IT'S BEEN A HARD DAY'S NIGHT, I SHOULD BE SLEEPING LIKE A LOG..
I have just finished a highly praised graphic memoir Epileptic by David B. lent to me by my daughter. It was originally published in
Born Pierre-Francois Beauchard, David B. grew up in a small town near
I found the whole book a disturbing read, and was often tempted to turn two or three pages at a time to avoid some of the images, if this were the first graphic novel I had read, I might well have been discouraged from reading any others as it is very dark and at times depressing. However it did make me think hard about how a whole family suffers when one member has a serious illness, and the way that siblings of a sick child are frequently sidelined by parents who are stretched to breaking point coping with the situation. The book also made me much more aware of the stigmatism of epilepsy, the lack of public awareness or understanding - attitudes which I suspect are much the same now as they were when David B. was growing up.
Critics of the "graphic novel" as a form of literature often imply that they are merely "comic books", a simplistic story with lots of pictures which just illustrate the words. In fact a true graphic novel (and there are many wonderful ones, Maus by Art Spiegelman and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi to name but two) does much more than that. The emotions and ideas of the writer/artist are often expressed visually and not in the text, so everything melds together melds together to provide something that is more complete than either the words or pictures could do on their own.
Salman Rushdie is not my favourite author. He is not even on my top ten list of favourite authors. I have read three of his books, and each time I felt as though I was eating too much very rich fruitcake. The patterns of words got in between me and the story he was telling. Nevertheless, I believe that all authors should be free to write what they want in their fiction however much some people may dislike it, and I think
Now the whole bloody brouhaha has erupted again because Rushdie has been given a knighthood in the recent Queen’s Birthday Honours.
We Britons are giving
Yesterday I was reading something about ancient Rome and it got me thinking about what the Romans ate. After all, this was long before the discovery of the New World with all the fruits and vegetables that have come from there. So, no maize, no tomatoes, no potatoes....therefore no pizza toppings, tomato sauces, potato gnocci and probably no pasta either. What little I know of the Roman diet can be boiled down to half a dozen ingredients - spelt (grain and flour), honey, various herbs (mint being particularly popular), dormice(!!), and garum (a liquid made from fermenting fish heads and innards in water and vinegar).
I had de-frosted some lamb steaks for dinner and decided to experiment and attempt a dish that could have been eaten in Ancient Rome. Not having any garum, I decided that Thai Fish Sauce (Nam Pla) was probably the nearest modern equivalent. It was a great success, so without further ado Ladies and Gentlemen I give you:
CAESAR’S LAMB STEAKS
Mix the honey, fish sauce and fresh mint together, season with a good grinding of pepper (I did not use any salt as the fish sauce is quite salty enough). Place the steaks side by side in a shallow oven proof dish and brush half the honey mix over them. Turn them over and brush the remainder of the honey mix over the other side. You can now leave the steaks in the fridge until you are ready to cook them.
Pre-heat the oven to190°C. put the uncovered dish into the hot oven and cook for 10-15 minutes. Open the oven and turn the steaks then continue to cook for a further 10-15 mins. Remove from oven and serve on hot plates with vegetables of your choice, or with a mixed salad. (Last night we had these with fine green beans mixed with fresh broad beans, and some