Symposium Club meets at home of Diane Riley

Symposium Club meets at home of Diane Riley

Posted: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 8:01 pm

The Symposium Club met recently in the lovely home of Diane Riley.
Upon arrival, the members were served a delicious Italian Cream Cake, prepared by co-hostess Rosalee Thompson.
President Alice Dunlap called the meeting to order. Secretary Mary Elizabeth Nohsey called the roll and read the minutes. Linda Jennings gave the treasurer’s report and a short business meeting was conducted.
Fredricka Schleifer reviewed two of Pat Conroy’s books — “The Pat Conroy Cookbook; Recipes and Stories of My Life,” co-written with Suzanna Williamson Pollack; and his most recent small autobiography, “My Reading Life.”
In the recipe book, Conroy notes topics for his books “sprang out of his father’s terrible house, the relationship and support of his Beaufort high school English teacher, Gene Norris, and the day that he was able to call Beaufort, S.C., his hometown.”
He is the eldest son of a Marine aviator and a southern mother. The family moved 23 times before Conroy was 15 years old.
Conroy has a passion for cooking as well as writing. He learned to cook after he married. The family moved to Atlanta from Beaufort and his wife went to Emory University Law School. He was put in charge of preparing the dinner meal for his three small children.
His first cookbook was written by the French cook Auguste Escoffier, that emphasized people begin cooking by making stocks and sauces.
Conroy’s cookbook details events of his life and his travels. He gives recipes after he describes his experiences. The recipes are low country, Italian and French.
His newest book, “My Reading Life,” pays homage to his family, teachers and friends who introduced him to the great books that he has read. He says that “reading has been his portal to the world, both to the farthermost corners of the globe and to the deepest chamber of the human soul.”
His great love and admiration for his mother, Frances Margaret “Peggy” “Peg” Conroy, leads him to begin the book with a testimonial of her. Peg Conroy introduced her children to books and language by bringing home many library books each week. She read aloud her favorite novel, “Gone With the Wind,” to Conroy when he was 5 years old.
He also honored Norris with a tribute. Norris not only introduced famous literature to Conroy, but taught him to become a gentleman. They remained very close friends until Norris’s death.
Conroy still admires Thomas Wolfe’s novels, “Look Homeward Angel” and “Time and the River.” He read these books when he was in high school.
“My Reading Life” is illustrated by Wendell Minor. It is set in gaudy typeface called Kennerly and described as “an original American classic.”
Other notable novels written by Conroy were “The Great Santini” and “Prince of Tides.”
After the program, Mrs. Schleifer distributed some of her favorite recipes from the book.
A Christmas party was held at Reelfoot Lake in December. Paula Chapman, Lelia Warner and Jane Huffsetler served as hostesses.

Published in The Messenger 1.18.11

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