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Last Days of the Bus Club by Chris Stewart

2014, Sort Of Books, London


In Last Days of the Bus Club, the fourth book in the so-called Driving Over Lemons Trilogy, Stewart's daughter finishes high school and goes off to university in Granada. Despite a brief lull in my enthusiasm during a tuna-tasting competition, this last volume had me laughing out loud as much if not more than the first one. I also found another Tolstoy-Levin link, and some recipes.


Tolstoy:


Why Tolstoy and who is Levin? See Driving Over Lemons or stay patiently tuned for a future Anna Karenin post. It's what I think of when Stewart describes one of his first encounters with manual work when he was a teenager, working on a building crew:


I cannot remember ever feeling so vital and alive. I was a teenager of course, and that had a lot to do with it, but there was something about the fiercely hard physical work out in the open air. It felt good to be tanned and muscular and powerful and dirty, and always, seemingly, teetering on the verge of laughter. (71)


Food:


Good food enjoyed with people you love…is a fine antidote to most of the tribulations of existence. (155)


Chris Stewart: Wild boar stew or Tabouleh?

Here are a couple recipes from the book. If you don't have wild boar try the tabouleh!


Wild Boar Stew:

Brown chunks of boar in very hot oil to sear them in seconds (very important). Before searing a second batch, tip out any liquid gathered in the pan to avoid boiling instead of searing. You can keep this juice to add to onions later. Take meat out of pan and add a heap of onions, garlic, plus some red-hot chiles and bay leaves, rosemary and grated peel of a few lemons and oranges. Once this is all “fizzing away nicely”, put back the seared meat, add 2 tins of tomatoes, a tin of tomato puree and a couple of squares of black chocolate, which gives the stew “that black slimy Mexican texture” Personally I like to omit “slimy” when I imagine this dish! (26)


Tabouleh:

A mountain of mint and parsely chopped up with tomatoes, chilli, ginger, bulghur wheat, lemon juice, plus small red onion finely chopped and soaked for half an hour in icy water to take the worst of the kick out of it.

Yoghurt sauce to put on tabouleh:

Yoghurt, garlic, chilli, ginger and fresh coriander. (30)

(Recipes paraphrased)



Oranges:


I've been to Seville with all its wonders: the Alcazar, the cathedral filled with gold, the vast Place d’Espagne. But this pass reminded me of what I loved most of all:

Somebody once asked me…what I most loved about living in Spain. I pondered for a bit, considering the culture, the people, the sunshine, the architecture, the music, the cities, the landscape …But I eventually came to the conclusion that the one thing I really could not do without was having my own orange trees. Apart from the beauty of those gorgeous oranges shining from amongst the deep, dark foliage, there’s the delight of idly picking one as you pass a tree, and meditatively peeling and eating it segment by segment. (245)

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yvonnelemonnier
yvonnelemonnier
May 25, 2020

The orange trees growing in the streets is what I loved most about Seville!

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kelliebooksblog
kelliebooksblog
Mar 02, 2020

Yes, I think you'd like it! I'll ask Michele if she wants to keep the books. It could inspire us for the future too!

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Kat Becker
Kat Becker
Feb 25, 2020

I would like to read that book!

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