Title: Spoonful Chronicles
Author: Elen Ghulam
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Thaniya Rasid grew up in the Middle East dreaming of becoming a surgeon. Now living an ordinary life as a mother, wife and a hospital lab tech in Vancouver, Canada, she garners unexpected fame as youTube’s Queen of Hummus when her video demonstrating the recipe goes viral. How could blending chickpeas in a food processor generate so much excitement? And how could her life have ended up so far away from all her expectations?
To make sense of the unlikely events that have brought her to this place, Thaniya turns to food, curating memorable eating experiences of her life, searching for clues. Between her childhood aversion to cucumbers, her search for an authentic Iraqi kubeh in the city of Jerusalem, her 10-year tomato wars with her husband Samih, a mood altering encounter with a blood pudding in Edinburgh, and a Kafkaesque nightmare involving a cauliflower, Thaniya unravels repeated patterns occurring in her life. The secrets of love, friendship and destiny hidden in her cauldron of mishmashed cultures begin to reveal themselves.
Between lust and disgust there is a thin line. Spoonful Chronicles is the beguiling story of one woman taking hold of her fate by uncovering the clandestine geography of this divide in her heart.
Inspired by Food
“I don’t care if my next protagonist is a serial killer” I thought to myself after I finished writing my first novel. “As long as he or she is easy to get along with.” The seven year I spent with the main character of that story have frayed my nerves into swooping tassels. I thought it would be fun to invent a hysterical persona and narrate everything through her perspective. But then I had to put up with her aggravating voice throbbing inside my head. It was an endurance test.
And so Thaniya Rasid appeared in my life two years ago. As if with her I had willed ease into my life. Each chapter materialized before my eyes. There was that one day I got stuck. I opened my fridge, fished a plump cauliflower out, sat with it in my lap. As I caressed the lumpy white vegetable my imagination went floating above the city exploring forbidden territories. Half way through the novel, I would dream vivid detailed visions of precisely what was happening next in the story. I would wake up itching to write it all down while the images were still alive in my memory. “I feel like I am cheating” I told my husband during that phase. It was too easy. One night I went to sleep with a bag of spinach beneath my pillow. The next day my fingers were dancing away at the keyboard describing a textured green leafy nightmare that progressed the narrative is just right shade. I am not going to tell you how I wrote the “Mashed Potato” chapter. I leave that one to your imagination.
So here is the breaded cauliflower recipe that in Spoonful Chronicles get mistaken for fried brains.
You can also view the video by clicking here: https://youtu.be/PMqk-DuZg-s
Cut up 2 cauliflower heads into florettes and boil for about 15-20 minutes. You want the cauliflower to be cooked but still firm. Don’t over cook.
Strain cauliflower from water.
On one plate place 1 cup of flour.
In a bowl mix 5 eggs with salt and scramble with a fork.
In a second plate place 1 cup of bread crumbs.
Drench each florette first into flour, shake off any excess
then cover with eggs, finally drench in the bread crumbs.
Fry the each piece of cauliflower lightly on each side.
If there is any eggs left from before, fry that up to make an omelette.
Finally, place all the pieces in a baking pan. Stacking them on top of each other is fine. Bake in the over for about 30 minutes.
You could deep fry instead, but I think light frying and then baking tastes better.
Here is what it looks like when you are done.
My name is Elen. I am an Iraqi-Canadian. Please allow me to tell you a story of a curious event that happened to me. I was a perfectly happy computer programmer doing the nerdy stuff that computer programmers do. You know! Geeky stuff. Like the normal stuff that an Iraqi-Canadian would do if they worked as a computer programmer. When one day, out of nowhere, the inspiration to write hit me over the head. It came at me fast and furious and turned my life topsy turvy. I was always an avid reader. Ok I was a bookish geek. But the idea that I would try to write never even occurred to me, until the violent incident with the muse. Since then I have published a memoir called “Don’t Shoot! … I Have Another Story to Tell You“. Which Was followed by a novel called Graffiti Hack. That one tells the story of a hacker who installs lavish graphical designs on commercial websites. Imagine the trouble she gets in? Well I had to. I was writing the story, so I had to imagine every last bit. A third novel is on it way. I don’t know where all these ideas come from, they just pop in my head and I write them down. In addition to writing, I am a flamenco dancer, I enjoy painting and I love to cook. Somehow all these activities inspire each other.
I am a married mother of three, living in a pink house in Vancouver BC
Really I just love telling stories and I love listening to stories.