Pomegranate Soup: A Novel
16 journalers for this copy...
TO BE READ
Amazon Editorial Review:
Beneath the holy mountain Croagh Patrick, in damp and lovely County Mayo, sits the small, sheltered village of Ballinacroagh. To the exotic Aminpour sisters, Ireland looks like a much-needed safe haven. It has been seven years since Marjan Aminpour fled Iran with her younger sisters, Bahar and Layla, and she hopes that in Ballinacroagh, a land of “crazed sheep and dizzying roads,” they might finally find a home.
From the kitchen of an old pastry shop on Main Mall, the sisters set about creating a Persian oasis. Soon sensuous wafts of cardamom, cinnamon, and saffron float through the streets–an exotic aroma that announces the opening of the Babylon Café, and a shock to a town that generally subsists on boiled cabbage and Guinness served at the local tavern. And it is an affront to the senses of Ballinacroagh’s uncrowned king, Thomas McGuire. After trying to buy the old pastry shop for years and failing, Thomas is enraged to find it occupied–and by foreigners, no less.
But the mysterious, spicy fragrances work their magic on the townsfolk, and soon, business is booming. Marjan is thrilled with the demand for her red lentil soup, abgusht stew, and rosewater baklava–and with the transformation in her sisters. Young Layla finds first love, and even tense, haunted Bahar seems to be less nervous.
And in the stand-up-comedian-turned-priest Father Fergal Mahoney, the gentle, lonely widow Estelle Delmonico, and the headstrong hairdresser Fiona Athey, the sisters find a merry band of supporters against the close-minded opposition of less welcoming villagers stuck in their ways. But the idyll is soon broken when the past rushes back to threaten the Amnipours once more, and the lives they left behind in revolution-era Iran bleed into the present.
Infused with the textures and scents, trials and triumph,s of two distinct cultures, Pomegranate Soup is an infectious novel of magical realism. This richly detailed story, highlighted with delicious recipes, is a delectable journey into the heart of Persian cooking and Irish living.
International Bookring Shipping order subject to change
JenKazoo of Louisiana (US shipping)
daniellechonody of Texas (International shipping) <----- book is here
spaceystacey of New Jersey (US shipping)
Llednyl of Ohio (US/Canada shipping)
Kimmi of Canada (Canada shipping preferred)
kobie03 of Newfoundland (International shipping)
Wandering-B of Hong Kong (International shipping)
deadendmind of Greece (International shipping)
vampirequeen of United Kingdon (Europe shipping)
arturogrande of United Kingdom (International shipping)
ana-b of Netherlands (International shipping)
Tinchen2205 of Germany (?)
lunacia of Norway (International shipping)
RalieghDog of Arizona (International shipping) *request to be last
Bluestocking88 of Washington (US shipping) *request to be last
pammykn of Alabama (will hand-off in person) *request to be last
Back to me... Bibliocrates of Alabama
This book is on its way to the first participant, Pashmack. I'm sorry it took me so long to kick-off the ring, hope everyone enjoys it :)
And now, on to what I loved about the book! I did enjoy the parts that focused on Marjan and her sisters, the cafe, and the cooking. The impact of the revolution in Iran on the three women's lives was nicely woven into the story. But the highlight of the book, for me, was the food. The Persian cuisine almost becomes a main character. I think the author did a good job conveying that preparing this food is a labor of love- almost a spiritual experience. My husband of nearly 30 years is Iranian, and this cooking is very much a part of our lives. Each time Marjan cooked something, the book came alive for me - my mind tricked me into thinking that I was actually smelling the aromatic scents. I have cooked most of the dishes that are mentioned in the book - I think the elephant ears and the pomegranate soup are the only two that I haven't attempted yet. Oh, and the migraine remedy - I've not made that. I make abghust quite frequently, as my husband and son love it. And fesenjoon (or fesenjan)? Oh, my, is that delicious! The recipe we use calls for cinnamon and saffron, though, while the one in this book does not. Fesenjan smells and tastes heavenly!
