2/23/07

Huckleberry Book Club




Today I participated in one of my “highlights of the month”. I have certain things that are a standing monthly appointment on my calendar, and I rarely miss them. Today was one of them. Today was book club.

We have been going about two and a half years, and have seen a few changes in that time. When we originally began, the book club consisted of JR, SD, NP, VG and myself. Our first book was “Like Water for Chocolate” by Laura Esquivil, a novel filled with Latin mysticism and wonderful chocolate recipes sprinkled throughout. That day we were asked to each bring something chocolate to share with the others. At most gatherings, white and red wine are also served, along with tea and coffee.

I tried my hardest the first few times we met to get a real discussion about the book going. I downloaded discussion questions off the Internet and tried to have meaningful discussions about the themes and characters in the book. But it became obvious that our group was destined for a much Higher Purpose.

We were destined to solve the world’s problem under the ruse of being a book club. As we gather together, we usually all have read the chosen book. We take about 10 minutes to discuss what we liked or didn’t like about the book, then the next hour and 50 minutes are spent enjoying fabulous food we have all prepared, sipping the beverage of our choice, and discussing how we can make the world a much better place….well at least through our eyes.

After our original group met for a couple of months, we added MV. We usually rotate whose house me meet at, and, depending upon the book, there may be a theme for the food we are to share. But when the food part got to the seven course meal stage, Jill decided we needed to pare it down a bit and each just bring a small snack.

The name of our book club came about after reading “The Blackberry Tea Club: Women in their Glory Years” by Barbara Herrick, a woman MV had been acquainted with when she lived in Boise. It is a fun book about women in their mid to later years being content with who they are and taking some chances. After reading this book, it made you proud to be in this sisterhood.

MV chose this book because the women in it reminded her of our group. Especially this paragraph that helps the reader understand how the book was titled.

“We've been friends for ten years, last count, starting with conversations late at night at a bar where we sipped Blackberry Tea—a lovely ferment of Triple Sec, Grand Marnier and blackberry tea. We talk children, men, jobs, weight, clothes, food, travel, gossip, politics, medicine, healing, spirituality, adventure, books—the works.”

But, since this is the Silver Valley, we didn’t have Blackberry Tea. Instead MV made us Huckleberry Tea, with all the fancy additions mentioned above. And believe me, a tea cup is all you need of that concoction!

As we started getting a bit more organized and planned ahead what we were going to read, we wanted to have Hastings start ordering our books so we could get the book club discount. We needed a name. Because of the fun we had with the Huckleberry Tea, we decided on the name The Huckleberry Book Club.

Some traditions have evolved in our group as well. When we meet at Christmas each year, we now have a cookie exchange. This year, along with the cookies I shared with the ladies, I composed a special cookie exchange writing to accompany my tasty treats. I got this idea from my sister InlandEmpireGirl, who did the same thing with her cookie exchange. She wrote about the cookie recipe she was sharing with her friends. The writing can be found here.

Last spring, VG moved away, and we had a lovely dinner party for her hosted by JR and her husband at their home, and our husbands were included. It was a wonderful way to say one last goodbye to our very dear friend.

This fall, MG joined our group. She has been a wonderful addition, and today marks our first gathering at her home for book group. She picked the book “Cold Mountain” by Charles Frazier. Unfortunately, I didn’t get around to reading it, because I found another book at the library that day to read, “The Devil in the Junior League” by Linda Francis Lee, a fun look at the social structure of the Junior League deep in the heart of Texas. I read that book, then started my blogging obsession, and didn’t quite get around to reading “Cold Mountain”. Ooops!!

MG prepared quiche and a chocolate dessert, and we all brought something to accompany that menu. I prepared my special potatoes, a dish I created myself where you fry potatoes (preferably red or Yukon gold) in olive oil, and add McCormick’s Montreal Steak Seasoning and cream cheese. You can also fry up some onions first before you add the potatoes. And some days I add a few eggs to the mix. They are DELICIOUS!!!

Our ages range from me in my early forties, to a few early fifties, and a couple in their sixties. How fortunate I am to gather monthly with these women to learn and glean their wisdom and experiences each month.

Today we had a wonderful time at MG’s house. Her quiche was very tasty, and we also had my potatoes, a broccoli salad and an oriental cabbage salad, and some fresh blueberries. MG then served a wonderful chocolate dessert topped with a vanilla ice cream/kahlua mixture that was very tasty. MV brought us all a primrose to help us get in the mood for spring approaching. Which is good because the snow keeps coming down today.

Next month our book will be “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter”, written by Kim Edwards. Other book recommendations that were shared today include:

“Amos, You Can’t Ride A Dead Horse” by Stanley Gordon West
“The Sojourner” by Marjorie Kennen Rawlings
“Woman in White” by Wilke Collins
“The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse” by Louise Erdrich
“Composing a Life” by Mary Catherine Bateson
“Sister Bernadette’s Barking Dog” by Kay Burns Flory
“The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne

Time to get off the computer, grab a book and start reading. Let me know if you have any good books you have been reading lately. Our club is always looking for suggestions.










4 comments:

InlandEmpireGirl said...

I loved reading the story of your book group. My group is reading the same book next? We will have to compare notes. I loved to read your cookie story again. I need to try those recipes also.

Katrina said...

What a lovely idea--and I love your book club's name and history! You've inspired me to look for a book club of my own!

Anonymous said...

In the Time of the Butterflies
By Julia Alvarez
Great book Enjoy.
From PA

Silver Valley Girl said...

Thank you so much for the book recommendation. I just looked up what it was about, and it sounds fascinating. I always enjoy books based on true stories, and learning about a different culture, and a piece of history I really know nothing about. I'll add this to my list.