Our August selection is the second book we’re reading this year that shares with us some insight into Indian culture, and in this case, into the life and struggles of a fictional character. The book is The Hundred-Foot Journey, the first novel by journalist Richard C Morais, who has spent most of his career at Forbes.
In this book, the main character, Hassan Haji, a Muslim from India and a talented cook, moves to France after a tragedy. His family opens a small Indian restaurant in a small town… stepping right into the territory and on the toes of Madame Mallory, the local celebrated French chef. After a bit of a culinary war, Mallory takes Haji under her wing and mentors him. Hassan eventually goes to Paris to take on French haute cuisine. The book raises questions of cultural identity and following your destiny… even when it seems a foreign one. The Hundred-Foot Journey has been called a fable, a culinary Slumdog Millionaire, and has been compared to Disney-Pixar’s Ratatouille.
Join us at 6pm on Tuesday, August 9, for a special treat: The Birmingham Indian Food Lovers will demo how to make a homemade curry with rice. Mmm! We’ll meet at LivonFifth, 2201 5th Avenue South (leave a comment to get an email for directions), and we’ll talk about The Hundred-Foot Journey.
Sign up to take part in the Harry Potter Readathon, and help raise money for the Desert Island Supply Company. The Readathon starts at 6am on Friday, July 22, at the Emmet O’Neal Library, and ends on Sunday, July 24, at 3:33 pm. Read 10 minutes of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows during the 3,453-minute (approximately!) readathon. Check out the Hogwarts Food & Craft Fair. Enter a costume contest. Sip some butterbeer. And help the Desert Island Supply Co. raise the money to build a very cool writing center for kids in Birmingham! DISCO is trying to raise $60,000 to build out its space in Woodlawn and give children in Birmingham opportunities to write. Kids and adults are welcome to participate. For more info, to sign up to read, or to sponsor someone who’s reading, visit www.desertislandsupplyco.com/harry-potter. You can also follow on Twitter using the hashtag #hpreadathon.
Save the dates: September 13 through 17, 2011, for Birmingham’s first Eat Drink Read Write Festival. In the works: A local tomato tasting, a mini foodie-film festival, a night of awesome Food Stories (share yours!), cupcakes, pie, beer tasting, life-changing conversations, and more! The festival is a collaboration between the Birmingham Public Library, the Birmingham Foodie Book Club, Slow Food Birmingham, and the Desert Island Supply Company. The Foodie Book Club will kick off the Festival on Tuesday night at the downtown library with an open-to-the-public discussion of our September pick, Tomatoland by Barry Estabrook. Follow the Festival on Twitter @EatDrinkFest for more details as they become available. Get ready to eat, drink, read, and write!