Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Kind of Sorcery


One of the books I am currently reading is Chocolat, by Joanne
Harris. It is a short novel and could easily be read in an afternoon,
but I have about five books in my current stack, and it keeps on
growing. Since I've been spending more time blogging, I find I am
spending far less time reading! Anyway, I adored the movie
starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp and am just now getting
around to reading the book, which I am absolutely loving, by the
way. Here's a wonderful little excerpt, which describes exactly how
I feel about the art of cooking:

This is an art I can enjoy. There is a kind of sorcery in
all cooking; in the choosing of ingredients, the process of
mixing, grating, melting, infusing, and flavoring, the recipes
taken from ancient books, the traditional utensils--the pestle
and mortar with which my mother made her incense turned
to a more homely purpose, her spices and aromatics giving
up their subtleties to a baser, more sensual magic. And it is
partly the transience of it that delights me; so much loving
preparation, so much art and experience, put into a pleasure
that can last only a moment, and which only a few will ever
fully appreciate.









47 comments:

  1. Willow, I enjoyed the movie too. But now I have a craving for big slice of chocolate cake - no such luck.

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  2. Vache sainte! Holy cow! That chocolate gâteau at the bottom looks as if it would drive your gums right into a frenzy!

    Here's one of "Louis's" favorite chocolate cakes.
    It is "Louis's" Flying Pig © Chocolate Cake...

    * * * *
    Eric at Paris Daily Photo had a shot of Mona Lisa, but "Louis" doesn't have to go to Paris to see her!

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  3. i've never read the book but loved the movie! it was chock full of subtle passion. one of my fave johnny depp roles.

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  4. Oh how I love this movie!!!! It is one of my favorites, I could watch it over and over again. I should pick up the book, I think I would really enjoy it. I have never taken the time out to really cook, thank the Lord that Brent-Boy can or we'd be eating power bars all the time here. I would however love to turn my kitchen into a chocolate factory like she has in the movie, it is like magic!!
    And now I really want some hot chocolate just like from the movie, actually I want to go stick my face in a bowl of chocolate!!
    ~Lady Em~

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  5. I'll have to try reading that book too! I loved the movie! And I, too, always have a huge stack of books waiting for me. I usually read several at a time, but only one fiction at a time (usually!)!

    Thanks so much for recommending House of Edward's blog....I was fascinated by it!

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  6. David, come on over to the Manor and I'll slice you a huge slab!

    Louis, thanks for the link, I'll check out your Flying Pig cake. My chocolate cake is pretty darn good, though. My son's girlfriend has dubbed it "legendary"! ;)

    Julie, me too, I love Johnny in this role.

    Em, Vianne's renovation of the patisserie is exactly what I would love to do to my kitchen!

    MMP, House of Edward is a favorite place of mine to visit. Glad you like it, too! :)

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  7. Love, love, love this movie! One of the few you have posted that I've seen! :) Cake looks marvelous!

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  8. Hmmmmmmm such a delicious movie - one of my favourites. So sensual. It's delightful how chocolate woos even the most "moral" of the villagers. It certainly woos me on a far too frequent basis! I will have to read the book... and enjoy the movie again! And oh that cake, Willow... that is cruel!!

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  9. Don't know anything about this book, but that cakes looks wonderful! :)

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  10. I've yet to read this but loved the movie as well...That cake looks to die for!

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  11. Good movie. I appreciate that the cake is not immediately available to me. Pappy

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  12. I hope that's a big cake! I'd like a slice too!

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  13. I liked both the book and the movie. Always amazes me how much Hollywood veers from the original written version though.

    Ever tried the hot chocolate with chili powder Juliet Binoche makes in the movie? Divine. It isn't in the book though.

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  14. Suza, isn't the power chocolate has over people amazing?

    Marie, yes, it's a gigantic cake...come on over for a nice big piece and a up of tea!

    Diva, every time I watch the movie, I tell myself that I am going to try the hot chocolate with the chili powder. I must!

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  15. Pappy, maybe we should appreciate that the cake is not readily available to you, too! We would also like to have a piece. ;)

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  16. Speaking of hot chocolate with chili powder....I have a recipe for chili that has cocoa powder in it!

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  17. Betsy, yum! Same principle, I'm sure. I bet it's heavenly. Chili powder and chocolate go hand in hand!

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  18. Oh Willow...One of my favorite movies...Binoche and Depp were great ...but I enjoyed one of my favorites...Judi Dench..Glad to hear about the book. I'll try to add one more book to my stack that is now beginning to look like the Leaning Tower of Pisa...:)

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  19. DeeDee, I agree! Judi Dench's performance in this movie is wonderful. She hads substance to any film.

    I know exactly what you mean about the leaning tower of books. Mine was starting to lean and I had to divide it into four shorter stacks, for safety reasons!

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  20. I've loved this film to. I've ritten a song inspired of the storry... It's so amazing:-D And it's true that cooking is a little bit like sorcellery...

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  21. Little Cat, a song? This is intriguing...you must post it for us!!

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  22. Oh...I love your post!
    Loved the movie and never read the book.

    With your permission I'll copy this short excerpt just for me, as a note.

    And dear Willow, THANK YOU so much for giving me this award. It made me blush with pleasure. I've just posted a long blogging love letter!

    xxx Lala

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  23. You have described perfectly how I feel when I am in my kitchen, music playing, stiring, tasting, dreaming, no doubt with a spot of flour on my nose.. a sorceress!

    Do you know, I've never seen Chocolat! I must now do so!

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  24. I loved both the book and the movie!

    I have five books "in progress" also -- blogging and summer activities have cut back on reading time.

