Book Club: Bitter Honey

When a Mediterranean Escape sounds just right! 

What the world needs now

If you think about it food is inseparable from love. The first way a mother shows love for a child, whether that mother is animal or human, is by feeding it. Feeding is nurturing, nurturing is loving. Feeding people is an expression of love.

It Begins With The Senses

In Bitter Honey, seasoned chef Letitia Clark invites us into her new home on one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean Sea – Sardinia. Cooking here reflects life: it is a slow and relaxed affair. Meat is almost always roasted over an open fire, often on a rustic spit. Cheese is made and matured slowly, using age-old methods and tools. Beans and legumes, and most vegetables too are cooked long and slow, extracting all their sweetness. There is no sense of urgency about anything. The recipes in this book don’t take long to make, but you can taste the ethos behind every one of them – one which invites you to slow down, to enjoy yourself, to nourish yourself with food, friends, and family.

Try your hand at roasted eggplants with honey, mint, garlic and burrata, or a fresh, zesty salad of celery, orange, anchovy and hazelnut, followed by (the shell-shaped pasta from the region) with crab, saffron and tomato, or a roast chicken stuffed with ricotta and chard. If you’re craving something sweet, follow up with an almond panna cotta with poached apricots, or a bowl of mascarpone and sour cherry ice cream. Each of these recipes, and the stories behind them, will transport you to the glittering, turquoise waters and laid-back lifestyle of this Italian paradise. With beautiful design, photography, full color illustrations and joyful anecdotes throughout, Bitter Honey is a vacation, a cookbook and a window onto a covetable lifestyle in the sun – all rolled into one. – From the publisher


On Rationalization

There is something about middle of each season that causes us to slow down. We focus more on the pleasures of the day than the overarching goals of life. But, should these two things really be so disparate after all? Is not inherent delight with both the moments life sends our way, and the also the ones that we seek out, the essence of mindfulness anyway?

We were intrigued by Leticia’s presentation of Sardinian’s food enjoyment as a simple and fulfilling way of life. These days, our culture’s relationship with food trends toward studying restaurant reviews, perusing of online menus, and crafting our order for Uber-eats. It’s easy to justify, well, ease. Our lives are busy, work or a workout beckons. But in a rushed world, our basic nourishment suffers.  

But we can choose to slow down – to nourish our relationship with nature and food. Take summer, when I carefully study of the various hues and give that a squeezed berry communicates – telling me if it is perfectly ripe or needs just a bit longer. These experiences feed my soul, preserved through homemade jams and shared meals. I sip more poolside cocktails with friends at dusk, as the heat lingers late into the waning moments of extra-long days. And while the pool is no Mediterranean Sea, I feel a kinship with the Sardinians. Is it community, food, friends, or a beautiful environment that contribute to this island population’s unusual longevity? Regardless of what the science reveals, we could all use more of all of the above! 


Thought For Food

While a cookbook, author Letitia Clark provides readers with a text that will cause them to question their experiences and where they are getting their joy from. Alongside discussing how we can make our own lives more full, we will also discuss questions relating but not limited to: 

What is a blue zone and how does it relate to longevity?

What are some of your best food memories from your childhood?

What traditions involving food do you want to bring into your life? Who will you share them with?

How does cooking and eating food relate to mindfulness?

What do we know about the Mediterranean diet and mental health?

What elements of Sardinians’ lifestyle resonated with you? How can you incorporate these into your life?

If you could live in your ideal location/dream spot, where would it be? Why?

What components of day-to-day life contribute to psychological well-being, what daily patterns inhibit it?