Sunday, May 21, 2017

Review: Eat This Poem

Eat This Poem: A Literary Feast of Recipes Inspired by Poetry by Nicole Gulotta

Publisher: Roost Books
Date: April 2017
Format: paperback
How did I get this book? free from publisher via my work for Eat Your Books
Rating: 5 of 5 stars
GoodReads | Author | Publisher

What a unique concept! There is plenty of poetry about food and there are even more cookbooks out in the world, but I've never seen a book quite like this one. It blends poetry, stories, and recipes in such a beautiful way. Nicole has a pretty extensive background in poetry and I really appreciated her insights and discussion of each poem, as well as her personal stories that thread throughout the book. I read this one with pencil in hand and did a whole lot of underlining -- there were just so many little nuggets of wisdom, I couldn't help myself!

I know I will be revisiting this slim volume again and again -- and hopefully I will be cooking or baking out of soon, too. Admittedly, I haven't made any of the recipes yet, but so many sound delicious without being overly complicated -- or as my mom likes to say "fiddledy." Some are certainly special occasion dishes, but there seems to be a nice balance of those and more everyday type recipes. A few I have my eye on:

Cornmeal Waffles
Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes 
Simple Corn Soup 
Almond Poppy Seed Scones (excerpt + recipe!) 
Olive Oil Pumpkin Bread 
Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies 
Strawberry Birthday Cake 
Roasted Carrots with Sweet Tahini Sauce 
Mushroom and Brie Quesadillas (excerpt + recipe!) 
Mushroom Pizza with Taleggio and Thyme
Risotto with Asparagus, Peas, and Basil Pesto

This book focuses on nourishment -- of body, mind, and soul -- and I think Nicole really succeeds in reminding us that the ordinary and everyday experiences of eating -- and reading -- are important and can be more meaningful if we allow them to be. With a toddler underfoot, most days that seems an impossible bar to reach, but this approach to cooking, eating, and living, doesn't seem to really be about perfection, but presence. And I think that is something I am capable of improving upon, if only I slow down every once in a while to remember! Making room in my day for some decent meals and restful reading time (of poetry and other forms) seems a worthwhile endeavor.

A lot of people think poetry is not for them, and that's OK. I'm not the reading police and I am the last person to judge the literary merit of other people's reading choices. But if you don't pick up poetry because you think it's always esoteric or inaccessible, I think books like this one really help show that doesn't always have to be the case. Even the poems I struggled with a bit on my first time through, I was able to read again with new eyes after reading Nicole's commentary.

BONUS: As a parent, I really, really love the poem Make the Ordinary Come Alive that Nicole recently shared on her blog. (I'm new to the Eat This Poem blog, but already a fan!)

4 comments:

  1. Mmm, risotto. One of my favorites! This sounds like a really unique book. I can see how poetry and food goes together well - both are things you can take slowly and savor.

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    1. It is definitely unique! And risotto is a favorite of mine too! I know it's not exactly a quick & easy dish, but since it's a favorite, I've made different versions over the years soooo many times that it's become a "rotation" dish. I totally take shortcuts, but being able to make it pretty much from memory helps! I like risotto recipes for flavoring ideas, but pretty much make it the same way otherwise :)

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