    I visited a famous choclatier's store this weekend ...a future blog post!

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  25. Have to ask Husband to put that in his Netflix queue ..

    :-Daryl

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  26. Oh, I love the movie "Chocolat!" Isn't that wonderful!? I also love "Like Water for Chocolate." The quotation is so accurate--you work quite a bit to put a nice meal on the table and it's gone just like that--especially if it's good! But it's worth it...I tend to remember what I ate at good meals, but I know many people don't. I'll carry the memories of luscious meals with me to my grave, I'm sure! LOL

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  27. No, no, no! (banging head against the wall) The first time I read that book was many years ago when I was still working in travel. Every morning I had to start the day with a chocolate croissant and a frothy cappuccino (or mocha, or caffe latte, or whichever way they call coffe these days). Oh dear, (laughing now), you have brought powerful memories back. I used to work in the operations department but also I had to assist with sales occasionally, so it was a tough job trying to talk a client into buying a holiday to Cancun whilst my mouth was full of chocolate gateau.

    As for the actual book (yes, I was building up to that eventually) it was too 'rich' for my taste and it put me off pursuing other books by Joanne. The same happened to me with Paulo Coehlo and his 'The Alchemist'. A little bit of trimming off would have given me a more nuanced novel. I felt that Joanne had a lot to say (or write, rather) and indulged a little bit on the imagery. As for the movie, I wasn't surprised when Juliette was cast, nor to see Johnny in the 'outcast' role. But both book and film havedefinitely been my 'guilty pleasures' when I shoot off on holiday.

    Greetings from London.

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  28. A Brush, I agree. I totally enjoy the art of eating a luscious meal as well as preparing one. And, I, like you, always remember what I had to eat on a certain date or location. It's paramount in my little book!

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  29. A Brush, I agree. I totally enjoy the art of eating a luscious meal as well as preparing one. And, I, like you, always remember what I had to eat on a certain date or location. It's paramount in my little book!

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  30. Willow, I loved this book and I see the next book is out about her children living above the old Chocolat Shop. Wonderful excerpt too!

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  31. Cuban, you are making my mouth water just imagining your daily culinary routine. I checked out the audio version of The Alchemist from our library, narrated by Jeremy Irons...marvelous voice...but had to return it before I finished listening to the entire book.

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  32. Robyn, yes! The Girl with no Shadow! I'm sure I will want to read it when I finish Chocolat, since it is somewhat of a sequel.

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  33. Oh, I loved both the movie and the book....Joanna Harris is a wonderful author - I've read a couple others of hers too. And...I just saw that there is a sequel to Chocolat that has just been published!

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  34. adored the book, loved the movie, WANTED her red shoes (have found a black pair but red would be MUCH better)...and daydream being cast in the film version of 'Blackberry Wine' playing opposite the thinking woman's crumpet...won't name names for fear of blushing...

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  35. Tumbleweed, I love the quote from the movie, "Why can't you wear black shoes like the other mothers?"

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  36. The thing that stuck with me from that movie was the combination of chocolate and chili peppers. I often put baking chocolate in my chili and I know the Mexicans make mole sauce with chocolate and hot peppers. It is a sinfully addictive combination.

    Juliette Binoche is gorgeous in anything she does. Have you seen "The Widow of St. Pierre"? It is one of my favourites.

    Kat

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  37. Kat, I love "Widow of St. Pierre" so much that I own a copy! She is fabulous in this one, too. I've never actually talked to someone who is familiar with this film! :)

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  38. Willow, I own it on widescreen dvd. OMG it is gorgeous. I love Daniel Auteil and the actor who plays the prisoner is one of our favourite Yugoslavian directors, Emir Kusturica. All around it is a fantastic film and the director Patrice Lecompte(sp?) has done some other fine work as well. Any time you want to talk film - just let me know!

    Kat

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  39. Kat, this is thrilling...you have exactly the same taste in film as I do! I will have to check on other films by Patrice Lecompte. I love Auteil and I didn't realize that the guy who plays the prisoner is a director!! No wonder is is so great in this film. I love movies and I post on them quite often, as you'll soon find out.

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  40. Willow, 39 comments? Even with some of your taken out that's a lot of redership! You go , girl!

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  41. The cake looks perfect, Willow. Oh dear, I'm getting a serious craving...

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  42. Girl on a Bridge and Man on the Train are both very good. He has a more recent one called "My Best Friend" which I have yet to see, but Auteil is in it, so it's sure to be good.

    Not a Leconte film, but have you seen "The Closet" with Auteil and Gerard Depardieu? It is hilarious!

    Kat

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  43. Kat, I own a copy of "Man on the Train". I didn't even realize it was directed by Leconte! I guess that's why I like it so much!!

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  44. One of my favourite books and movies. I've just finished reading her sequel The Lollipop Shoes. If you loved the charachters in Chocolat then I thoroughly recommend it!

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  45. The story of Chocolat makes cooking and seem mystical, magical, secretive, individualized and seductive all at the same time. Perhaps that is the appeal of the movie, good food and chocolate!

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  46. Golly, you struck a chord here with heaps of readers! Well... Willow + chocolate + great movie = irresistible post.

    I love this movie too. I wonder if Nigella Lawson got her idea for those jewel-toned twinsets from Juliette Binoche's wonderful 50s wardrobe? It was the first time I heard of chili-infused hot chocolate and I'm now an addict to Soma's Mayan Drink of the Gods... which I imbibe in their store quite frequently and make at home too.

    The quote is magic, as is its subject. Added to which is the very reality of cooking for someone or some others: I mean, in my opinion, feeding someone is primal and an act of love.

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Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)