19 August 2013

reading // gulp by mary roach

(*note: if you're reading this post through a reader and it cuts off after the first paragraph, click through for the full effect! for some reason, it's getting cut off by the video underneath)

one of the things i did during the great void was join a book club. it's a small group that my co-worker started (we've never had more than five at a gathering) and i love it so much. i've never been in a book club, so i'm not sure how the selection of books usually works, but in our group we take turns choosing the book and hosting the club. a friend asked me recently if it was similar to the 'finer things club' from the office. ha! it kind of is.

somewhere along the line, we began to theme our dinners to the books. and we've had some epic gatherings: habibi by craig thompson and a mediterranean feast; grace by grace coddington with an indonesian spread; gods of gotham by lyndsay faye paired with oysters and champagne; anna karenina by leo tolstoy with rustic portobello stroganoff; gone girl by gillian flynn with gourmet frito pie; and damned by chuck palahaniuk served with a decadent seven deadly sins supper. this club's a keeper.

as you can tell, we've chosen a wide range of topics and titles over the months and it has kept things very interesting! august was my month to choose and to host, so i picked gulp by mary roach. oh, my gosh, do i love mary roach. are you familiar with her work? she's a science writer with a sense of humor. let me tell you, it is hard for me to get through non-fiction and her witticisms make it do-able. her newest work covers everything from taste and smell to stomach acids and bacteria to rectum smuggling and elvis' mega-colon. catch your attention?

i loved it (maybe too much?) and i have to give my friends props for getting through most of it -- there were some pretty eye-opening (and stomach-turning!) descriptions going on.

to go with gulp, i decided that a night of tastings would be fun - cheese, wine, and chocolate! plus, we did a fun and easy taste experiment that went along with a chapter in the book. now, i know nothing about cheese. give me a hunk o' colby from the local supermarket and i'm pretty happy. my sister is a bit of a connoisseur, though, so i consulted with her and spent a lot of time on pinterest looking up cheese plate anatomy.

turns out, it's not that hard. if i learned anything it's this: get a goat cheese, a brie, a bleu, and one or two hard cheeses (cheddar or manchego) and you're done. pair it with dried fruits, some nuts (walnuts or almonds work great), crusty bread, honey, a bit of mustard and you're good to go.

i picked up a chocolate sampler from a local dark chocolatier, dude sweet chocolate, and it was so much fun to go through the box and taste some truly inspired combinations. i think we all loved the honey and hated the radish!
it was a good night! we chose never let me go by kazuo ishiguro for september and i'm excited to start it! i read it a few years ago, but it's been long enough that i don't quite remember all the specifics, which is good.

what are you reading?


  1. This looks so fun! I want to join a book club, but I need some big readers in my friend group first. :) I'm about to jump into Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. Will look into mary roach, sounds great!

  2. i see figs. yum!

    your book club sounds awesome!

  3. Probably the greatest club of all time. I wanna do it too...!