I read avidly, mostly about food, and I cook all the time. I mean, a girl has to eat, right? So, I decided that if a book inspires me to get into the kitchen, I'll feature it in a series I'm calling - From Page to Plate. I already take part in a bi-monthly foodie book group called Cook the Books, but this is more fast, loose, and completely subject to my own whims. Here we go...
The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais was on a list of books that are being translated to the big screen this year. I mentioned it to a few girlfriends as soon as I saw the list, then I suggested it as a book club read for several moms at school. So, it's pulling multiple duties this year. And it happened to be at the top of the book heap on the side of my bed when I finished reading Twain's Feast.
The novel follows the footsteps of its narrator, Hassan Haji - from the slums of Mumbai to the zenith of Parisian haute cuisine. Don't be fooled by the title; his journey is many, many miles further than one hundred feet. But those hundred feet - between his family's Indian restaurant and a French restaurant across the street - launch his journey to a three-star Michelin chef.
I was excited to read this book. Food, India, Paris. Glowing reviews. I figured there was no way this book could disappoint. And it wasn't completely disappointing. But it felt more fairy tale-like and farcical than I thought it would be...and rife with cliches. I read somewhere that it's sort of like Slumdog Millionare colliding with Ratatouille. I can see that comparison. And it's worth a read just for the descriptions of the food. His prose is rich and luscious. Ignore the potholes in the plot.
Most of the time, I'll read a book, especially one that's been made into a movie, and leave it at that. I typically am disappointed by a movie adaptation. But this book has me incredibly curious about the translation from page to big screen. I suspect it might be a rare one and I will actually like the movie better.
I was going to bring Pots de Crème to the book group meeting, but our hostess told me that people almost always bring sweets; she wanted some savories. So, I decided to whip up some easy sweet potato canapés for a sweet-salty bite.
Ingredients serves a dozen with 2 canapés each
- 4 medium sweet potatoes
- 12 thin slices prosciutto
- crème fraiche
- chopped, fresh herbs
Cook whole sweet potatoes in simmering water for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they just become tender. Drain them and set them aside to cool completely.
Cut the sweet potatoes into thick coins and each slice of cured ham in half so there are 24 pieces of prosciutto. Layer 1 slice of prosciutto on top of 1 sweet potato round and top with a dollop of crème fraiche Dust with fresh, chopped herbs.