I live in Los Angeles with my husband and my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Eloise. I have recently returned from child care leave to my full-time job as a high school English teacher. My 2nd period class is convinced that I am from Canada because of my accent; however, I, in actuality, grew up primarily in a suburb just outside of Chicago.
When I was on leave, I spent a great deal of time cooking, though mostly for Eloise. Like many mothers, I made all of her organic baby food and obsessed over the supply of little plastic jars with green lids in my freezer. I cooked adult food from time to time too, but now that I am back at work I am sad to say that dinner is often a scramble for the easiest option. I am always on the lookout for easy and healthy family meals, but I might not get around to cooking them.
I also love theme-related eating. I made my first Weiner schnitzel before my husband and I went to see our first Mozart opera, and my first mint julep when we watched the Marx Brothers' film A Day at the Races. This interest naturally extends to my love for literature and now food-related fun for my daughter.
I suppose I am a pretty traditional gal. I like toile and damask prints and love an ornately set table!
Katniss' Carrot Soup
With this in mind, I began searching for a delectable carrot soup and found one in William Sonoma's Carrot Soup with Bacon and Chestnut Cream. It is absolutely delicious and would be more than worthy of gracing any Capitol table. This is a lovely choice for a book club meeting, viewing party, or brunch. It can be made twenty-four hours in advance of an event, and is sure to please any crowd.
Serbian Spirits for The Tiger's Wife
Obreht's beautifully written first novel is steeped in magical realism and set in an unnamed Balkan province similar to the one that Obreht herself lived in as a young child in the former Yugoslavia. Obreht tells the tale of Natalia, a young doctor who has grown up in a country ravaged by war, as she begins to come to terms with the death of her grandfather.
I loved the complexity of The Tiger's Wife and certainly recommend it to anyone prepared to be immersed in heavy themes. I recommend the Vruca Rakija to anyone who enjoys sugary hot toddies, or plans to spend an evening alone at a crossroads waiting for the deathless man.