Or, What to Serve Your Book Group When They are Coming to Dinner After Reading a Powerfully Evocative Memoir of a Childhood Spent Between 1960’s Iran and Florida…
Reading is one of the few preserves of mindful engagement in this modern info-saturated world. It’s a solitary pursuit, one devoid of sound and with few, if any pictures. Reading liberates the reader to construct a fanciful universe in the mind’s eye, scaffolded by personal experience, and gently engineered by a skilled author-architect.
I love the term, the mind’s eye: the human ability for visualisation. But what about the human capacity for smelling or tasting or feeling texture in the mind?
Such was the vividness of Ashley Dartnell’s book, Farangi Girl, that upon reading it, I could smell in my mind’s nose, the odours of 1960’s Iran that she described. The sweat, fear and cigarette smoke. The earth, rice and kerosene. With my book club coming to dinner to discuss Ashley’s book, I wanted to honour the mind’s eye/nose/palate with a memorable cocktail. Leaving the cigarette smoke to the others (you know who you are, ladies!) I thought it best to concentrate on the oranges, roses and pomegranates for a cocktail to accompany the book discussion.
Farangi Girl Cocktail
1/2 ounce (15 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice
1/3 ounce (10 ml) squeezed lemon juice
1/3 ounce (10 ml) pomegranate juice
1/3 ounce (10 ml) pastis (I used Henri Bardouin)
1/3 ounce (10 ml) vodka (or pepper, rose, chili, or lemon infused vodka)
Shake over ice in a large shaker, or stir vigorously in a jug, then strain into small glasses garnished with fresh lemon zest mixed with sugar.
For more on teleporting to 60’s Iran and Florida in the hands of a skilled sensory engineer–
Farangi Girl by Ashley Dartnell, Two Roads; Reprint edition (16 Feb 2012)