I’m gonna be honest with you, I read this book because it stood out to me on a shelf. (yes, yes, judging a book by its cover is not ok blah blah)
The Nest’s cover is so simple and elegant and promises a story about classy, sophisticated NewYorkers. My first impression was not too off actually. –
The book narrates life of four adult siblings who are about to gain access to a significant inheritance (the nest, as they call it) or so they think. They have all made significant life decisions with this money in mind. What they don’y know, is that their dear old brother has robbed them of their safety net with his hasty actions.
Melody, the youngest, needs to secure tuition for her twin daughters after years of living way above her means. Jack, an antiques dealer, has secretly borrowed a significant amount against the beach cottage he shares with his husband and is in danger of losing it. Bea, the once shining-star writer, is suffering from a serious case of writer’s block on an overdue novel and has already spent her advance. Amongst the Plumbs, she is the only semi-normal one who does not carry the burden a of a million self-inflicted afflictions. And then, there is Leo, the eldest and yet the most reckless brother. Ah, yeah, the Plumbs are dysfunctional alright.
The story begins with us witnessing some of Leo’s ill-considered behavior first hand. A series of questionable decisions lands him in a rehab after he crashes his brand new Porsche, driving under the influence, with a 19 years old waitress (Matilda Rodriguez) in the passenger seat….yeah…rich people am I right?!
This book is a best seller and has managed to attract some good reviews. I personally did not enjoy it much. To Quote Neil Gaiman: “The way a story is told, is just as important as the story itself” (Trigger warning, 2015). The way this story is told, is not appealing. It feels out of place and from a different time. When I started reading the book, the style made me think of the 50s. I was sure I am reading a period piece and then suddenly, an iPhone appeared and I was like WHOA…WHAT?! Further more, while there is a lot going on and the story is certainly interesting, I was having a hard time rooting for any of the main characters. They are all uninspiring with severe cases of rich-people-problems. I had a hard time taking any of it seriously, their problems are all self-inflicted and honestly hard to sympathies with. Oh you have to move from your mansion to a nice apartment but are not in danger of going homeless? Cry me a freakin’ river!!!
I did however, liked ha little side stories. The whole book does not revolve around the Plumbs. We get to follow Matilda Rodriguez who has lost a foot to Leo’s reckless behavior and is navigating her new life following a large settlement courtesy of “The Nest”. We meet Tommy, a retired fire fighter with a secret. Spoiler alert: it has something to do with “The Kiss”, Rodin’s work from trade center which survived 9-11 attacks, and then vanished. I love it with writers take a real life mystery and make up their own story to fill in the blanks and explain things. We also meet Stephanie, an old flame from Leo’s past. All these people and their stories come together and tangle in the most wonderful way and come to the rescue of the main story.
While I still do not understand how this book was nominated for so many awards, I can see why it would become a best seller. The story if focused on concept of family. To quote the Guardian: it is “a feel-good tale of family fortunes. I know, the summary I just provided you make it seem like the book is about the exact opposite, but trust me when I tell you, how this dysfunctional family interacts with one another is heart warming. The fact that they are so damn maladjusted, gives us hope that any relationship can be mended with enough effort and patience.
The book is a breezy read, simple language and brisk pace of events makes an excellent option for a light reading.
An now for the Noms!
Took me a while to come up with a recipe for this one. I considered pizza at first. Soon after her accident Matilda meets a nice young man named Vinnie who happens to be an amputee and runs a pizza shop. Like a proper pizza shop with his own secret sauce recipe and everything. While Vinnie and Matilda share many sweet moments, I was not convinced it captivates the theme properly. I don’t know why but it suddenly occurred to me that the main characters’ last name contains the word plum. There is even a sweet moment when a pregnant character is told her baby, a Plumb, is now the size of a plum and I thought that was just the sweetest thing ever. After careful consideration and researching man Plum recipes I decided on a plum galette. What is a galette you ask? Also known as rustic pies, is a French version of a pie. It’s much easier to make than a pie actually but sounds super fancy. Exactly the type of food a Plumb family member would order!
Here is how I made my plum galette:
For the crust: You can choose any pie crust recipe you like or even buy some pre-made dough. Here is how I do it:
Now, not to brag, but I make really good pie crust. My secret is keeping things cool. Frozen butter, chilled flour and washing my hand with cold water before handling the dough.
You will need:
- 1.5 Cups Flour
- 0.5 cup Unsalted butter
- Pinch of salt
- 1 Tbsp Icing sugar
- 0.5 Cup iced water
Use a food processor. Put in your chilled flour and butter (cut into small cubes) and use the high setting in short intervals till the mix looks almost like wet sand. Move the mixture to a bowl and start working it with your hands. Add iced water 1 table spoon at a time till the mix sticks together and forms a dough. Work it on a floured surface for a few minutes and then move it to the fridge to chill.
While the dough chills, make the filling. I kept it real simple.
- 5 Plums- Cut into thin wedges
- 0.25 Cups Sugar
- 1 Tbsp Lemon juice
- 0.5 Tsp Nutmeg
- 0.5 Tsp Salt
- 1 Tsp Corn starch (Or flour)
- 3 Tbsp Unsalted butter
Basically, mix everything except except the butter together in a bowl and let it chill in the fridge so the fruits can release their juices. Meanwhile, pre-heat the over to 400 F and roll out your dough into a roughly circular shape. Put the dough on a parchment paper and transfer it onto a cooking baking tray or on a oven-safe cooling rack. Spoon in the filling leaving 1.5 to 2 inches from the outside edge empty. Drizzle a bit of the liquid on top but not a lot or you will end up with a soggy crust.
Fold the edges of the pie crust up making sure there are no tears or holes to avoid leakage and put small pats of butter all over the filling. Finally, apply egg wash to the crust using only an egg white and sprinkle some sugar on top before popping it into the oven. Let it bake for about an hour or until the fruit is cooked and the crust is a beautiful golden brown.
Let it cool before serving and for love of all that is holy do not skimp on the whipped cream!
As always, Read, Eat, and be merry!