Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Bowl of Olives

This evocative little book lead me down a fragrant memory lane even as Midda shares her own journey of food-induced memories. What a pleasant stroll! Each page a feast for the eye, A Bowl of Olives by Sara Midda is a cornucopia of lovely little watercolor illustrations, photos, quotes, prose, and recipes.

Food, for many people, is the currency of relationships--the thing around which we gather with family and friends to make memories, celebrate milestones, or dive deeply into the present moment. Simply smelling the fragrance of a remembered dish can unleash an avalanche of images, feelings, tastes, and more from a time long past. Cookies or bread baking in the oven trigger memories of my childhood. A whiff of chicken frying will bring to mind summer picnics. Squash recalls me to fall dinners served which gathered a busy household together if only for an all-too-brief moment at the table.

A Bowl of Olives is my first exposure to Sara Midda's work. What a delight all her petite, delicate watercolor illustrations are! I love the feel of the pages. The color, the layouts provide such pleasure!

Because the book centers on the illustrations, it is a very quick read at only 128 pages. Seasoned with a smattering of quotes, Midda's memories, and recipes (some of them are just the bare bones!) . . . readers will find themselves savoring not only Midda's offerings, but the reflections of meals and dishes past too. I highly recommend this book to all who love food, visual arts, great paper, and books in general!

I am so thankful for the opportunity to review Sara Midda's latest offering, A Bowl of Olives, and thankful to Shelf Awareness for the complimentary copy!

From the publisher...

From the author of the international bestseller In and Out of the Garden and the wondrous sketchbook Sara Midda’s South of France comes a long-awaited treasure of a book. Drawn from the artist’s wealth of impressions and memories, it is a book for lovers of food and art and fine gift books—a book for anyone who, upon arriving in a new town, seeks first the local market, or who believes the best thing to do on a given night is to share a table with friends.

Sara Midda is a watercolorist whose delicate and beautiful paintings shine like jewels, evoking the sweet purple taste of a summer raspberry or the silvery greens and gnarled burnt umber of an olive grove. And she is also a collagist, weaving together photographs, line drawings, her personal swatches—all the hues of a spice cabinet, or the sensations of a picnic, the colors of the breeze, sunshine, laughter, the cooling grass. And a poet, in love with words that sing, like podding and wicker, nettle and snug.

By turns reverent and playful, A Bowl of Olives is a work of pure enchantment, celebrating food—of the seasons, of family, of travel and memory. It is as richly layered as a favorite meal.

The book is cloth-bound, jacketed, and printed on uncoated stock to convey the feeling of an artist’s sketchbook.

About the author...

Sara Midda is an artist who lives in West Sussex, England, and previously lived in the south of France. Her most recent book is Artisan’s children’s activity book How to Build an A.

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