Unearthed Blog Party!
I’m thrilled to be part of Book Club Cookbook‘s Blog Party celebrating Unearthed: How an Abandoned Garden Taught Me to Accept and Love My Parents by Alexandra Risen.
Alexandra Risen’s parents were born in the Ukraine and survived some horrible conditions during World War II. After the war ended, they moved to Canada and raised a family. They were cold and distant and Risen’s father rarely spoke to her leaving her emotionally damaged.
She swore she’d never marry and have a family but she eventually did. She and her husband found a fabulous property in the city and decided to buy it even though the house and its abandoned garden needed an untold amount of work. Restoring the garden helped Risen heal emotionally and allowed her to forgive her parents.
Told in the present day and through flashbacks, I thought Unearthed was a wonderful story of triumph over psychological pain. Risen grew up in a dysfunctional family and wasn’t able to let go of the hurt it caused her until she restored her garden.
The garden was a mess when they bought the house – it was so dense and overgrown, Risen wasn’t even sure what it contained. As they worked their way through it, they found hidden gems and learned to forage items for use. She shares tips for foraging (and emphasizes doing it safely and responsibly) and recipes throughout the book. I don’t think I’ll try any of the recipes but I loved their creativity. Here’s one for Mulberry Granita:
2 cups black mulberries
juice of 1 lemon
4 cups water
1 cup sugar
- Combine water and sugar in a saucepan over low heat until all the sugar is dissolved. Allow the syrup to cool.
- Purée mulberries and lemon juice in a blender or fruit processor. You should have approximately 1 1/3 cups of purée.
- Combine the syrup and the fruit purée. Pour into a deep pan and cover with foil. Place into freezer.
- After one hour, take a fork and scrape the ice crystals from the sides and bottom of the pan. Fluff and mash them back into the liquid. Repeat 30 minutes later. You can continue to do this at 30-minute intervals, until you have dry separated ice crystals that are approximately the same size, or you can let it sit overnight.
- Before serving, let granita defrost for 5 minutes. Scrape off ice crystals using a fork and serve immediately in a tall glass.
I think this would be a great book for book clubs to read – there’s a lot to discuss and you might even want to try preparing one of the recipes together. If you love memoirs, gardening, and/or unique recipes you’ll want to check out Unearthed!
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