I read the first recipe, an appetizer made of lemon gelatin poured into a banana skin filled with little banana balls. “When opened, the banana looks like a mammoth yellow pea pod,” I concluded triumphantly. “Can you imagine a world in which that sounds like a good idea?” I could. I could put myself in the dining room with its fussy papered walls and hot air. I could see the maid carrying in this masterpiece, hear the exclamations of pleasure from the tightly corseted woman of the house.
But the magic didn’t work for Mom; to her this particular doorway to history was closed. So I tried again, choosing something more exotic. “Listen to this,” I said, and began reading.
“Wild strawberries were at their peak in the adjacent forests at this particular moment, and we bought baskets of them promiscuously from the picturesque old denizens of the woods who picked them in the early dawn and hawked them from door to door. The pastry was hot and crisp and the whole thing was permeated with a mysterious perfume. Accompanied by a cool Vouvray, these wild strawberry tarts brought an indescribable sense of well-being."
Anything?” I asked. She shook her head.
Excerpted from The Supper of the Lamb by Robert Farrar Capon. Copyright © 2002 by Robert Farrar Capon. Excerpted by permission of Modern Library, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.