“….another onslaught of Heil Hitlering. You know, it actually makes me wonder if anyone ever lost an eye or injured a hand or wrist with all of that. You’d only need to be facing the wrong way at the wrong time, or stand marginally too close to another person.”
Quote from “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak.
I have learned more about WWII in the last few years than I ever did during my formal education.
And it’s not a subject I’m particularly interested in. I’m not a ‘war buff’ and my imagination is far too vivid for reading about battles, tortures, and the like.
But WWII is much closer here in Europe.
I’ve met people who vividly recall ‘the occupation’; ‘the blackouts’; ‘the raids’; and rationing (which went well into the 50’s).
What I have learned about the war is not about the battles, the camps, or the fighting: It’s about the people who lived through it.
I’m currently reading “The Book Thief”. Death has a, well, rather macabre sense of humor as he tells Liesel’s story.
Here are some other books that I highly recommend… All good reads, and you might even gain some insight, as I have:
“Five Quarters of the Orange” by Joanne Harris
“Suite Francaise” by Irene Nemirovsky
“To My Daughter in France” by Stephanie Keating and Barbara Keating
These aren’t summer, beach reading.
All of them are very well-written and first-rate page-turners; but one is forced to think.
And to try to comprehend what it was like being a European during that war and the day-to-day terror of living.
Don’t let those dire words put you off – they’re good stories, and, amazingly, have quite happy endings, so to speak. Or at least endings that are appropriately pleasing to the reader.
While you’re reading, you can be enjoying this lovely, autumnal Fresh Tomato Soup – appropriately pleasing to the eater.
It does have pasta in it: Vermicelli, which qualifies it for submission to Presto Pasta Nights.
This week, PPN is back home with Ruth, the founder and author of Once Upon a Feast. Visit her blog on Friday for all the delicious dishes!
Vermicelli is not used a lot in the U.S. but is very popular here, in soups, and as a rice substitute in Paella (fideo, I think… Nuria?)
Fresh Tomato Soup
4 garden ripe tomatoes
8 cloves garlic
1 tbs olive oil
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup vermicelli
2 tbs snipped fresh basil
2 tbs snipped fresh parsley
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Finely chop onion and garlic. Sauté in medium saucepan in olive oil over medium heat until soft and transparent, 7 – 10 minutes. Peel tomatoes and chop roughly. Add tomatoes to onion and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes. Add chicken stock and pasta, cover and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes, depending on pasta, stirring every few of minutes so pasta doesn’t stick. Remove from heat, add herbs, vinegar and serve.
I think I originally found this in a William-Sonoma book…. but that memory is lost in the mists of time.
Perfect for those last few tomatoes, sprigs of herbs and cool nights!