"Too Soon To Say Goodbye"
by Art Buchwald
"The Flame Tree"
by Richard Lewis
"A Dirty Job"
by Christopher Moore
"Little Big Heart"
by Dolores Wilson
"Forgive The Moon"
by Maryanne Stahl
"Tall, Dark & Dead" by Tate Hallaway
"How To Marry A Millionaire Vampire"
by Kerrelyn Sparks
"The Choir Boats"
by Daniel A. Rabuzzi
| "The Choir Boats" by Daniel A. Rabuzzi
(reviewed by Rick)
The opening of the novel's back cover blurb asks, "What would you give to make good on the sins of your
past?" In The Choir Boats, main character Barnabas McDoon is given that choice, and he is about to learn
what the things he thought he knew about the world is wrong.
Good novels are easy to come by. Excellent novels crop up less often. Extraordinary ones are rare treats.
The Choir Boats is one of the latter. In it, Daniel Rabuzzi starts in the real world of 1812 London and takes
the reader on a journey to Rabuzzi's fictional world of Yount, a sort of inter-dimensional world next to ours.
In some ways it's reminiscent of Verne's A Journey To The Center of The Earth, yet more it's mystical.
Yount requires special knowledge and almost magical circumstances for one to enter it. I found it to be a
truly fascinating place. The Choir Boats is the first of a trilogy, so I can look forward to enjoying even more
of it and this talented writer's imagination.
Billed as a "pre-Steampunk" novel (because it takes place circa 1812), The Choir Boats the reader is taken
into that historical period with the same crystal clarity of setting that Charles Dickens employs in his novels.
Further, Rabuzzi is clearly a lover of language and has a superb talent for inventing words and terms that look
like legitimate English words but are completely made up. When you have to consult a dictionary and find out
they aren't real words, an author has pulled it off. It reminded me of the "Dying Earth" series by celebrated
science fiction author Jack Vance.
I also had the distinct pleasure of meeting the author in person and securing an autographed copy of the novel.
If you enjoy historical novels with a light fantasy flavor--and especially if you enjoy Steampunk--do yourself
a favor and pick up a copy of this wonderful novel and wrap yourself in its tale. You won't be disappointed.
Now, for the "feed" part of this Read & Feed. Barnabas McDoon, one of the main characters in the novel,
loved an Indian dish known as hara masala. He ate it prepared with goat's meat, though the term actually to
the spice and seasoning mixture used in the dish. Therefore, my wife and I determined to be guinea pigs and
try it out. As Indian food goes, this spice combination is on the mild side, although you can add more chilies
to your taste.
Since we're not especially fond of lamb or mutton, my wife prepared it with boneless pork loin chops (which
would not be used in the region of Northern India where the dish originated). It can be made with a variety of
other meats as well, including chicken and fish. We have prepared it twice, with the same excellent results.
The recipe below is a slight modification of one provided courtesy of the author from the online blog
teatimeindubai.blogspot.com. Try it and you will understand why this exquisitely flavorful dish became
Barnabas' favorite. It's now one of ours. Savor the recipe and savor the novel.
HARA MASALA (GREEN HERB) GOAT'S MEAT CHOPS
This recipe cooks in two pans, one for the meat and the other for the onions. You will later mix everything
into the second pan, so be sure it's large enough.
1 lb. meat trimmed of fat
(mutton, lamb, pork loin chops, or boneless chicken)
5 Tbsp. plain yogurt (you can use low-fat)
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. ginger paste (or grind your own from fresh)
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. salt
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. garam masala powder
(This is available in any Indian spice store, or you can find recipes on the Internet. We used a chana masala
spice blend for chick peas.)
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 medium-sized onions, finely sliced
1 bunch fresh coriander leaves (fresh is much better than dried)
1/2 bunch fresh mint leaves
1/2 of a large green chili pepper (add more to taste)
5 cloves garlic
White or brown rice to serve the dish with
Cook the rice according to the directions so it will be ready when the rest of the dish is.
In a blender, chop the coriander leaves, mint leaves, garlic cloves, chili peppers with a little water and set
aside. This is the green paste.
Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a wok or frying pan. Place the meat in the oil and stir a little until lightly browned. Add
the ginger and garlic paste, yogurt, and salt, and stir again for a few minutes.
Cover and cook on high heat for about 10 minutes. Then lower the heat to medium and stir occasionally until
the meat is almost done. Do not overcook. Add a little water if necessary to keep it moist.
Add the masala powder and turmeric and stir for a few more minutes until the chops are fully done and all the
water has evaporated.
In a separate pan, heat the remaining oil and fry the onions until just translucent and soft. Add the green paste
previously prepared and fry for a few minutes until aromatic. Add the chops into the masala along with the
lemon juice, black pepper and more salt if needed. Cover and leave on the lowest heat setting for 10
minutes. Serve with the cooked rice.
|READ & FEED ARCHIVES
|READ & FEED
What is Read & Feed?
My wife Rose (a wonderful cook and
baker-- she's Italian) created Read &
Feed, which combines a book to read
and a recipe to try. Every month or two
we'll review a book one of us read and
|READ & FEED -- April 2010