No, I am not starting a cooking club. This is the title of a lovely book that came in the mail from Harper Collins. Yes, Monday Morning Cooking Club, subtitled the food, the stories, the sisterhood. It emerges from a group of Sydney (yes, Australia) Jewish women who began meeting on Monday's in 2006. They sought out recipes -- through email and other means, and spent 3 years trying them out, refining them, and, eventually, undertaking this book. The book is a delight -- its recipes are dandy (and include a flourless almond florentine that someone I know will love), and the stories are well-told. They range -- from tales of grandmothers and migration, from lives lived in Shanghai or Russia to Poland or South Africa or the Netherlands, spiced with curry or mint or ginger.
The book is effective at carrying its message that food is about more than survival -- it is about the soul. What I like about this is that the book is not preachy in any way; it simply reaches out to the reader in a somewhat (oddly) kind way that is nearly tangible. The photography, by the way, is also a delight. I love it that on page 77 one writer notes that her grandmother made strudel -- and that she pronounced it 'schtroodel" -- something that makes me think with fondness of a recently deceased family member.
So: this is a dandy book. I will continue to read it fondly -- and unlike some, I am likely to make recipes from it. I hope you do too.