This post was updated in January 2015 with new photography!
I love reading. I’d like to say I always have, but that’s not true. Growing up, as young as 7 years old, I was a complete fiend for books. Back then it was Nancy Drew and The Babysitters Club, but slowing it progressed to classics like Narnia (which Daddy read to me every night before bed) and Kit Pearson’s war trilogy (among her other fantastic reads). Then, it was Harry Potter and a brief stint with Danielle Steel (simply because my mother had the books lying around)… and then I got into the Halifax Grammar School. And I began to absolutely despise reading.
Before ever even attending a single class, the school sent me and my parents a summer reading list of about 20 books. They included things like Moby Dick, Catcher and the Rye, 1984, anything Charles Dickens… you know, the classics. Stuff that I – the unruly teenager – was absolutely not interested in whatsoever. I didn’t read any of the books on that list, but I bought a few.
That fall I began grade 9 at HGS. The kind of books we read? The Odyssey by Homer, a book that’s normally used in university English classes. To be honest, I’m having a hard time thinking of the other books, because we spent so much time on Homer, but you get my point. It’s like a billion pages long, written in the most ancient of English, and is basically all in code… advanced poetry as far as I’m concerned. Thus began my hatred for reading.
It didn’t get any better as time went on. The Iliad was next, along with Gulliver’s Travels, Frankenstein, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Great Gatsby, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Hamlet, Macbeth, A Streetcar Named Desire, A Doll’s House, Ghosts, Jane Eyre, and my very favourite, Pride & Prejudice.
Those of you who are familiar with those titles are probably thinking “Holy crap! Those are the classics of great literature! Lucky kids who went to HGS!”… I beg to differ. I took dance, had the lead in the school play, played on two soccer teams, went to church, was a Pathfinder, took piano and private voice lessons, and was doing my International Baccalaureate diploma, while still trying to be a normal teenager. I was not impressed when we flew through books like Hamlet in less than a month.
And that’s why I hated reading.
Then I got to university, which was definitely a lot easier and a big break. However, there was still about 50 pages per class to read each week, and while it was not novels, it was still time consuming. So I stopped hating reading, but I didn’t have time to read for pleasure. I wanted to, but I just couldn’t justify it.
Then, in third year, I got really smart.
And by smart, I mean clever. I wanted to read novels. I wanted to read great Canadian literature, English classics… everything. So I started choosing courses like “Introduction to the Novel” and “Canadian Literature” as my electives in third and fourth year. I was reading fantastic novels and literature as part of my school work… and it was completely guilt-free. Genius.
So that’s how I began loving books again. As you know, I graduated last spring. I found myself completely overwhelmed every time I walked into Chapters, because I wanted to read everything I got my hands on. So I started reading the novels I’d accumulated at home, but had never gotten a chance to read… but I always found that I wanted to discuss the amazing books I was reading with others… which is really difficult seeing as most people aren’t reading the exact same book as you at the exact same time. Then, it came to me (another genius idea): start a book club!
I pride myself on having some really intelligent and fantastic girlfriends. So I rounded them up and we began a book club. The meetings are pot-luck, and have rotating hostessing, and rotating book choices. It’s actually the highlight of my life (I know, I’m lame. I write a cooking blog, go to weekly watercolour classes and have a book club. How incredible hip of me.) We had 9 girls out to the first meeting (amazing, I know!) and there are 16 girls in the club. It’s actually the greatest thing ever. I love my girlfriends so much!
So… this blog entry is actually supposed to be about my potluck item for the first meeting, which was Crab Bruschetta. It’s a slow cooker recipe!
- 4 cups tomatoes
- 1 cup onion
- 2 tsps garlic
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsps balsamic vinagre
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsps sugar
- 1 lb crabmeat
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 1/3 fresh basil
- 2 baguettes or crackers or whatever
- Basically, you mix everything except the crabmeat, salt, pepper and basil leaves until the last hour (total cooking time is only 3 hours, all on low). And don’t make the mistake of buying shredded salad crabmeat... get the expensive chunky stuff, for sure. Much better... I imagine.
Anyway… everyone loves reading and everyone loves bruschetta. This post – and this dish – just added a little twist to two classics.