Book Reviews

Review — A Bowl of Olives: On Food and Memory by Sara Midda

A Bowl of Olives: On Food and Memory by Sara Midda. Source: Workman Publishing via Shelf Awareness. Format: Hardcover, 128 pages, Workman Publishing, Workman Publishing Company, Inc., 2014.

A Bowl of Olives is an enchanting little book brimming with watercolors and illustrations, quotes and recipes, and author Sara Midda’s experiences and memories told in poetic prose. The book is of lovely quality, printed on thick, sweet-smelling pages. I was overjoyed to find something as thoughtful as a merlot-colored bookmark attached to the spine, and the naked book has a watercolor of a bowl of olives set in the front cover.

Midda shares her love of art and food by combining pictures and words to inspire and warm you. She takes you on a journey to the green market, to dining settings, and to her fond experiences concerning food and friends, and elaborates on certain edible groups: eggs, salads, fruits, vegetables, seasonings, and, of course, olives. Her watercolors are delicate yet detailed, her writing beautiful and minimal. The quotes she has selected complement this whimsical collection, making you pause, then smile.

Inside you’ll find… how leaves were once used as food wrappings… the symbolism and superstitions regarding eggs… the importance of napkins, tablecloths, and flower centerpieces… the dilemma of the perfect mug… excellent food recommendations for the seasons… memories of Spain, Italy, Morocco, Japan, and France… how to pick the perfect olive… recipes for spiced crab apple jelly, walnut stew chicken, potato and cheese pie, and parsnip crisps… spices and herbs whose names you may or may not be familiar with… and so much more…

A Bowl of Olives is a special something, a treasure to share with friends. It is a perfect gift for a food-appreciator, and a handsome, unique addition to your own bookshelf. This was my introduction to Sara Midda and her work, and she and it have made quite the first impression. ♦

*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This in no way affects my review; all opinions are my own. Thank you, Workman Publishing!

About Sara Midda:

Sara Midda is an illustrator who lives in West Sussex, England. Her books include the international bestseller In and Out of the Garden and Sara Midda’s South of France: A Sketchbook. Her designs have graced a full range of lifestyle products for a major Japanese department store.

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