A Novel Affair: One Book Club's Success Story
Gastronomically, our club's approach tends to be low-key (give us guac and chips, and we're good to go), but for Eggers's book we decided to ratchet things up, inspired by the novel's exotic backdrop to serve a pan-African mini-feast. For recipes we turned to Marcus Samuelsson, a Swedish-raised, Ethiopian-born chef who's passionate about melding the flavors of Africa with the three-star cuisine he's been creating in the United States for years. Samuelsson enlists surprising combinations of spices: Sogba , a rum-based cocktail, blends aromatic bay leaves and mint with lime juice and ginger beer. Slices of cornbread are slathered with lemony hummus and tomato chutney spiked with methi, an Egyptian spice. Jumbo shrimp marinate in piri piri—a fiery Mozambican sauce of garlic, cilantro, and chili—before being wrapped in Bibb lettuce leaves. For dessert: a silky pudding of whipped cream and couscous topped with fresh fruit and coconut flakes.