I’m much more comfortable writing than cooking. But a new book being released calls for a celebration, and that implies food.
When Lingo came out in 2014, my wife threw a surprise party, with friends, relatives and a professor. She sang a song in my mother tongue, the publisher sent a congratulatory video and a friend baked a Lingo cake.
A few days ago, Babel hit the shelves, and as I announced in my previous blogpost, I gave a dinner to a handful of neighbourhood friends. I’m not at all a foodie, and my cooking is usually of the ‘chop, mix and eat whatever’s there’ sort. But for this occasion, I sought out a whole range of Recipes, so as to serve my friends actual Dishes. As a belt-and-braces safety measure – after all, recipes offer no guarantee – I also bought some fool-proof stuff, mostly comforting drinks, such as wines, beers and sake, and ditto sweets, including figs, biscuits and baklava.
But in the event, everything went surprisingly smoothly. I spent six hours in the kitchen – easily a personal record – and the only things that some of the guests didn’t like were things I had not prepared myself: the biscuits (sticky communion wafers) and the Chinese plumwine (sickly sweet). In a word, I was quite the ‘kitchen prince’, as we say in Dutch. For a day, anyway.
Should you find this whole story a bit tantalising, think of it this way: you missed the binge, but you can still read the book. And you could even organise your own Table of Babel, if you are so inclined. Feel free to send me a message for more information about the dishes.