Monthly Archives: July 2012
When I was growing up my father took us to every James Bond movie as soon as it hit the theaters. For my parents, there was the fast paced, espionage themed, exotic entertainment. I’m a kid, so I just liked going to the movies and getting white paper sacks of orange sweeties to eat during the film. 39 Steps by John Buchan has been described as one of the earlier examples of the ‘man-on-the-run’ thriller.
The main character is Richard Hannay. Early in the book he meets a man who shares an extraordinary tale involving spies, betrayal as well as plans in motion to assassinate a visiting dignitary. Hannay takes the man in, considers all he’s told with caution (as he’s looking for some adventure anyway), and unwittingly steps into the middle of it all. As you follow Hannay through the country, him staying steps ahead of the bad guys, you realize he is a man who puts his country’s interests ahead of all else. He’s sort of an early version of MacGyver, getting out of jams using whatever he has on hand.
39 Steps was first published as a serial in Blackwood’s Magazine in 1915.
There is intrigue and evidently if you read it over, you’ll see clues regarding the man who was on the run and the people he is hiding from. It was pretty good but I doubt I will read it again.
Some reviews complained about dated language but remember, this was written a long time ago….plus that particular complaint could be applied to Jane Austen, Shakespeare and the like but certainly does not stop people reading those authors. The forward by the author’s grandson (author is deceased)was very interesting.
So, since he’s on the run in England and Scotland and you hear about the occasional simple meal in a pub (nothing specific) – I immediately thought of lamb dishes. These grilled lamb chops and garlic mashed potatoes are just the ticket to fuel Richard Hannay on his mission.
Recipe and such is at Squirrel Head Manor.
This is the third book I have read by Anthony Bourdain. Another Thumbs Up rating – he never disappoints. Bourdain goes off on rants about subjects close to his heart – obviously the food industry, covering everything from celebrity chefs, Food Network, traveling and people in general. You know, the idiotic things people do that have you just shaking your head.
One example – he is at a book signing for Medium Raw and fans of Kitchen Confidential (young fans I may add) drop off joints of marijuana or packets of coke, discreetly slipped into Bourdain’s belongings. Really? Common sense takes a day off.
He makes it clear the days of drug use and abuse are long in the past and it concerns him that some fans of Kitchen Confidential focus on the partying aspects.
Oh, and his diatribe on Alice Waters is priceless. The way he writes you can hear him speaking to you. Not the perfect sentence structure but ordinary conversational style writing.
The sections where he talks about his daughter, the chapter “I’m dancing”, clearly tells where his head is now. His priorities.
This is another honest memoir where he takes full responsibility for any past mistakes with alcohol, drugs, business dealings, etc. and moved on to a better life.
I loved this book.
There is just so much you could be inspired to make after reading one of Bourdain’s books so I offer you an appie. Camembert stuffed baked mushrooms over at Squirrel Head Manor.
Adding my review to Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking Series.
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