Smiling Chef In A Snap: The Book Club

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When I hear the phrase book club I must admit that my brain has been culturally programmed to instantly think three things. First are the book clubs that are so intertwined into American culture. An estimated five million people across America participate in weekly reading groups. I remember the whole culture around book clubs hitting it off in the ’90s no doubt due to the influence that Oprah had through her book club.

Here in Australia ABC TV ran a series titled The First Tuesday Book Club which, as the title suggests, ran on a monthly basis. Between 2006 and 2012, host Jennifer Byrne and regular guests, author and blogger Marieke Hardy and journalist Jason Steger, discussed popular titles including The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas, J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The program has since been reincarnated as The Book Club and airs on the first Sunday of each month at 6pm.

In writing this I’ve suddenly remembered a popular children’s program that ran on weekday mornings called The Book Place. Aussie children of the ’90s will remember the cute (yet slightly creepy) Bookworm (What else), a talking worm puppet who would share a passion for books with the presenters, the most famous of these being Nuala Hafner, who went on to be a presenter and reporter for Seven. Here’s a little trip down memory lane for you:

 

This weekend some friends and I started our very own book club. It’s something we’ve wanted to do for ages because, let’s face it, we’re all complete and utter book worms ourselves. We decided to choose a new book each month, allowing for special themed months for genres including graphic novels, biographies and even cookbooks (with some non-fiction elements of course).

Playing around with the art filters on my Olympus OMD EM-10 I came across this funky setting (see image at the top of this post) that creates the appearance of artwork from a graphic novel (alas another reading reference). I thought it would be the perfect way to document our first book club session, complete with cheese, crackers and readings from George Orwell’s 1984 in Irish, Scottish and Brooklyn accents.

I’m looking forward to the exciting adventures in reading to come and would love to keep you posted. In the mean time I’ve just remembered I promised one more of my favourite memories of a book club from the popular Ten series Mr. and Mrs. Murder which ran for one season and starred Sean Micallef and Kat Stewart as crime scene cleaners with a knack for clearing up the mystery in more ways than one. The critically acclaimed show doesn’t seem to have gotten the all-clear for a second series, but if anyone from Ten or FremantleMedia just happens to be reading this article, this humble blogger would very much appreciate a return.

Stay tuned for more recipes to come this week.

Keep up-to-date with my foodie adventures in and around Sydney via my Instagram page @brendonthesmilingchef.

Happy Cooking and Keep Smiling,

Brendon 🙂
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