Romancing the Recipe

Caution! Before reading, identify local Italian deli’s, restaurants and grab your shopping list because you will definitely crave warm, soothing Italian comfort food and an espresso or two as you read this romance novel woven with recipes...


Book Review: Season of Salt and Honey

Author: Hannah Tunnicliffe

Caution! Before reading, identify local Italian deli’s, restaurants and grab your shopping list because you will definitely crave warm, soothing Italian comfort food and an espresso or two as you read this romance novel woven with recipes...

“Perhaps Italians know that hunger feels too much like sadness. They know that to love someone, to make them happy, means ensuring they are fed.” (p. 45)

And so the joys and sorrows of an American-Italian family who love food are served to you in these pages. Your mouth will water for all the scrumptious food as the author, Hannah Tunnicliffe, unfolds this story and sprinkles in a few recipes — not near enough for this to be a “cook book” — yet it definitely is a cook’s book — one that will stir your heartstrings, ignite your imagination and, before you continue reading, have you in the kitchen for tea and Banana Bread (p. 194) — who doesn’t love warm banana bread that’s easy to make? The eight recipes offer wonder-full appetizer to desert suggestions (except [sad face] for the Dandelion bread I so want to taste).

“My generation expects the world to yield to our command, to do as we bid it. How naive we are.” (p. 69)

We experience in these pages the opportunities that present themselves when family and friends spend time together, especially during meals. The young learn from the old, the old from the young and only then do we, can we move forward together, unstuck.

“A lot of Italians garden using moon charts like I do,” Merriem says. “You’d think it wouldn’t sit so well with the Catholic side of things, but it seems to. Food must be too important to get messed up in religion.” (p. 67)

And so we experience through Hanna’s characters that the trials of life are tempered and sweetened with something good-to-eat. Through traditional family-favorites and new recipes from acquaintances who become our extended family, we can create meals and share our life stories. Even more important are the tried and true recipes for living — the dos and do nots — learned in the conversations, observations, interactions before, during and after a delicious meal is lovingly prepared and served.

Once the food is cool enough, I eat as though I’m starving. The potatoes’ skins squeak when I bite into them; the risotto tastes of soft, pungent scapes; the freshly cut asparagus is so crisp and sweet you could almost mistake it for fruit. Merriem smiles at me. We are all holding our stomachs by the time Merriem clears the table and brings out dessert, a bright pink and sticky rhubarb tart dotted with edible flowers. She doles out big scoops of homemade vanilla ice cream with a silver spoon she affectionately refers to as “the shovel,” then adds a chunk of honeycomb to each of our bowls alongside wedges of the tart. Papa’s eyes are wide. It’s a feast worthy of Caputos. Merriem laughs at our expressions and implores us to leave what we can’t eat, but of course it’s so delicious we find corners and crevices in our bulging stomachs. Halfway through dessert I notice Jack adjusting the waistband of his pants, and when he catches my eye we smile at each other.” (p. 132-133)

Family and friends who enjoy cordials will love this home-made treat that you prepare just for them. This cordial takes time to cure so make in the Spring for Wintertime hostess and holiday gifting. In fact, wouldn’t it be fun to gift the book with the cordial?

Rosolio alle Erbe

Herb Cordial (Liqueur)

A sweet after-dinner liqueur that was originally made using rose petals but is now made with a variety of ingredients and flavors, including lemons, berries, and oranges. Rosolio improves as it ages, so drink after storing for approximately two to nine months. Makes about 3 quarts

Tunnicliffe, Hannah (2015-09-01). Season of Salt and Honey: A Novel (p. 292). Touchstone. Kindle Edition.

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