitely take a visit! She said Halloween is especially fun, for your kids too! Barbara the owner stopped by our table and had read both of these books, so shared her own opinion. It was fun. Pretty much everything we ate was AWESOME. Loretta’s favorite is the thin crust pizza, but I think mine was the Lemon Cream Ravioli. It really was perfect for me that night.

Why is Italian food so dang good? What a fun Italian-themed summer for a Book Club! I’m in charge next month…how will I ever top this!?!


  1. 1

    Jane, you’re too cute. I certainly won’t say a word about Harry. Geeze, the Unforgiveable curse… you mean business. – Sara

  2. 2

    I just made a tuscan bread salad from a Jamie Oliver cookbook and I thought it was amazing. There were no olives in it though. Good luck with next month!

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