Saturday, June 05, 2010

Ahab's Wife ~ Food For Thought



I'm joining

Food for Thought

the brainchild of the very talented Jain from

Once in a Blue Moon

and editor of

Food With Style

In an edible book review of

Ahab's Wife


Sena Jeter Naslund

This was a sometimes overwhelming read but I'm giving it 4 1/2 stars anyway!

By using a few characters from the classic novel, Moby Dick,
Sena Jeter Naslund weaves the story of the life of Una,
wife of Captain Ahab, into an epic novel.

The beginning of Una's life is told as a flashback.
She was born in Kentucky, the only daughter of a tyrannical father.
She is sent away for her own protection, to live with her mother's sister for several years as
part of her New England lighthouse-keeping family.

Later, disguised as a boy, she manages to get hired on a whaling ship where she encounters the power of nature, death & madness.
She also gets her first glimpse of Captain Ahab.

Some of the things that happen to her during her time at sea
haunt her for the remainder of her life.

As you might expect, with the story line taking place in New England, there was lots of talk of chowder!


You’ve got to have oyster crackers to go with it, right?



I confess, I cheated & bought the soup instead of making it from scratch.


I do have a wonderful recipe which I’ll share soon but for today’s book review, Legal Sea Foods helped save the day!

During one point in her life, after she marries Ahab & he goes back out to sea, much of Una's time is spent with
a judge who lives across the street.

Elegant dinner parties were held at his home using exquisite Irish china & crystal.







I felt that some characters were unnecessary in this book &
only removed focus from the story, thus my reason for not giving it 5 stars.

Ms. Naslund writes in a style that requires the reader to
pay close attention & "listen" carefully.

Her style of writing is wonderful, creating vivid mental images with her descriptions.

It requires an investment of your time & energy &
is a just wee bit tedious at intervals.

I frequently told my husband

"I'm going to finish this if it kills me!"

I would recommend this book for those who like historical fiction.

However, if you are looking for an easy, simple read, this probably isn’t the book for you.

Thank you, Jain, for hosting

Food For Thought

every other week.

It pushes me to read, to think, to cook, to photograph & then to write.

All FUN things that I enjoy!

Thank you to everyone else for visiting the Gazebo House.

Your kind comments mean so much to me .




  1. What a daunting read, it sounds!

    Your food pictures are wonderful. Every time I'm in Boston I eat at a Legal Seafood- wish their chowder was available to me here in the Midwest!

    And the cake and fruit look so yummy!

    Wonderful post, as always!

  2. I've had such a nostalgic "visit" with your post this morning. Our younger son was married in Providence, RI last September. I made a trip to the area before the wedding and we went in search of the perfect clam chowder. I had it by the sea in Jamestown, at a lovely restaurant in Newport and, finally, the best at the Brown University Faculty Club. Their reception was at the faculty club and one of the appetizers was cups of the steaming chowder. Delicious!

    Did you know that in addition to Manhattan clam chowder and New England clam chowder, there is a Rhode Island clam chowder. The latter has a clear broth. I prefer the New England.

    Have a wonderful weekend.


  3. good morning, i love to wake up on food for thought saturdays, i know i am in for a real treat! i loved your review, i am definitely adding this to my must read list~

    i am cracking up that your confessed your soup wasn't homemade! with pics like that you can stay mum, no one would ever guess they are so dazzled with your talents!

    that chicken looks so good... i love the dishes and lighting, FABULOUS!

    you have turned into a real 5 star photographer, look at you go girl! your dessert shots are mouth watering~ and your last shot, be still my heart, just PERFECT!

    oh that was fabulous, a new book, great food and gorgeous pics, yep its a perfect start to my day! thank you so much for playing!

  4. I have wanted to read this book for a while. Your review was great and so are your pictures and the food. I think I haven't participated in this party because I don't cook, but seeing you buy the chowder got me thinking> Maybe next time.

  5. Good morning, Rett. I've wondered about this book. I never did enjoy Moby Dick, so wondered if I'd have to read it again to refresh my memory before tackling Ahab's Wife....perhaps not. In any case, the food looks wonderful!

  6. Rett-I just finished one of those "tedious" books and I am ready for a little mindless fluff :) You did a great job with the pictures and finding the food! photos are beautiful!

  7. This book sounds wonderful! I LOVE chowder! And I really like your little heart shaped berry bowls!

  8. Wow, Rett, I did not know you were such a seamstress. I was looking at your post and saw your flashing sewing projects on the side. Such cute dresses and things you have made. Your granddaughter is so cute modeling. I wish I like to read, but I can't sit still long enough to get into a book. The food looks good though.

