I’m in a small book club with a few girlfriends and we meet as often as we’re able to breeze through books. That’s the upside to being in a smaller club; we’re not tied to a specific time frame to finish each book. The downside to being laid-back is that when you have a “so-so” book, it can take forever for the group to finish…and sometimes we just give up, meet anyway, and move on to the next book.
Last year one of my picks was the book Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz. It seemed like a good choice, even to the scrutinizing New Yorker:
Portia Nathan is a thirty-eight-year-old admissions officer at Princeton University, a place so discriminating that it can afford to turn down applicants who are “excellent in all of the ordinary ways” in favor of the utterly extraordinary—“Olympic athletes, authors of legitimately published books, Siemens prize winners, working film or Broadway actors, International Tchaikovsky Competition violinists.” Portia compares her job to “building a better fruit basket” and achieves career success by helping her institution pluck the most exotic specimens, but her personal life is permanently on hold because of a traumatic incident from her own college years that she has never come to terms with. Although the reader may unravel the mystery of Portia’s past before the plot does, the novel gleams with acute insights into what most consider a deeply mysterious process.
The book club, however? Didn’t agree with the New Yorker so much. In fact, we all found it pretty ho-hum, and at least one clubber never finished. Oh well, you win some; you lose some.
BUT, one thing that differed with this book from the other poor choices, and something I found to be fun regardless of the quality of the story, was that there was a recipe for Chicken Marbella featured in a chapter about a dinner party. Korelitz made such a big deal about this dish, that I decided that I must make it for the book club meeting since I picked the book and was hosting.
|This is what I picture the chicken to look like if it’s seared before being baked.|
I know what you’re thinking. Prunes, olives, capers??? Overall, the flavors married well, but if I were to make it again I would either sear the chicken before baking it OR I would remove the skin all together. When I made this recipe, the skin got gummy – the flavor underneath was good, but the skin was definitely in the way. Not sure if it’s dinner party worthy as the book suggested, but I’d make it again for family.