Sunday, January 11, 2009

Book Hunger

A Memoir with Recipes
by Nani Power

Is miraculous: “The growl of the stomach becomes the ache of the heart, becomes the screech of the banshee, the warrior’s yell, the beat of the Mongol’s drum, a song of vengeance.” Equally brave, raucous, odd, the memoir haunts not for Power’s bear-eating tips or raccoon recipes, but for her gothic characters, her depth-of-vision, her kindness. She's a traveller who, luckily for us, digs in deep wherever she finds herself - Virginia, Maine, Iran, Peru, New York City, Rio, Mexico, Japan. Her Iranian Bademjoon Khorest was a red bleeding wonder of sour/tender eggplant & lamb (where was my camera for this?).

I must also try Power's "tiny surreal jewels. . . bright and glittery and crackled against each other like fall leaves" Candied Mint Leaves, her musky curried-leaved Aloo Paratha, hot Brazilian Feijoada or Xuxu de Galinha (perhaps put together in a "fio dental" bikini for authenticity's sake?).

To end at her beginning: "This is a book about hunger. You could call it longing, in a more poetic sense, but hunger implies a physical need, an instinctual force that is relentless. . . the invisible chain that threads our memories to our heart, insistent and throbbing. . ." Amen.