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A Bowl of Olives: On Food and Memory by Sara…
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A Bowl of Olives: On Food and Memory

by Sara Midda

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A Bowl of Olives: On Food and Memory is a lovely little book, beautifully illustrated with tiny watercolor paintings of olives and figs and rabbits and vegetables and wine bottles. The emphasis is on the word little – on some pages, the writing is so small that it is almost impossible to read. The pages are full of tiny watercolors, small-scale photographs, leaves and flowers and fruits in a wonderful color palette. The paper is heavy and more textured than an average book, and the font is chosen to mimic handwriting. I spent a long flight studying the tiny charts on how to cut cheese correctly, miniature photos of bamboo implements, drawings of dogs and stone walls.

It is a food-lover’s journal of places visited, meals eaten, tastes remembered, There are recipes and recommendations: what to eat in Morocco, perfect foods for summer days and nights, the best way to prepare parsnips. I loved the pages on choosing the perfect mug, food memories, and the chapter on the history of olives and olive oil.

It’s really a beautiful book, but I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with it, now that I have enjoyed the first reading. It’s not the sort of thing I’m likely to read again (at least not after I try that recipe for Onions Monegasque). It would have been the perfect stocking stuffer for food-loving friends; I know a number of people who will enjoy reading the tiny print and smiling over the tiny pictures. Whether they will use it to suggest table settings or ideas for onion tarts, I can’t say for certain, but it will be a lovely addition to their shelves and certain to bring a smile.

My copy of A Bowl of Olives: On Food and Memory was an Advanced Reader Copy, provided free of charge.
  LisaLynne | Jan 29, 2015 |
A Bowl of Olives is one of those cute little books you pick up just for fun. Full of delightful illustrations in each chapter, recipes scattered through the book that range from Onion Tart to Tarragon Chicken. Lots of food memories and descriptions of how to do place settings and having a picnic. I loved reading through this little book, the only complaint I had is the print is pretty tiny. the wonderful illustrations make up for it though. It is one of those little books you could keep on the coffee table, even though it is a small book, for your guests to look through. ( )
  celticlady53 | Jan 24, 2015 |
This is a lovely little paean to food made up of pastel watercolors, photographs, recipes, memories, food trivia, and quotations.

As an example, there is a section on Eggs, which begins with a quotation from Samuel Butler: “A hen is only an egg’s way of making another egg.” The author then tells you about the symbolism of eggs and associated superstitions; a lovely picture showing you eggs in many of its variations (hard-boiled, poached, scrambled, etc.); and an explanation of The Egg Dance, a traditional Easter dance in olden times.

There is information on herbs and greens, fruits, vegetables, spices, jams, guides to setting the table, and having a picnic, inter alia.

This would make a perfect gift book, or addition to your kitchen or coffee table to savor when you’re looking for just a soupçon of savory inspiration. ( )
  nbmars | Dec 18, 2014 |
A Bowl of Olives: On Food and Memory by Sara Midda is a little gift book with charming artwork. It is more about the illustrations than the content; no stories underlie the illustrations and brief descriptions. The individual illustrations are lovely, but the small size of the artwork and the print makes it challenging to fully appreciate the art or the content.

Read my complete review at: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2014/12/a-bowl-of-olives-on-food-and-memory.htm...

Reviewed based on a copy received through a publisher’s giveaway ( )
  njmom3 | Dec 15, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0761145265, Hardcover)

From the author of the international bestseller In and Out of the Garden and the wondrous sketchbook Sara Midda’s South of France comes a long-awaited treasure of a book. Drawn from the artist’s wealth of impressions and memories, it is a book for lovers of food and art and fine gift books—a book for anyone who, upon arriving in a new town, seeks first the local market, or who believes the best thing to do on a given night is to share a table with friends.

Sara Midda is a watercolorist whose delicate and beautiful paintings shine like jewels, evoking the sweet purple taste of a summer raspberry or the silvery greens and gnarled burnt umber of an olive grove. And she is also a collagist, weaving together photographs, line drawings, her personal swatches—all the hues of a spice cabinet, or the sensations of a picnic, the colors of the breeze, sunshine, laughter, the cooling grass. And a poet, in love with words that sing, like podding and wicker, nettle and snug.

By turns reverent and playful, A Bowl of Olives is a work of pure enchantment, celebrating food—of the seasons, of family, of travel and memory. It is as richly layered as a favorite meal.

The book is cloth-bound, jacketed, and printed on uncoated stock to convey the feeling of an artist’s sketchbook.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:09 -0400)

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