Black Pepper Visions: Original Folktales & Stories You Can Eat
by Karen Pierce Gonzalez

FolkHeart Press, 2012. ISBN 978-0-982-28886-3.
Reviewed by Trilla Pando
Posted on 11/14/2012

Nonfiction: Food/Cooking/Kitchen

We had turnip soup for lunch on Saturday. I hadn't planned it that way, but as I did some early morning reading in Black Pepper Visions, it came to me—turnip soup for lunch. I grabbed the Jeep keys and headed out the door for the Farmer's Market. I came back with the turnips, sustainably grown, of course, and the beets, the sweet potatoes, the flowering orchid—well that's another story. Lunch was delicious.

So is Karen Pierce Gonzalez's book. There is no better way to trigger memories than to talk about food. Or maybe better have memories flood back at the first bite of—what? For me, my grandmother's "cheese and s'hetti" or my Aunt Meri's special cranberry cookies. Gonzalez agrees with me, for she couples recipes with charming and original folktales.

For me this is not a book to be gobbled up but to be slowly savored, maybe with a cup of tea. (Be sure to read the chapter about tea on the beach while you nibble a savory.) The stories range from here at home to far away—the turnip soup is from Brazil—and from long ago to here and now.

Hmm. What next? Maybe the clam chowder from California—it's supposed to be cold tomorrow. And, if I get my confidence up, Sunday we'll have flan just like Philip makes it in El Paso.

Karen Pierce Gonzalez has studied folktales and folklore for more than twenty years. Not only does she write tales, she teaches others to do so. The founder of FolkHeart Press is also active in the Public Relations profession. She lives in California. Learn more about her stories on her website.

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