As February moves past its half-way mark, I am forging ahead with my renewed Foodie Reads Challenge. I picked up a copy of Murder in the Generative Kitchen by Meg Pontecorvo* after I saw it mentioned in last month's Foodie Reads collection.
On the Page...
While the concept is interesting, I was more than a little disappointed with the execution of the book.
Set in the not-too-distant future, we are introduced to the Vacation Jury Duty system where sequestered juries enjoy an all-expenses paid vacation while watching the trial via virtual reality. This particular jury is enjoying their civic duty in Acapulco, Mexico, far from their hometown of Chicago. The case? A woman is accused of murdering her husband by using her high-tech generative kitchen.
"'On the night of her husband's death, no other person came near that kitchen while Mrs. Ellis mde dinner. And the evidence will show that the presence of cyanide in Mr. Ellis's food was no accident: the advanced nature of the generative kitchen leaves no possibility for error. Likewise, because a generative kitchen must be programmed to suit its owner's needs, Mrs. Ellis must have carefully planned the means and method of her husband's demise'" (pg. 2).
I longed for more description of how the generative kitchen worked and more of an exploration about its artificial intelligence. That would have been more fulfilling than reading about Julio trying to outsmart the Vacation Jury system.
They're sequestered. We get it. He's lonely and horny. We get that, too. But I certainly didn't need to read 81 pages about it. Yes, I did write 'eighty-one.' That's the other thing that bothered me about this book: it felt incomplete. It fell somewhere between a short story and a novella, but it just ended. Abruptly.
I wanted to make a recipe with "bitter almonds" as that's what was used to murder Mr. Ellis. I learned that there are three different types of almonds: sweet almonds which is what we usually find at the store; bitter almonds which are high cyanide-containing almonds and I have no idea where to find them; and "bitter almonds" that are actually the pits from stone fruits such as apricots, cherries, and peaches.
I decided to share my recipe for Italian amaretti. These are one of our favorite cookies, easy to make, and not poisonous! Enjoy.
- 2 egg whites
- 1 C organic granulated sugar
- 2 C ground almonds
Beat egg whites to stiff peaks. Gradually beat in sugar, again, forming stiff peaks. Gently fold in ground almonds. Spoon mixture onto parchment paper and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Bake in a 375 degree oven till the cookies are firm and the tops cracked, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and place baking pan on a rack to cool. When cool gently peel cookies from parchment.
*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.
Here's what everyone else read in February 2017: here.