Books benefit from attractive starters, layered and varied main courses and piquant endings . But although good ingredients help, it’s the treatment that matters. Usually slow, it takes time to prepare and longer to serve up but once digested, a book stays with us for life.
Some novels follow classic recipes while others are more pick ‘n’ mix. In the case of Love’s Register I put together a combination of first date, last supper and beanfeast. But in the end it’s a matter of taste. So here’s a few treats – food for thought from my latest novel. Enjoy. Leslie Tate
If Love’s Register was a three-course meal, what would be on the menu? HORS D’OEUVRE Dips prepared from a few of the book’s musical references:
a) I wish, I wish, I wish that something would happen…
b) I hope I die before I get old…
c) You’ve lost that loving feeling…
d) Hey hey, my my. Rock ‘n’ roll can never die…
e) All I’m askin’ is for a little respect when you come home…
f) “Rock the Casbah, Rebel Rebel, Voodoo Chile, hard-driven, swinging-from-the-gate stuff. And I know from travelling that The Stones can keep you going – energy, energy.” – James Lavender
MAIN DISHES A choice of three foodie scenes:
Cordon Bleu with the Martels ‘Derek prepared to carve while Vanessa and Richard took their places at the polished wooden table. It was long and grainy, with a centrepiece display of African violets and a French window out to a courtyard garden. A wine rack to one side held a selection of bottles, all French, sealed with wax and dated. Vanessa was put in charge of serving them.’
Hen House Bacchanal ‘A large patchwork cloth, fitted around the edges of an oval-shaped table, occupied the centre of the dining room. The cloth had been painted with two large staring eyes and an O-shaped mouth. Piled up with fruit bowls, leaf-shaped plates, flower-patterned cups and bottles of wine, it looked like an Arcimboldo.
“Fruit and wine,” said Victoria quietly, “please partake.”’
First Date Feast (Beth & James special) ‘Soon afterwards the food arrived. Brought on a trolley by the round-faced waiter, it was richly-scented and heated from below, green and yellow, bathed in sauces, with rice and veg piled in layers on oval-shaped dishes. The spread was laid, two plates were polished and a candle was lit at centre.’
DESERT Two specially-prepared delicacies, with ingredients from scenes in the book:
Cooler-than-thou Cake ’Jay mentioned hash cake. Sally asked about ingredients and if he’d got a recipe. A pocket search produced a broken ruler, a dog whistle, a log table and a yellow-edged notebook which, when opened, yielded the recipe in capitals with several variations, each occurring within a Platonic-style dialogue, bordered by snake signs and anatomical drawings.’
Birthday Cake for Vanessa “Eyes closed everyone!” Richard called from the kitchen, bringing out a shop-bought cake, topped by candles…
“Open sesame!” he cried, taking his seat.
“Oh, look!” said Ruth. The cake was white and brown, ribbon-wrapped and studded with Smarties. The candles lit the room.
And after the meal? A good, satisfying read, of course. So here’s a postprandial summary of Love’s Register and a few links to where you can obtain it.
Love’s Register tells the story of romantic love and climate change over four UK generations. Beginning with ‘climate children’ Joe, Mia and Cass and ending with Hereiti’s night sea journey across Oceania, the book’s voices take us through family conflicts in the 1920s, the pressures of the ‘free-love 60s’, open relationships in the feminist 80s/90s and a contemporary late-life love affair. Love’s Register is a family saga and a modern psychological novel that explores the way we live now.