Cycle 12 – Item 185
9 (Fri) July 2021
(Mushroom Truffle) Soup
-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-
with the Family
Newbery 100 Medals, 100 Meals (58) (see 100 NEWBERY M&Ms)
While reading the 100 books that have been awarded the annual Newbery Medal since 1922, I will also attempt to create one dish for every book, a dish that is directly referenced in or indirectly inspired by the events of the book. Food plays a strong role in many of the stories; not surprising as the characters in most of the books are faced with adversity of some sort, including poverty, so they’re often very hungry and thus grateful whenever they get a bite to eat – as we all should be at every meal (i.e., give us this day our daily bread). The dishes will be featured as posts on Give Me This Day.
Last Stop on Market Street (2016) by Matt del a Peña. The book is about CJ, a young boy who learns to see beauty in the world around him as he rides the bus with his grandmother Nana.
It was good, I think. It’s a picture book, just 28 pages, very few words. Admittedly, I’m not very familiar with picture books as a genre. But I appreciated the seemingly casual yet deliberately dynamic style of the artwork. I appreciated the diversity of the people that CJ encounters. I appreciated Nana’s sweet yet firm guidance in helping CJ make sense of his experiences. I appreciated the message that beauty indeed can be found in the simplest things.
For Newbery fans, however, I’d imagine that the announcement of a picture book winning the Newbery Medal was something of a letdown. While Newbery is generally for “children’s” literature, it has historically recognized books written for older kids, somewhere around 12 years old, give or take. Last Stop on Market Street can be enjoyed by all ages, but I’d say that it targets younger kids between 4 to 6 years old.
SPOILER: After CJ and Nana get off at the last stop, their destination is a soup kitchen.
CJ saw the perfect rainbow arcing over their soup kitchen. He wondered how his nana always found beautiful where he never even thought to look.
He looked all around them again, at the bus rounding the corner out of sight and the broken street lamps still lit up bright and the stray-cat shadows moving across the wall.
When he spotted their familiar faces in the window, he said, “I’m glad we came.”
He thought his nana might laugh her deep laugh, but she didn’t. She patted him on the head and told him, “Me too, CJ. Now, come on.”
In a way, Last Stop on Market perfectly conveys what this project is about.
The soup base, by Cheongjeongwon, was terrible when initially made according to the package instructions. But after loads of butter + white pepper + truffle salt + truffle oil, it turned out okay.
As W’s taste in porcelain would suggest (see also 12.102 Break Fast Chicken; 12.163 Olives and Slices of Strongly Flavored Sausage), she likes things that are overtly/ornately/ostentatiously beautiful, things with pictures of flowers and gilded edges. When I explained to her the irony of using this cup in the context of this book, she wasn’t impressed.
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)