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the round house

The Round House focuses on traditional Native American foods such as bannock (fry bread), Res steak sandwiches (bologna sandwich on commodity bread with commodity cheese), and wild meats. I did create an upscale Res steak sandwich with pancetta, French cheese, rye bread, and pesto which helped round out the meal.

This berry cobbler can be made in one large 9 x 13” pan or in individual ramekin dishes. The individual dishes allow for easier distribution in a book club meeting.

Berry cobbler The Round HouseTriple Berry Cobbler

  • 2 cups mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)*
  • 1/4 cup (half stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1-1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

 

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup sugar

*You can also used canned berries. It takes approximately two full cans.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray 13 x 9 pan or individual ramekins with non-stick spray.

Evenly spread mixed berries into the baking dishes. Place dish on a foil-covered baking sheet.

In a bowl, mix butter, sugar, flour, milk, baking powder, salt and vanilla with a wooden spoon, until thoroughly mixed. Spoon batter over fruit and spread evenly.

Mix remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup warm water. Pour evenly over dish(es). This sweetens the berries as well as browns the crust.

Bake for 50-55 minutes, until topping is golden brown and fruit is bubbling.

Serve warm as is, or with vanilla ice cream.

Faux Res Steak Sandwiches
Faux Res Steak Sandwiches

Berry cobbler is a sweet but (almost) healthy option for book club. Louise Erdrich’s book, The Round House, requires a  saccharine dessert  to offset its deep, weighty discussion.

the round house

The Round House is Louise Erdrich’s 26th book and practice has made perfect. Riveting, paradigm-shifting, and expansive, The Round House has won the National Book Award as well as many others. It delves into race, religion, socioeconomics, truth, revenge, and justice. And it makes for a compelling discussion among your next book club meeting.

Book Synopsis

The Round House Louise Erdrich Discussion QuestionsOne Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface as Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal what happened, either to the police or to her husband, Bazil, and thirteen-year-old son, Joe. In one day, Joe’s life is irrevocably transformed. He tries to heal his mother, but she will not leave her bed and slips into an abyss of solitude. Increasingly alone, Joe finds himself thrust prematurely into an adult world for which he is ill prepared.

While his father, who is a tribal judge, endeavors to wrest justice from a situation that defies his efforts, Joe becomes frustrated with the official investigation and sets out with his trusted friends, Cappy, Zack, and Angus, to get some answers of his own. Their quest takes them first to the Round House, a sacred space and place of worship for the Ojibwe. And this is only the beginning.

-From the publisher, Harper Collins

Discussion Questions for The Round House

Louise Erdrich’s publisher, Harper Collins, offers a lengthy list of discussion questions. As always, consider these additional questions as well:

  1. Why do you think the author chose to have Joe narrate the story? How did his perspective color/influence the story?
  2. How do we struggle with reaching/helping people who are caught in the cycle of grief? Joe can’t reach his mother and force her to resume living. How do we force/or drop the ball on others who need help?
  3. Can you name an instance when you reached out to help someone struggling? Did it end well or was there an adverse reaction?
  4. Why do you think Joe’s mother wouldn’t name the place where the rape occurred? Do you think she truly didn’t know or is she keeping quiet? Considering the crime of rape is true, do you think it would be ethical of her to bend the facts on the location?
  5. Joe is 13 when his mother is raped, which is a pivotal coming of age time for boys. Do you think his actions and reactions would have been different if he had been 8 or 9? What about if he was 18?
  6. What is your definition of justice? Does perspective, relationship, time, space, etc. affect justice?
  7. Have you ever sat on a jury? Do you think you are a good judge of character?
  8. If Joe were to stand trial for the murder of his mother’s rapist, how do you think he would be found? Guilty? Not guilty? How would you vote?
  9. What’s your opinion on the balance in the universe? His friend had to die at the end, because a death equaled a death. Do you think the universe finds equilibrium?

A few related foods will be will be featured this week, including Cranberry Bread, Faux Steak Res Sandwiches, and Triple Berry Cobbler.

May words nourish your soul.

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