The family book and dvd/cd exchange! If you want to know what this is all about, see this post. Click here for the post on the selection for March.

The Red Violin

The month of April brought me a book and a DVD from Jill. Her selections were The Red Violin and Hallelujah! the Welcome Table: A Lifetime of Memories with Recipes by Maya Angelou.

First off we have The Red Violin. This is a movie that I really enjoyed and I hadn’t seen it in a long time. The music was beautiful and flows with the movie very well. The premise is that a Violin maker - Nicolo Bussotti (played by Carlo Cecchi) - loses his wife and child during the child’s birth shortly after making the “perfect” violin. The movie then follows the violin to a boy’s boarding school / orphanage, travelling gypsies, an english composer and soloist, to communist china and finally found and put up for auction. Throughout the movie there are flashbacks to the wife talking to a “fortune teller” that reads her future that the violin closley follows. There are also flash forwards to “present day” as the auction approaches and Charles Morritz (played by Samuel L. Jackson) tries to determine the “Red Violin’s” authenticty. Violin is a great movie with a well written script that is really made complete by John Corigliano’s original music and the wonderful performance by Joshua Bell on the solo violin. Bottom line, watch the movie. There are a few “awkward” scenes where the English composer needs “inspiration” to create his music. Other than that the movie is pretty clean and very watchable.

Next up is Maya Angelou’s cookbook. Now, I am not much of a cook so I didn’t actually make anything from the book (maybe sometimes I will…). What makes this cookbook different are Angelou’s stories from her life experiences that are peppered throughout. You may have noticed, but I am not a 77 year old African-American woman from the south so the stories were great to read as they were quite difference from anything I have experienced. Angelou’s variety of dishes is matched by her variety of life experiences ranging from Cold Potato Salad to Caramel Cake and being slapped by her teacher (and then seeing - along with her entire class - her Momma [actually her Grandmother] walking down to the school and slapping back) to dealing with (and standing up to) racism while visiting England.

In 1903, Momma had been married five years and had two sons. One bright morning, her husband told her that he was elacing. He explained thathe had recieved a call - the Call - to preach. To study and prepare for that awesome responsibility, he had to travel to Ada, Oklahoma, where an elderly preacher he had met at a conference woudl school him. Years later Annie Henderson found that the old Oklahoma preacher had had a beautiful and marriagable daugher and that my grandfather quickly began to court her. When it was legally possible, he married the daugher and never returned to Arkansas.

My grandmother was left with a two-room shack, a lively four-year-old who would later become my father, and a two-year-old boy who was crippled.

…[To make money while also trying to be with her children Momma slowly builds a small meat pie business that ends up serving many of the hungry workers in their town. Maya grew up in the building where the business was run for over 60 years!]…

Momma told me, “Sister, the world might try to put you on a road that you don’t like. First stop and look behind you. If nothing back theremakes you want to return, then look ahead. If nothing ahead beckons you enough to keep you going, the you have to step off that road and cut yourself a brand-new path.”

I would recommend this book both to read interesting stories about a time and culture that you have no experience with and also because the recipies look quote delicious!

Shalom and Happy Mothers’ Day!

  1. salmypal
    May 9th, 2005 at 20:08 | #1

    You had the recipe for caramel cake in your hands and you didn’t even attempt to make it???

  2. JillW
    May 10th, 2005 at 06:48 | #2

    ….and what about the smothered chicken?????

  3. May 10th, 2005 at 10:49 | #3

    I know, I know. Its pathetic. Maybe this month (since it is mom’s turn for it) I will get a chance…

  1. June 13th, 2005 at 21:00 | #1

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