After years of being dormant, the jasmine plant in my dining room decided to bloom, delivering a delicate and sweet scent. It's the way I imagine the tropics must smell. The fragrance made it's way over the room divider, past the piano and found me settled in for the afternoon reading Memoir of a Sunday Brunch.
Like Julia Pandl, Ruth Reichl combined culinary adventures and family frenzies, but with stronger results. What I like about Reichl's books, beginning with Tender at the Bone, is that she lets the stories evolve slowly, unforced, and with no pretense of expecting laughter. Sure I laughed at many of Pandl's stories, but the big picture felt unframed.
Pandl writes with total sincerity, sharing stories of nine siblings working in a Milwaukee area based family restaurant. What was meaningful to her, she tries to make meaningful to readers. I had a hard time warming up to her central player, her father - a man I found mostly unlikeable. Mom understandably got lost in the shuffle as the family survived relocations, illnesses, and a fair amount of dangerous activity on the part of the siblings. And, she does mention Albanese's, an unpretentious - OK- a downright scary - pizza joint in Milwaukee that I discovered man years ago. Great pizza, though.
While I'm on a negative roll here, I have to say something about her style. Pandl's skill shone in parts of the second half, but I was confused by the formulaic, quasi-poetic snippets.
Just for kicks and giggles....my animal decided her head needed a good rolling, and roll she did, resulting in some fine static. Of course, by the time I got the camera out, her ear wings had calmed down considerably.
Early this morning, while surfing, I stumbled across the 1940 version of "Pride and Prejudice" starring Greer Garson as Elizabeth and nearly too handsome for words Laurence Olivier as Mr. Darcy. This is hardly a faithful to the book rendition, but the Mrs. Bennett character makes it worth watching. Mr. B's a hoot as well.
Public Ticket Sale
Monday, March 18
Lincoln Park Fieldhouse
For more info go to www.heartarama.blogspot.com
Thanks for stopping by. Maybe I won't be so crabby next week!