Book Club- My Mother’s Kitchen
This month it was my turn to choose our book, so we read My Mother’s Kitchen by Peter Gethers. Peter writes about his amazing mother, Judy Gethers and their relationship through stories about food and recipes. It turns out Judy is a big deal in the food world, so it was neat to hear about her working with people like Wolfgang Puck and Nancy Silverton before anyone really knew who they were. I loved reading about this amazing women, who started her career later in life when most people are getting ready to retire. She was a fighter and was loved by everyone. She had several strokes so she lost the ability to cook near the end of her life, but still had a positive attitude and worked to teach others what she knew about food. I liked seeing the relationship between mother and son and how it evolved throughout the book.
Of course I also loved the book because there was so much discussion about food and its role in our lives. Peter also shares several recipes in the book that his mom really loved and even some that he cooked for her and perfected under her guidance. I will say the one downfall to this book was Peter himself. He came across as more than a little entitled and that took me out of the book at times. I was willing to overlook that since the rest of the book was so heartwarming.
The other ladies also enjoyed the book (notwithstanding Peter’s entitled attitude). It brought about some emotional discussion amongst the ladies. I didn’t really think about it until now, but I am the only person in our book club that has lived in this area my whole life. The rest of the ladies are transplants so there was a discussion about guilt that is sometimes felt about living far away from home. We also talked about how hard it can be to watch a loved one’s health deteriorate, whether it’s a grandparent or parent. I think we were all still a little emotionally raw from our last book, Moonglow, I unintentionally chose another book that discusses family relationships, death and other tough issues. While some of our discussion was tough, it was also cathartic in a sense. It made me thankful for this group of ladies that I can share such personal discussions with. This is another reason I would recommend a book club, especially one that is all female. It has been an empowering, informative and nourishing experience I never knew I needed until I had it.
Book rating: I loved it and would recommend it to anyone! (9/10)
There was so much great food in this book! I made some of the recipes and also used one by Nancy Silverton. She is mentioned in the book and the author makes one of her breads, so it seemed only fitting to do the same (if you haven’t checked out the Chef’s Table episode on Netflix about her, you should!. Here’s the menu:
- Boule bread from Nancy Silverton’s Breads from the La Brea Bakery cookbook
- Epoissee cheese- a special soft cheese mentioned in the book that I just had to try!
- Homemade crackers
- Matzo Brei- a dish that combines scrambled eggs and matzo crackers
- Mocha pudding (recipe below)
While the book centers around Peter’s relationship with his mother, his other family members are of course mentioned as well. Later in his life Peter’s father developed a great appreciation for wines, especially Bordeaux. His dad didn’t mind spending a pretty penny for wine, but I didn’t want to go overboard.
I decided to go to Total Wine and More to see what I could find. I’m glad I did because the employee there was so helpful. While I am learning more about wines all the time, I still have a ton to figure out so I have learned to not be afraid to ask questions of the experts. I’d never had a Bordeaux so I asked for a recommendation. The guy at Total Wine gave me some great info! For one, the years 2009 and 2010 are great years for Bordeauxs it turns out. He also told me that you can save some money by selecting a Bordeaux near the St.-Emillion region. The Pomerol region is apparently the region more well-known for producing Bordeaux wines so the cost is much higher! He even showed me some examples of Bordeauxs from 2010 that cost $500 or one that was even $3500! Needless to say, this Chateau Arthus Cotes de Castillon is from just outside the St-Emillion region and was $20.
This red Bordeaux that was bold and fruity without being overwhelming. It was slightly smoky and had an after taste of dried fruits. It was delicious with the cheese we had and I think it would be tasty with a spicy red sauce. I will definitely be trying more Bordeauxs now!
Wine rating: Would drink again (8/10)
Next month we will be reading All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation by Rebecca Traister. It looks like an interesting read so I’m excited to check it out. Don’t forget to check out my Book Club Pinterest board where you can see all of the books we’ve read!
Have you read either of these books? I’d love to know what you thought! What else are you reading this summer?
In the book, Peter shared a pudding recipe that was made for him as a kid. I knew I wanted to make this for book club but also wanted to give it my own spin. I turned it into a mocha pudding by adding espresso powder and topped with some whipped cream flavored with Khalua and it was delicious!
Let’s get to it!
First whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt in a pot.
Mix the espresso powder into the milk. Now gradually whisk the milk and espresso powder into the pot.
Cook this over medium heat and stir with a rubber spatula until it’s boiling. When stirring, make sure you’re scraping the bottom of the pot because that is where the pudding will start to thicken first. Once the pudding is boiling, cook another two minutes.
Take it off the heat and mix in the butter and vanilla extract.
Now it needs to chill. You can either pour the pudding into one large bowl or four smaller serving-size bowls. Put plastic wrap on top, making sure it is directly touching the pudding. This will ensure your pudding doesn’t form a skin. Let it chill at least two hours to firm up.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt in a pot.
- Mix the espresso powder into milk and gradually whisk the milk and espresso powder into the pot.
- Cook over medium heat and stir with a rubber spatula until it's boiling. Cook another 2 minutes.
- Take off the heat and mix in the butter and vanilla extract.
- Pour pudding into one large bowl or four smaller serving-size bowls. Put plastic wrap on top, making sure it is directly touching the pudding.
- Chill at least two hours to firm up.