Monday, September 9, 2013

September 2013

Hosted by: Rosie Merlin

Book: The Astronaut Wives' Club

Meal Theme: Midcentury

Minutes of the Meeting:  Eight out of eight thumbs down.  This was probably our group's least favorite book to date, with Radetsky's March a close second (sorry Molly).  Everyone agreed that it was poorly written, that the author would jump away from anything interesting after barely glancing at it, that she should have followed up by interviewing these women later and spending more time on fewer characters, going into greater depth with their stories.  There was also a general agreement that the repeating names was irritating (though not the author's fault) and made the poor characterization and development an even greater issue.

That said, the meal was (as always) tasty and included:

Nick's savory little wieners with their daubs of mustard.  (Precipitating a conversation about the wiping of the penis and whether it's necessary or superfluous.  I propose "wiping the penis" as a new version of the expression "gilding the lily."  Feel free to use it).

"Midwest sushi," which is cold cuts wrapped around cream cheese and pickles.  I may be the only person who truly loves this salty little treat, but since I'm the minutes taker, I'm putting it down.

Eric's salad, with its tasty miso dressing.  Not sure why it took an hour to assemble, or that those astronauts' wives were eating anything with miso, but it was good.

A very strange ball (Natalie) consisting of mashed shrimp, anchovies and butter.  I think she deserves bravery points for having blended this all together--and we do for having eaten it.

A very tasty tuna noodle casserole that had no mayonnaise in it and delicious panko topping.

A very boozy chocolate bundt cake, and a perfect pineapple upside down cake, courtesy of Robin, who managed to make it look like her usual pinup dessert.  (Dessert as pinup model, I mean.  Not only can this woman bake like the best of them, she could also double as a food stylist any day).

Rosie's icebox cake.  I've always wanted to try this concoction, and was NOT disappointed.

Dana's green bean casserole, minus Campbell's.  Robin declared the trashy version tastier.  Dana expressed dissatisfaction with the results.  But I think she was too hard on a perfectly good dish.

My own version of my mother's layered salad.

OVERALL: the meal was definitely leagues above the book, but that's how we roll in BVBG.


Guest appearance by Dahlia

Boxing with Rosie's extremel ill-mannered cat

Cocktails in Mason jars on the beautiful deck of the beautiful new(ish) house


  1. Those wieners were out of this world. (In keeping with the space theme...)

  2. Recipe right here:

  3. You know, one of these days, in the middle of the night, you (ALL of you) are going to wake up and say, in a voice of calm bliss, "Radetzky March" is the greatest book I ever read in my life."

    Just ask, for example, Zoe Heller:

    Joseph Roth's 1932 masterpiece, The Radetzky March, captures with remarkable fullness the abrupt passage of the Old Europe into the modern world.

    Or J.M. Coetzee:

    The Radetzky March is the great poem of elegy to Habsburg Austria, composed by a subject from an outlying imperial territory; a great German novel by a writer with barely a toehold in the German community of letters.

    Or Simon Schama:

    Those of us who are habitually guilty of the misdemeanour know how easy it is to bore for Joseph Roth. The Radetzky March, his 1932 novel of the Habsburg empire’s decrepitude, is so rivetingly peculiar that it inspires a kind of evangelical cult passion among its devotees.

  4. Furthermore, the wieners were out of this world.

  5. Yeah, I think Simon Schama definitely sums this one up.