The author clearly illustrated how memories and sensory input are related - the scents of certain foods catapulted the women back in time, reviving memories both pleasant and unpleasant. While I was reading about the "torshi", I was reminded that, for me, the smell of vinegar is forever linked to a lovely memory. Years ago, my in-laws from Iran were visiting us for the first time. While I was at work, my mother-in-law had begun to make torshi - chopped, pickled vegetables. She was sitting on the floor in her chador (covering) among plates of cut vegetables, jars, etc. as the smell of vinegar wafted through the house. Since she did not speak English, she held up a vegetable, showing me that she needed more. I walked up the street to a vegetable stand, and bought what she needed. When I got back, she held up another vegetable and shrugged apologetically. This went on for awhile - on into the next day. As she mixed one vegetable in, she would discover that her concoction needed more of another. It got to be a joke, and we would laugh together. Finally, the mixture met with her approval, and the many large jars were filled. The house smelled like vinegar for days and days, but that was the best torshi I've ever tasted. I've never been able to replicate her recipe - she had brought her own herbs and spices from Iran. The book brought back this wonderful memory. It was also heartwarming to read about "sard and garm" foods, and to remember the first time my husband (then boyfriend) tried to explain this in English, his second language. I didn't quite get it that first time, but later, after hearing more about it, was able to grasp the concept. The book also reminded me of all of the wonderful times (and meals!) we had with my husband's family when we visited Iran a few years ago. I hope the other readers will try some of the recipes from this book, or from another Persian cookbook. They'll be in for a real treat! Nush-e jan!
All in all, I did enjoy the book, and am glad I got a chance to read it. Thank you, Bibliocrates, for sharing the book and the yummy tea. And sorry I got so long-winded with my journal entry! I will be sending the book on its way to the next reader this afternoon.
Anyway, I'll get to this one as soon as I finish the one that arrived a few days ago! And to tempt myself to hurry, I'll save the tea for the day I start to read the book.
Oh, yes, I forgot to mention how wonderful the tea was! Instead of drinking it on the day I began reading the book, I drank it on the day the main character was brewing some pomegranate!
Sent to next reader on the ring via media mail
In the flavor of Chocolat, but yet for me more aromatic. I loved the way each chapter was prefaced by a recipe. I can hardly wait to try some of these.
I will be looking for other books by this same author to read in the future, as this was her first novel.
As I already have the address for the next reader (I had pmed her for it once I knew that this read was on the way to me), this read will be in the post tomorrow a.m.
I hope the rest of the participant list enjoys the read as much as I did.
I have the next participant's address and will be sending this off within the next few days. Thanks for sharing!
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
Sent off to kimmi this afternoon. I happened to have some pomegranate tea so I included a few bags - enjoy!
Thanks for sending it to me. I will get it into the mail to kobie03 this week. I have enjoyed the tea that Llednyl sent and I have bought my own pomegranate tea to add to the book when it continues its trip. I am even making the red lentil soup as I write this! It's simmering on my stove-top. Smells great!
Thanks Bibliocrates for sharing this book!
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
mailed to Wandering-B, next participant.
Will be mailing along to deadendmind in Greece on Monday, 1 February.
Thank you so much Wandering-b for the postcard, bookmark and teabags. They are lovely!
Also thank you to Bibliocrates for including me in the bookring. :-)
I've photocopied a few recipes I'd like to try and I've contacted the next person on the list.
Looking forward to this, had a quick peak at the recipes and I may try some of them
Sent it off to autogrande yesterday.
A very enjoyable book, with some nice food to try. I thinks I need me some abghust, I need to work out what I should be doing.
Thanks for sharing, and I'm sorry to have held onto this book for so long.
It's now on its way to ana-b in the Netherlands.
I'll try to contact the next person.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Looking forward to read it, though!
I have PMed RalieghDog for their address.
EDIT 5 February 2011 RalieghDog replied today. Not active anymore, and wanted to be skipped. PMing Bluestocking88 today.
EDIT 8 February 2011 I now have Bluestocking88's address, and will send it when I get back home. I'm currently out of town.
Thank you for giving me a turn, this book looks like a real treat.
I liked the ending, I just would have liked it more had it followed the same pace as the first part of the book. Some of the sisters' history in Iran seemed rushed--I would have liked more back story. Without giving anything away, I might have liked a different ending for a certain male character--but that was the author's choice and it did work. Like other readers mentioned, I felt the connection between this book and Like Water For Chocolate.
That being said, it's a book I would like to own, for the recipes alone. I will copy a few before I mail it along. I will pm pammykn tonight.