Here at RCM, we love books. We also love any opportunity participate in an awesome book club. So we decided to smoosh the two together and create the virtual Rocket City Mom Book Club! More info about our next title is below, and you can request to join the conversation here. Happy reading!
This month’s RCM Virtual Book Club title is Midnight at the Blackbird Café by Heather Webber. Join us virtually on Thursday, May 28 at 8:30 PM CST. If you can’t make it at THAT time, check back in throughout the week to keep the discussion going. Big thanks to The Snail On the Wall Books for sponsoring our title selections, and Shannan for her review below!
Midnight at the Blackbird Café Review
Have you ever had blackbird pie? I had not until a little over a year ago when Lady Smith of Snail on the Wall, our RCM Book Club Sponsor, hosted an event with Heather Webber, the author of this month’s pick, Midnight at the Blackbird Café, at LeeLee Wiginton Ray’s Huntsville cafe, Lyn’s Gracious Goodness.
In medieval times, and hence the origin of the nursery rhyme, four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie. When the pie was opened the birds began to sing, the crust was thick and baked first. Then the live birds would be placed inside, the lid put back on, and presented to the lords and ladies at the feast. When the lid was opened, the birds would fly out and begin to sing, similar to people popping out of a cake in present day. Now, and as described in Webber’s book, black bird pie is pastry dough filled with a chilled creamy custard-like topped with mulberries or blueberries.
The dough is buttery and rich. The creamy custard is tangy, yet not so much that you are overwhelmed by it. There is a just the right amount of sugar cutting through the tang. And, when LeeLee made it, the big, round blueberries pop with the natural sweetness inside your mouth atop the acidity of the custard. It tastes like it looks on the cover pic. Delicious.
To be fair, I haven’t had blackbird pie in over a year. I just know that when I had LeeLee make me a couple of pies, a couple months later for a Labor Day Weekend BBQ with extended family, I only took one and none of it returned home in spite of there being a number of other dessert options.
But I have savored Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe a second time and it’s as good as I remembered. A delicious read, literally. I want to eat at the Blackbird Cafe after reading the descriptions of the food. Blackbird Cafe is also sweet but rich, with a sufficient amount of tang of life (loss, love, healing and forgiveness) not to make the read sentimental, and give it some heft. The magical realism (the first book I have read with it that I wasn’t sure what exactly I was reading) is just right-juicy blueberries atop an already tasty treat.
Now that I have made you sufficiently hungry, and no, this post is not sponsored, let’s support our local businesses, by ordering pick-up from our very own cafe and picking up a tasty read from our local independent bookstore. These businesses need our support now, more than ever. And in this unprecedented time, I could do with a sweet and light read with just a bit of magical realism.
Chat with the Author!
Heather Webber will be joining us to discuss her book Thursday, May 28 at 8:30 PM CST on the Rocket City Mom Virtual Book Club Facebook page. We will chat about her love of baking and her fascination with North Alabama, the setting of Blackbird Café. Huntsville gets a shout-out in the book. And if you enjoyed Blackbird Café, she has another book coming out, South of the Buttonwood Tree, also set in Alabama, on July 21.
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Shannan Moore Malone squeezes in the time to write while taking care of the Buddy Man. As you already know, she loves books but she also loves great movies, running, and is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, a foodie. Though generally more on the quiet side, you can get her talking by mentioning living authentically, the importance of clarity and organization, and enjoying life, which she occasionally writes about on her blog her blog and posts about on Instagram @shannanenjoyslife.