This is the first time I have participated with a virtual supper party and I’m thrilled to see some other food bloggers I know on the guest list. Jenna Blum is a new author for me and I can say, after diving into this page-turner, I am now hungry for the menus included as well as Blum’s other publications.
Jenna describes her book this way: “The Lost Family is a novel about a German-Jewish Auschwitz survivor named Peter Rashkin, who emigrates to New York, starts a restaurant, and falls in love—only to find his new American family haunted by the wife and daughters he lost during the war.”
The story starts in the 1960’s and spans roughly 30 years. It’s about love, loss, understanding and forgiveness. Peter Rashkin, the handsome owner and chef at Masha’s restaurant is the star of the story. He is a man haunted by his past, torn between the ghosts of his old family and his new family. While the other story lines focus more on June and Elspeth’s point of view Peter is indeed the main character. There is wonderful imagery in this novel, you feel like you are sitting in on the conversations.
There are so many passages that feature food, drink and menus that I can’t list them all. Well, I could but then I may not post prior to this fabulous book being released on June 5, 2018 – so let me just say there is plenty of culinary inspiration.
A cold gin martini with a few Queen olives will start me off here. No recipe needed.
I loved this particular passage:
“In every time of trouble in his life, large or small, Peter had gravitated to the kitchen. During his childhood, in flight from his father’s bullying or his mother’s disdain, Peter had sought the large square room in the back of the house where Hilde let him stir soup, roll dough and – most excitingly, and provided he held the knife just as she showed him – chop vegetables. During his teens Peter’s sole act of rebellion had been to apply for a job as Adlon commis instead of clerking in the family law firm.”
“Food is essentially the same. Julienning carrots or chiffonading basil was the same in Skokie or Berlin. A rutabaga was a rutabaga. Vegetables, meat and technique had no language. The kitchen, any kitchen, was Peter’s home.” (pp. 134-135)
I thought about Peter as he chopped vegetables and herbs, as rolled dough to make bread, losing himself in the kitchen environment. Relaxing and creating. Personally I find making bread therapeutic. I love the process of making bread, the slow kneading of the dough and creation of something everyone loves to see gracing the table. Hot, fresh bread. Yes.
Herbed Bubble Bread
3 – 3 ½ c flour
2 T sugar
1.5 t salt
1.25 oz yeast (1 pkg)
1 ¼ c milk
2 T vegetable oil
1/4 c melted butter or margarine
2 T Parmesan
1 T sesame seeds
1 teaspoon each of garlic salt, paprika, parsley, rosemary & thyme
Lightly grease a 2 quart deep round casserole. In a large bowl combine 1 cup flour, sugar, salt and yeast.
In small saucepan heat milk and vegetable oil until very warm (120 -130 F). Add egg and warm liquid to flour mixture. With electric mixer beat 3 minutes at medium speed.
With wooden spoon, stir in remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn dough out onto lightly floured board. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 1-2 minutes.
Place dough in warm greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm place, free from draft, until doubled in bulk, 45 minutes.
Punch down dough. Pinch off walnut-size balls of dough and dip in melted butter. Place in prepared casserole forming one layer. Combine cheese, seeds, garlic salt, paprika, and herbs. Sprinkle half over layer of bubbles.
Make a second layer of buttered bubbles; pour remaining butter over bubbles, sprinkle with remaining seasoning mixture. Cover and let rise in warm place, free from draft, until the “bubbles” almost reach top of casserole, 30 – 45 minutes.
Just before rising time is up, preheat oven to 400 F. Bake 25-30 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes; loosen from pan with spatula and remove. Serve warm.
♥ A labor of love ♥
This book will be released on June 5, 2018. Many thanks for this advanced reader’s copy! Please check out what others have brought to the party.
*Disclosure: I received an advance reading copy of The Lost Family by Jenna Blum, the Book Club Cookbook and Harper Collins so I was able to participate with the #TheLostFamilySupperClub party.