A month or so ago, the Friday night happy hour gang were a wine or two into the evening, and we decided to begin a book club. Spiritual books, we thought, but not necessarily. (Knowing the group, I might have dangled the metaphysical angle before them like a juicy peach, but we will not say that aloud.) I also might have sort of pushed the first book choice, Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert, which is so charming I didn’t know how anyone could possibly not enjoy it. (Not quite correct, as it turns out.)
Since I might have suggested so much, I also offered to host it at my house this time, and it gave me the most luscious excuse to stop by Nana Longo’s Italian Market, which is in a little shopping center I stop in for other reasons. It has tempted me for ages, but I knew what would happen when I went in–I would dive into all that real salami and fresh mozzarella balls and beg for pizzelles, and I would waddle out like a landed whale. But what a perfect excuse–my friends coming over to talk about a book that has an entire section devoted to eating in Italy!
The shop is long and narrow, tucked at the end of an ordinary strip mall in an ordinary city, but there were those beautiful salamis behind the glass, and bowl upon bowl of olives, and tiny cookies shaped like sunflowers with apricot jam in the middle, and yes, fresh mozzarella. It made me painfully homesick for Pueblo for a little while and I said to the young man behind the counter, “I lived in Pueblo for a long time, and I miss the Italian food there.” He perked up and patted his chest, and happily informed me that Nana Longo is his grandmother who was in Pueblo. His dad started the place up here and named it for his mother. It’s funny, all the Italians/Sicilians in Pueblo. Such great, great food, such a rich culture. I was so happy to discover the link to Pueblo, and he was so happy to provide it, and it is the kind of shopping I miss up here.
I brought home lusciously garlicky salami and a pile of olives and cheese. There were tiny, beautiful cookies, too, but I’m afraid they didn’t make it to the party. They were so delicious CR and I had consumed the entire dozen before anyone arrived.
Two participants did not finish the book in time. One thought it was predictable, three of us thought it was sublime and have read it more than once, pressed it into the hands of anyone we can get to stop long enough. It stimulated excellent discussion, some heated, some full of hilarity, and we will meet again soon.
Do you meet with a book club? What do you eat and drink for it?