Books so flavorful you can taste them

A sold-out barge full of women laughing their way around the river bend launches the San Antonio Public Library Foundation’s 2010 round of Literary Feasts, which translate literature into words you want to eat.  Diane Mathews and JoAnn Boone are hosting tonight’s floating feast based on the ultimate feel-good book for women, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  Ironically, though, Rubin recently blogged that she is far from being a foodie:

I must confess that I have very little interest in the ruling passion of Julia Child’s life. Food has never been very interesting to me. I love certain foods, of course, but I like very plain food best. I don’t get much of a kick from visiting new restaurants, or from eating a wonderfully cooked meal. Some people love exploring farmers’ markets or learning about how foods’ origins or cooking – not me. One of the sad aspects of a happiness project, for me, was to Be Gretchen and to admit to myself that this area of experience, so vibrant for so many people, leaves me cold.

Fortunately, JoAnn and Diane are, and so is Jason Dady.  Dady is opening four of his restaurants for feasts, with the first one at Insignia in the Fairmount on Tuesday, March 23, focused on a book firmly fixated on food, High Bonnet: A Novel of Epicurean Adventures by Idwal Jones.  According to Publishers Weekly:

This is a novel about food with a capital F, about meals, extravagant meals, had in fine dining rooms, country gardens and filthy taverns alike. As Anthony Bourdain (author of Kitchen Confidential) says in an introduction, in this book “everyone” from Jean-Marie’s confectioner uncle to the Gypsy coppersmith who mends the kitchen pots “is a gourmet or a gourmand, racing through life oblivious to all creature comforts but the pursuit of flavor.”

Celtic music, Irish food and plenty of spirits will be featured in the feast hosted by Joan Cheever and Trisha Tobin on April 15.   McCarthy’s Bar: A Journey of Discovery in Ireland serves as the inspiration for the dinner.  MacMillian describes author Pete McCarthy’s approach to his journey:

…traveling through spectacular landscapes, but at all times obeying the rule, “never pass a bar that has your name on it,” he encounters McCarthy’s bars up and down the land, meeting fascinating people before pleading to be let out at four o’clock in the morning.

Erasing the stereotype that all children are picky eaters is the thrust of Nancy Tringali Piho’s My Two-Year-Old Eats Octopus, the theme of Dady’s family-friendly feast on April 17 at Two Bros. BBQ Market.  AP writer Michele Kayal described Phio’s book:  “If you’re bent on raising a gourmet, this is your Dr. Spock.”

In a Publishers Weekly post, Frances Mayes writes,  “The happiness that suffuses my Tuscan days drove my pen.”  It drove her pen to describe many a good meal in Under the Tuscan Sun, the theme for a feast at Dady’s Tre Trattoria on May 18.  Note to self:  After returning from Merida, head to Tre for my favorite meal to split with Lamar –  grilled radicchio; goat cheese, pistachio and balsamic cippolini pizza; and, for dessert, a grilled peach with marscapone.

Other dinners include South Pacific on May 6 at Zinc Wine and Champagne Bar; Napa: the Story of An American Eden  on June 22 at Bin 555; and The Great Gatsby on July 27 at The Lodge.  Jill Giles Design created appetizing “bookplates” as the online invitations for each feast.

Proceeds from the Literary Feasts benefit the San Antonio Public Library Foundation.

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