Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie

A very magical and whimsical book ostensibly written for children, it also translates beautifully for adults. Haroun and the Sea of Stories is, at its heart, a poignant treatise on the importance of words and stories and language and not censoring either your imagination or your voice. Written by Salman Rushdie, whose seminal work The Satanic Verses earned him a death warrant from the former Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini, this novel was written for his son Zafar when Rushdie was in hiding.

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Reading this wonderful tale about Haroun, whose father Rashid, is a master storyteller, and who must go on a journey through the world of stories to help his father regain his storytelling ability, was both inspiring and somewhat depressing. Since Rushdie wrote this book for his son when he was in exile during the fatwa put on his life by the late Ayatollah Khomeini, you can detect a sadness, a wistfulness in the words.

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Along his journey, as with every type of quest book, the main character runs into a fantastical array of side characters, including Blabbermouth – reminiscent of The Lord of the Rings, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, The Arabian Nights, and so many more works of fantasy and fiction.

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“You mean that just because you’re a girl you aren’t allowed to be a page?” Haroun asked sleepily. “I suppose you only do what you’re told,” Blabbermouth hotly rejoined. “I suppose you always eat up all the food on your plate, even the cauliflower.”

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Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables, but I only like it when it’s cooked. I know, I’m just weird not liking raw vegetables, but either the texture or that green underflavor just makes me want to barf. So in doing some research on ways to jazz up roasted cauliflower, I came across this marvelous method on the Whole Bite Blog, and am reproducing it in honor of Salman Rushdie’s paean to his son and to the importance of free speech.

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1 large head of cauliflower
3/4 cup olive oil, divided
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons capers
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 425F. Wash the cauliflower and break into florets in a large bowl. Pour over the olive oil and mix well with your hands to ensure every piece is covered.

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Lay the cauliflower pieces on a large flat baking tray and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and lemon zest. Roast for 25 minutes until the cauliflower browns, then flip the pieces so the other side can brown evenly, and roast another 25 minutes.

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While the cauliflower is roasting in the last 15 minutes, heat a cast-iron skillet and toast the almonds until they start to brown and you can smell the nutty flavor. Allow to cool a bit.

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For the vinaigrette, mix the lemon juice and zest, the capers, Dijon mustard and maple syrup together. Whisk in the olive oil slowly until the vinaigrette thickens. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

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Put the roasted cauliflower into a large bowl, sprinkle over the toasted almonds, and slowly pour over the vinaigrette, stirring to ensure everything gets a good dose.

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Plate up and serve with chicken or salmon or anything else. It is sooooooo delicious, with savory flavors beautifully offset by the tangy lemon and sweet maple syrup, all gorgeously enhancing the roasted nuttiness of the cauliflower. Definitely a keeper!

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16 thoughts on “Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie

  1. I love cauliflower almost any way it’s made (including cauliflower rice = I really like cauliflower rice in curry dishes) but this looks like such a fun way to serve it! The book sounds marvelouis. I have a very sophiisticated grand daughter who is a reader (so nice to have another reader in the family, it skipped a generatin) who might be a candidate for that book!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh man does that look delicious! At first, I thought the cauliflower picture was actually biscuits. I think I’m having withdrawals haha. As soon as I get some capers, I’m trying this recipe. Have you tried cauliflower rice? Oh it’s so good. I just had some last night again. Easy too!

    I haven’t seen the book but it sounds interesting, yet sad. I’ll give it a go. 💜💙💖 Thanks for sharing, Vanessa!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cauliflower really were delicious. I have tried cauliflower rice, actually and it was so good. I made it in one of my blog posts from 2016. My thing about cauliflower rice is that, as long as you go in expecting it not to taste like regular rice nor to have the same texture, it’s perfectly delicious on its own. The book is actually not sad at all, just has a somewhat poignant tone to it. It’s actually like a Fantastical fairytale really. I think you’d enjoy it. Lots of similarities to The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland.


    1. I know right? He’s very diverse in his writings. This book really was wonderful. Like I said, supposedly written for kids but I think adults can enjoy the puns and double entendre is as well. And I do have to say the cauliflower was flipping delicious.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It looked delicious! And I do love things that are for all ages. It’s even more fun when it’s something you enjoyed as a child and then you grow up and think “how did I not notice this??” bigs bunny and tweet is always a perfect example of that! Lol!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Exactly! You read those kind of double entendre is as a kid and don’t realize it, then you reread as an adult and you realize how subtle the writer really is. It’s rediscovering an old book in a whole new light.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh wow! More veggie goodness! Love all your recipes, but this one look really good and easy. I’m always trying to eat healthier, and this looks like something I could do really quickly. Thanks so much!

    Liked by 1 person

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