Tuesday, September 16, 2008

More Donna Leon, emphasis on food!

I finished Donna Leon's The Girl of His Dreams over the weekend -- what an indulgence it is to escape into a well-written mystery, especially if it also offers the pleasures of imagining yourself in Venice.
I especially enjoyed the descriptions of food, especially when Brunetti stops home for lunch in the middle of his workday and joins his wife and two teen-age children on the terrace where Paola (his wife) spoons up fusilli with black olives and mozzarella, then passing 'round a small dish of whole basil leaves from which each diner takes a few, ripping them into small pieces to sprinkle over the pasta. This dish is accompanied by a Masi rosato, the same wine Brunetti remembers opening for this specific dish when they last end towards the end of the previous summer. And the pasta is then followed by stuffed calamari and a dish of carrots and peas. Wouldn't you go home for lunch too?

Another day, instead of going home for lunch, Brunetti and a co-worker interrupt their investigation for lunch "Because they were in a hurry, they decided not to have pasta and settled for a single dish of shrimp with vegetables and coriander. They shared a bottle of Gottardi pinot noir, turned down dessert, and finished with coffee." Notice the restraint? No pasta and no dessert, but somehow they polished off a bottle of pinot with their lunch nonetheless. So much more civilized than grabbing a sandwich or a Big Mac!

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