Sunday, January 22, 2012

Dinner Train: The Count of Monte Cristo

His boots are so stylish,
but his beard says I'm coming for you.
With my pimp cane.
Mon frer, revenge is a dish best served on a cold and snowy day, with good friends, tasty food, wine, and people who think they can speak French when they've had a sip of said French wine.  Ahem.  Me.  Last night I embarked on challenge one of my 2012 Resolution.  Yes, it was The Count of Monte Cristo night.  Except...of the five of us who present, all whom had never read the book before, only two of us got more than a smidge into it, one of us read the Chaos Walking books instead (way better choice), and one of us found this book and got totally sidetracked.  I mean...who wouldn't.  I've taken to calling it the Mount of Monte Cristo, and I feel that it's got promise to be a far quicker read than The Count of Monte Cristo. 

Because you know what?  While the plot is not bad, Dumas is nothing if not a word fondler.  You heard me.  A dirty rotten word fondler!  He uses 1000 words where 10 will suffice.  I don't need to hear about yet another sailboat!  Or sitting room!  Or the growing quiverings of emotion inside everyone!  Get to the point, word fondler!  More importantly, get to the damn revenge!  I have been reading it for nigh on 21 days now, and I'm only at 575 of 1138 pages on my Nook, and no revenge has yet occurred  (that's another thing - all five of us chose to read it on devices, which is a whole other rumination in and of itself).  I'm going to attempt to finish it, because I can't quit on my first book of the year, right?  But I totally get why people give up on this one.  That said, I think I'm going to have to quit on Anna Karenina already - someone bit off more than she could chew reading-wise when she agreed to run a book a week book-club mini-course for 12th graders in the spring.  Oops!  More on that later, when I perhaps figure out how to post a poll to see what replacement book I should bring up to varsity from the JV book squad.  But I (as per usual) digress. 

I will post my Monte Cristo dinner recipes, of which there are three, but will hold off on the review until I actually, say, FINISH.   This one was a slight challenge, because there were a few dietary challenges that don't exactly fit into the French food friendly category: Vegetarian, Kosher, Dairy-free, Pregnant.  Not wanting to seek revenge, I had to alter my originally scheduled menu, which included swordfish, enemy of both observant Jews and their pregnant friends, and abandon my cheese souffle plans.  But friends, I assure you, I found a way to deliciously use my inner Julia Child for this one, and so can you!  For now, a big thank you to Dave, Lara, Sam, and Arianna for gamely attempting to read this book with me, and for showing up bearing dip, baguette, wine, and madelines to discuss what Dumas is a dumas!  With no further adieu (see, I speak French), il menu (is that Italian?); recipes posted and linked as soon as I type them up later today: 

Dinner Train Menu: The Count of Monte Cristo
Vichyssoise - Revenge is a soup best served cold
Baked Salmon Mediterranean - In which I forget to use the wine
Il Flottante - "The Floater" (how appetizing is my French, you guys?) aka Revenge Island


Il Flottante
Baked Salmon Mediterranean


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