BOOK: Run by Ann Patchett (Harper, 2007) revolves around Bernard Doyle, an Irish-American former mayor of Boston who, after his wife dies, raises their three sons alone. Two of the boys, African-American brothers adopted as small children, have grown into bright young men thrown off-balance when a woman who may or may not be their mother bursts into their lives with Kenya, a 12-year-old girl who may or may not be her daughter.
WHY READ? The novel should strike a chord in this election year by highlighting political ambition, race, religion and the powerful but mysterious influence of family ties. Doyle's two adopted sons, Tip and Teddy, have been raised in a white family, but they confront their biological origins when a black woman, Tennessee Alice Moser, pushes Tip away from an oncoming car and is hit herself. While recuperating in the hospital, Kenya stays with Doyle and his sons. She displays both exceptional athletic prowess and the political spark Doyle has yearned to see in his own children. She clearly has the ability to run, in both senses of the word.
MAKE IT: Steeped in Boston politics as well as family intrigue, and set in the dead of winter,Runinvites something warm and regional to accompany, such as New England clam chowder. Sprinkle chopped chives on top as a garnish and a handful of oyster crackers, accompanied by chilled chardonnay or, in the spirit of a political victory celebration, a fine champagne.
TAKE IT: If you don't have time to make your own chowder, pick some up at a nearby seafood restaurant or Sweet Tomatoes, which has it available every day. Or you could still get some cream into your life while sticking with the regional theme by serving Boston cream pie and tea.
Read & Feed is a monthly column in Taste that matches popular book club selections with food to serve at meetings. If you have suggestions or would like to share what your book club is cooking up, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put BOOK FOOD in the subject line.
New England Clam Chowder
4 slices bacon, diced
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 cups water
4 cups peeled and cubed potatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Ground black pepper to taste
3 cups half-and-half
3 tablespoons butter
2 (10-ounce) cans minced clams
Place diced bacon in large stock pot over medium-high heat. Cook until almost crisp; add onions and cook 5 minutes. Stir in water and potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender.
Reduce heat. Pour in half-and-half and add butter. Drain clams, reserving clam liquid; stir clams and half of the clam liquid into the soup. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until heated through. Do not allow to boil.
Note: Can easily be doubled or tripled.
Source: Adapted from allrecipes.com