Wednesday, December 3, 2014

{Pilot} Eat&Evaluate : Beloved by Toni Morrison {Recipe : Carbed-Up Cabbage Wraps}

What's Special About This Book:
Not often do you come across a book so coherently expressive with a storytelling voice so essentially creative.

Why I Picked It Up:
Well, don't judge me, but I read this for a school assignment. However, it was so unique and special that I chose to do it for my Eat&Evaluate Pilot anyway. I'm supposed to chose an epigraph for this novel and write an essay explaining my selection. But before this assignment, I've heard some about the plot of Beloved in one simple sentence, "It's about a woman who kills her child so she doesn't have to grow up in slavery." That was so stunning and interesting that I just had to read this iconic novel and see how I could understand such a mindset. I really wanted to see how Toni Morrison could make this out of words.

What Is It:
Beloved is a story illustrating how traumatic the effects of slavery are on Sethe and her family. With a ramifying past that haunts her sincerity, Sethe has killed her newborn child in order to prevent the young one from suffering the same future. The story centers around the supernatural presence of this child that was killed at birth. Seth's insistence that her love for her children surpasses any conscience wavers in coexistence with the evidence of her ruthless crime. As characters come and go in the house where Sethe, her family, and the ghost of the murdered baby stay, Sethe gradually chases a revival of her dead child. It is the reader's hope that she finds closure and purpose beyond this guilt.

The Evaluation:
The simple lay-out of this book was so direct sometimes I had to flip back a few pages and re-read in order to give myself extra time to digest. But that was the perfect template with which to tell such a blatantly truthful story. Toni Morrison wastes no time getting into the story, jumping in rapidly with rolling emotions and not stopping until a satisfying resolution. The book was occasionally hard to keep in with, because the story-spinning required imagination and empathy that was at points literally exhausting. Sometimes you will give a visible cringe when you come across a detail made more grotesque by the knowledge that this was true. Reading this book has allowed me to feel a connection to the mindset of slaves and freed slaves of that time. It carries you through every wave of motive and thought with in-depth hooks that before you follow any character's journey, you have become that character. I love Toni Morrison's way of telling Sethe's story, it is something that you wish to never live, yet admire in fiction.

Rating: This book was a dragonfruit! Those are my favorite fruits because they are so heavy with quenching fill, and have a subtle flavor that gets better from the first bite on. And the seeds are tiny and barely noticeable, but they give you something to chew on.

Audience: I joked to my mom about how this should be a must-read for any racists, to have an understanding, more open-mined perspective. But in all seriousness, this is one of those books that should be read in your lifetime once you are willing to stare straight into the cruelty of the American past. You know yourself best, there is some graphic plot in this book, but it only goes to show how terrible the philosophy of the former slave owners was: "Blacks are animals."


The Eat: Carbed-Up Cabbage Wraps!
Ugh. I loved this so much. The crunchy hydration of the cucumbers mixed with the barely hinted savoryness of the red bell peppers and the overt sweetness of the Japanese sweet potato... get in my tummy!

Recipe & Procedures

  • Cabbage
  • Japanese Sweet Potato
  • Sweet Red Bell Pepper
  • Cucumber

  1. Cut the head of cabbage into fourths and steam until pliable.
  2. Bake the sweet potato at 400° F for 1.5 hours if you want it sweeter OR boil covered until soft (can poke a fork through) if you want it less sticky and more starchy.
  3. Dice the cucumber.
  4. Dice the red pepper extra small.
  5. When the cabbage leaves are cooled, spoon in sweet potato, cucumber, and red pepper on the stalk end.
  6. Fold sides in and roll all the way down the leaf.
  7. Eat and enjoy with Beloved. (;

Meal or Deal?
The Deal! This book was actually better than those already scrumptious gimme-gimme wraps. Not at all saying the cabbage wraps weren't delicious. But this book was so poignant and honestly unlike anything I had ever read. Trust me, and give both a try!

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