Sisters One, Two, Three

The Book:

51qbwooweil-_sx331_bo1204203200_Sisters One, Two, Three is about many things: family, secrets, the unknown effect of our behavior on those who love us, disappointment, and allowing things to happen to us instead of making choices in our lives. It also is a cautionary tale about finding a balance between paying attention to loved ones and being stiflingly overprotective. The Tangle family consists of Glory, the flamboyant, beautiful, and aptly-named mother; Solly, the gracelessly-aging, but dear husband and father; and the children, Ginger, Mimi, Callie, and Charlie. The book was a compelling read and hard to put down. I kept reading another chapter to uncover the secrets and also  hoped that some plot points that were troubling me would come together in a way that made sense. Without disclosing the ending, I’ll just say that once revealed, Glory’s secrets didn’t seem plausible to me. There was no reason for them. Finally, that so many people contributed to keeping Glory’s secrets for so long didn’t ring true, either. I enjoyed the book right up until the end.

THE BEAUTY:

Martha’s Vineyard was a large presence in this story. Many of the characters spoke of their love for the place and of how friendly and accepting the people are there. The author made reference to the fact that many of the people who lived there signed, as in American Sign Language. My research revealed that there was indeed, a large population of deaf people in the past. The original founders carried a gene for deafness, and because of the relative isolation of island living, there was a lot of intermarriage, increasing the deaf population. That population has dwindled in modern times because of mobility. Young people now travel off-island for college and work, and tend to marry people from those locations. The connection to the book is that outsiders or minorities, like the deaf, like Callie, can be accepted into the community there. The photo below is a couple of the gingerbread cottages in Wesleyan Grove in Oak Bluffs. This is the site of the first summer religious camp in the country, Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association. It is a National Historic Landmark. What reminded me of it was the description in the book of the community that all looked out for Callie.

gingerbread-house                         This photo is from a September 7, 2013 entry on svperry.com blog.

THE FOOD:

For Ginger’s 13th birthday dinner, a significant event for the whole family, as well as for Ginger herself, Glory made “Tuna Tempter,” a casserole that she made with wagon wheel pasta and condensed mushroom soup. It reminded me of a dish I made in sixth grade on an environmental camp trip, but ours was called “Tuna Wiggle.” We arrived at camp mid-morning, and after an introductory activity where we were arranged in small groups, those groups then put together a casserole which was cooked over an open fire. At the time, the whole experience, including the finished product, impressed me. I was eleven.

TUNA WIGGLE

12 oz. pkg. egg noodles                                   2 C  frozen peas
2 cans tuna, drained and flaked                   ½ C grated parmesan cheese
2 cans cream of mushroom soup                 bread crumbs
1 ¼ C milk                                                           butter

Preheat oven to 400º
Undercook noodles (package instructions said 9-11 minutes, I cooked them for 7). Drain. In large mixing bowl, combine noodles, flaked tuna, peas and parmesan. Mix cream of mushroom soup and milk together until smooth. The noodles will absorb the liquid, so you want it watery. Add soup to noodle mixture and stir to mix evenly. Fill a greased 13 X 8 X 3 inch baking dish with noodles mixture. Cover tightly with foil. Place in oven for 15 minutes. Remove dish from oven, remove foil. Sprinkle top with bread crumbs and dot with butter. Return to oven for another 20 minutes. Let the casserole rest for 10 minutes before serving.

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