  9. i just have to say you cracked me up about your crime ridden town...


  10. No I didn't like this book, felt that it was a lot of read with little reward. The seafood chowder looks like a much better bet!

  11. Great review~ I really enjoy knowing if something is a little on the heavy side or a lighter read~ it makes a big difference whether I feel like concentrating that much.

    Love your dishes! Your pound cake and berries have me drooling and I would have never known your chowder wasn't something you hadn't made yourself... Shhhhh, don't tell next time :-)

  12. I am enjoying your blog, though I originally came here to reply to a comment you left on mine, Reckless Tarragon (I just saw it). I don't have the Diamond Deli zucchini soup recipe, sadly.

  13. WOW. that is quite a feat. I would never finish the book or make the food so you are an inspiration! Your photos are great.
    Thanks for following me today.

  14. What a story, that would not be a quick read for sure. The strawberries, blueberries, cream and cake look so yummy. Have a wonderful weekend and take care.

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  16. Rett~the book may have been given a four and a half star rating...homemade or not,it was served with a five star menu!

    Sweet wishes,

  17. Hi Rett! Sounds like an interesting book! And your food to accompany it looks really delicious! Aren't the blueberries just so wonderful this time of year? Thanks for your suggestion to add the story to my paper dolls. Good idea! Have a great week!...hugs...Debbie

  18. I read this book a few years ago for our book club and I had to force myself to finish it. At times I felt it was like a book they made you read in English class. I keep a log of all the books I read and I have to go back and see what I said about it right after I read it???? I see that soup in Cosco and I always wonder if it is good so next time I will buy it for sure.

  19. Oh, I do need to get back into reading. Once I'm on a roll, I can't put it down, but life seems to get in the way. Now that summer is here, it's just the time.

    I really appreciate your review. It sounds like a great book, but not the right one to get me back in the swing of reading. I need something I can blow through and feel accomplished. Then maybe later in the summer when I'm into the mode, Ahab's Wife could be added to the list. Any suggestions on where to start?

    I love all of your black and white! It sets the chowder off perfectly - store bought or not! And the fruit is to swoon over.

    I'm hosting a new meme called "Summer Sundays" and it's all about what summer means to YOU! It could be sugstions for summer reading! Hope you'll come and join us.

    - The Tablescaper

  20. Great post!
    I read this book years ago and loved it - although I do remember it being a challenge too. It helps if you've been to Nantucket and can really picture the island and its homes.
    Nothing wrong with Legal chowder!

  21. I had trouble getting through Moby Dick! I think this would be too much thinking for me when I want to relax reading late at night. I'll take some of your clam chowder though! YUM!

    Thanks for visiting my blog and for your sweet comments too!

  22. Rett, I would much rather hire people to do these things. Tiling is back breaking work and knees. Maybe one of these days he will be too old to do these things himself and we can hire to have it done. He just hates paying anybody to do anything. A lot of things get put off around here because he isn't ready to do something that needs to be done. The other day he said he was going to make a list... uh no, not yet! Have you signed up for my $60 CSN giveaway. Don't miss out. I wish I could win one.

  23. Hi Rett, such lovely pictures. What a feast for the eyes and soul.

    Blessings, Barb ♥

  24. Thanks for stopping by my DDay post! It means so much that we keep that memory alive:-)

  25. Rett-no worries, it is impossible to keep up with everything that happens in Blogland. I've had my share lately of finding out things later than I wished as I try to get back into some kind of routine again.

    It has been a horrible 3 months and truthfully, losing mom was in some ways easier than watching her go through all the horrors that came before that. The last few weeks when she couldn't move or speak, when she was trying to communicate and couldn't, were so hard for my dad and the rest of us. My dad has been here since the day after she died. We are getting through it, he misses her so much it is hard to watch. I'm going home with him in a few days and we will go through her things. That, is going to be really hard...but, he wants help with it. My sis will come down my 3rd week in Florida and stay a couple more after I come home. Hopefully, one of us with him for 5 weeks at his home will help prepare him for his new life.

    Thanks for all the support and kind words along the way.


  26. Rhett, I probably won't pick this one up to read, but the clam chowder is a different story. We make it often! Have to say the dessert is definitely calling my name. As always your FFT review is excellent! Your photos are totally amazing. I wish I could improve my photography skills. ~ Sarah

  27. I love New England clam chowder! I call it LI chowder as we dig the clams down the block, and the potatoes are from the farm down the road.

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