Sunday, October 27, 2013

Mark and Lynn love Apothic Dark for Halloween...

Lynn and I got this great follow up to Apothic Red, Apothic Dark.  AD is as rich, dark, cherry, chocolately and decadent as Apothic Red only more so.  And, as if you didn't know it is the perfect adult beverage for Halloween on every level.  So, open a bottle (or two-at a price point of around $14.00 this is easy enough) of Apothic Dark and enjoy it with a horror film marathon.  Our suggestion?  Revisit the original Dark Shadows....

Monday, October 7, 2013

Mark and Lynn interview author Jessica Soffer about loss, loss and food (but mostly food) in her debut novel Tomorrow there will be Apricots....

Ms. Soffer

Jessica Soffer's debut novel Tomorrow there will be Apricots (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)  is the unlikely story of a relationship between a 14 year old young woman named Lorca whose disconnected chef mom is ready to send her off to boarding school after Lorca displays alarming behaviors and an older Iraqi-Jewish woman named Victoria who is dealing with her own regrets, loss and personal demons.  The two cross paths over a love of food and a need to find meaning and hope in their predicaments.  Needless to say, the two help each other deal with the blows life has dealt them through their love of food and cooking which includes cardamon pistachio cookies and baklava.  Ms. Soffer was nice enough to correspond with Mark and Lynn about her lovely, bittersweet book, as well as her own culinary heritage and habits.

M & L: A lot of foodie (sorry for using that overused word) oriented literature/memoirs these days has an overlay of feel good female empowerment-Your work goes into some fairly dark places.   Were you afraid that the intensity of the narrative would overwhelm the themes of food and culture in your work.

JS: "I really wanted to play with that notion. Food can be so much more. On one hand, it is a magnet, bringing the characters together, allowing them to transcend their loneliness—and, for sure, the element of food brings some necessary lightness into the narrative. But I was also concerned with the ways in which food can be a catalyst for feelings of nostalgia, sadness, grief, pain: all that equally so."

M & L : Why do you think the creative act of cooking has become such a popular subject matter for memoirs and fiction? Why do you think women tend to gravitate towards this genre?

JS : "I just met with a book club with as many men as women—and the men cooked recipes from Apricots. I’ve found that men are as concerned with food in fiction as women. That said, I do think it’s an issue of marketing: how best to sell the book. And women are, quite simply, more active book consumers—so when a book can be geared toward female readers, a publisher’s best bet is to do just that."

M &  L :A lot of the book revolves around cultivating and honoring the cuisine of your own Iraqi Jewish heritage. Does this cuisine still influence your interest in food and cooking?

JS: "Absolutely. My father’s mother was a healer in Baghdad and believed in eating for one’s well being, to nourish the body. I was raised with notions of mindful eating, of a respect and particular awareness of food, and I imagine they will always be an important part of my life, and for the foreseeable future, of my writing."

M & L: Having woven themes about food into your work here can you imagine orienting your work around food again?

JS: "Food has been a really great way to connect with readers: cooking with them, sharing tips and stories. We’ve decided to include additional recipes in the paperback, and I’m excited to see how that changes the readers’ experience, if it works."

M & L: Do you have a particular food you like to prepare?  A favorite place to eat?

JS: "We’ve just moved full-time to Amagansett and joined a CSF called Dock to Dish, which delivers fish once a week to the consumer within 24 hours of being caught locally. So there’s been a lot of fish in our lives lately, paired with all the good stuff from farm stands. We seared Montauk scallops the other day, and made a nectarine and arugula salad. It was just what the doctor ordered—or, should I say, what the healer ordered?"

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Mark and Lynn duck into the City Bakery

Lynn and I went into the city recently  so I could take a martial arts class revolving around a fairly obscure martial art called Bartitsu  which inolves, among other things fighting with a cane, that would probably be  truly obscure if not for an offhand mention by one of fiction's greatest creations, Sherlock Holmes.  Anyway, we got into the city about a half an hour before class started so we ducked into The City Bakery where we had a quick espresso, coffee and fruit tart.   The espresso helped focus and steel me for my class and the tart helped Lynn's mood considerably.  We just ran in and out but we observed that the space managed to be both cavernous and intimate with cozy seating and comforting lighting.  So, next time I need a cane fighting lesson we will have our default breakfast place...

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Lisa Ann's Desserts make an impression on Mark and Lynn at the Hamptons Classic

Photogenic Lisa Ann and her wares

While attending the Hampton Classic late in August Lynn and I happened upon a great company out of Mineola, NY called Lisa Ann's Desserts.  Lynn really loved the Raspberry Jam Thumbprint cookies which were buttery and literally melted in your mouth.  Lynn was particularly impressed with the high end packaging which had exquisite detailing most notably grosgrain navy ribbon making for a great hostess/party gift (if you can avoid the temptation of devouring them beforehand).

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I (Mark) have written for The Christian Science Monitor, Clear Magazine, Picture Magazine, Film Score Monthly, Dan's Papers, Rue Morgue, In Flight USA and a lot more publications that I can't remember.... My wife Lynn was a model with the Ford Agency and her photography has been featured in most of the publications I have written for...


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