I've always wanted to join a book club, but never found a good fit for me so, I decided to start my own. After nagging my friend, Katherine, for many days, trying to convince her a "club" can equal two people, I finally got her to join me. Then, however, we got bogged down again trying to come up with a book. After a million "I already read that"s and "I don't want to read that"s, we came to a choice we could both agree on, The Quiet American by Graham Green. Neither of us knew much about the book except its supposed literary importance and the location of Vietnam as its setting.
Kat and I had the best of intentions to make this happen, but as we were both frantically busy this summer, we had to postpone our first meeting from the first week of July until August and then further. We may have stayed in this state of inaction if our friend Alison, author of the blog Lost In The Supermarket, hadn't decided to join our group. She cemented the deal when she offered to host a Vietnamese themed meal to go along with our book discussion.
My Bánh mì sandwich with ginger pork, brie, mustard, mayo, pickled
mushroom, carrots, red cabbage, cucumber and fish sauce. Noodle
salad and Pate on bagette on the side.
Alison's Quiet American menu featured ginger pork Bánh mì sandwiches, sided with spicy noodle salad, pate and brie with bagettes and edamame with kosher salt. The deliciously exotic food flavored our conversation discussing Green's novel, which tells of early covert American involvement with the Vietnamese French war in the mid 50's foreshadowing the longer American military engagement yet to come.
Pork pate with fresh mint and noodle salad in the background. Pyle, the
damaged protagonist of our story drank much Scotch throughout the novel,
so I had to follow suit.
The novel delves into abstract issues of personal responsibility versus the global/cultural consequences of our choices. The main character, Pyle says about the man he has dubbed the Quiet American, "I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he has caused".
I felt a similar way about Alison's menu, as I sat contemplating the trouble I would have to go through to eat this meal every day.