My newly published cookbook, Recipes for Redemption, serves up the wit and whimsy from the original text of the novel, A Cup of Redemption. As an example or as a little ‘amuse bouche’, please find the following:
CRÊPES de FROMENT
BRITTANY – 2002 – ST. MALO – ‘A crown of stone above the waves,’ wrote Gustave Flaubert of the magnificent walled city on the sea.
As the two women ventured farther into Brittany, rain fell gently upon them, off and on, light and misty at times, changing slightly with the wind. The November air felt cool but not cold, so as they traveled around the fringes of Brittany’s coastline, they popped in and out of the car enjoying the seascapes. It was early afternoon when they veered off the main road to stop in the walled city of St. Malo. The tide was extremely low. Old tugs and sailboats listed heavily to one side with their keels resting lazily in the mud. The two climbed from the car to follow a path where locals walked along the sea wall with their dogs, stopped to chat with old friends, or disappeared through the city gates. Before the majestic Solidor Tower within the city wall, others sat quietly on park benches to smoke or ponder the day. Sea gulls and pelicans skulked about the edges of the water in search of lunch, as the smell of salt, sea and seaweed wafted up to the two as they sought out a creperie. [A Cup of Redemption – Pg. 265-6]
**And as a special treat to you, my reader, I am including a part of a chapter which had been cut from the original novel, A Cup of Redemption, but tells more of the story of the women, politics and crêpes enjoyed in St. Malo.
“Hear that?” Kate asked. “I believe that’s my stomach growling.” Sophie, the quintessential tour guide, rose to the challenge. Kate’s appetite was one she herself did not have, but could certainly accommodate. She quickly moved back into her mode of ‘taking charge’ and off they went. Vite! Vite! Off to a number of little cafés which paralleled the water.
Unfortunately for them, it was nearing 2 p.m. and the cafés were preparing to close for the afternoon. Not to be daunted, Sophie asked for suggestions, and they were directed up the street to a little crêperie. As the door swung open and they entered the tiny shop, they were hit with the sweet smell of sizzling crêpes. The banter inside, between the owner and his patrons, was also rich—rich with talk of the national primaries which had taken place earlier that week.
“What are they saying?” Kate asked Sophie, as they slid into a booth near the bar.
“The owner of the crêperie is saying, after eighteen years of flipping crêpes, mind you, he has made the decision this very week to sell his business and is also thinking of leaving the country as well. It appears Brittany is not far enough away from the fray of presidential politics!” Sophie said with a toss of her head and a hearty laugh.
“Nothing good could possibly come from either Presidential hopeful,” the owner intoned. “But we will know shortly, as the run-off is due in another week.” He prepared crêpes at a fast clip as he bemoaned the thought of having to sell! “But, then, what is a Frenchman to do? Enough is enough!” he wailed.
“I’ve never had a crêpe made in Brittany, the crêpe capital of the world,” Kate whispered. She ordered two—they’re small, she thought—a savory one with a bit of ham and cheese, and a sweet crêpe made with a red berry confit with butter drizzled throughout and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Sophie opted for a savory crêpe, as well. But only one! The crêpes were served hot, steaming actually, and the brown lacy pancakes literally melted into their mouths.
“Did I even chew?” Kate asked out loud. “A quick cup of coffee is definitely needed now,” she said. But, while Kate had been totally engaged in eating, Sophie, like the Frenchwoman she is, was more interested in debating the issues of the contentious upcoming run-offs. Her laughter rang through the small café, and others joined in with her. She turned to Kate and said, “Just like I told you! People everywhere are planning to go to the polls with clothes pins on their noses—just to show their distain!!” She laughed again. They all laughed again, and their voices remained raised. “These people still live in France,” Sophie said, in way of explanation.
As the two slipped out the door, Sophie said yet again, “Those are Frenchmen for you; they never miss a chance to debate politics! I love that about my countrymen.” [Recipes for Redemption – pg. 76-77]