Dishing up adventure
Tsawwassen resident Darlene Foster serves up an Arabian dish in theme with her new novel for youth, ‘Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask.’
Kristine Salzmann photo
Published: October 07, 2010 12:00 PM
A Tsawwassen author’s first published book takes young readers on an adventure to the United Arab Emirates.
It’s not a country often talked about nor a setting you’d expect in a novel about a 12-year-old girl, but Darlene Foster was enthralled by the locale when she traveled there to visit a friend 10 years ago.
“It was so fascinating and exciting. My girlfriend said I was just like a child because I was so enthusiastic.”
She wanted to translate that enthusiasm into an adventure story for young readers. Foster, an employment counsellor, created Amanda Ross, a 12-year-old who wishes for adventure and travel on her birthday and receives a plane ticket to the UAE where an aunt and uncle live.
All four of Foster’s grandchildren already have copies of Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask and she says they loved it, even her young grandson despite the bright pink cover.
Many of the adventures Amanda experiences are ones Foster did during her trip, such as attend a camel race, ride a camel, and watch the sun set over the dunes.
Foster says she also loved the food there. After returning from the UAE, she picked up Classic Vegetarian Cooking from the Middle East & North Africa by Habeeb Salloum. It’s a cookbook she dips into weekly for recipes such as this rice flavoured with cardamom.
Both her readers and publishing company, ireadiwrite, are looking for Amanda to continue her travels. Foster received an email from a young girl who asked, “Where is Amanda going next, and what colour will it be?”
Amanda will continue to have adventures, says Foster.
Next, her protagonist will set off in search of excitement in Spain (and the cover will be red). Third in the series may be a trip to England. Both are places Foster has traveled.
“Amanda isn’t going anywhere without me,” she says.
Foster will hold a book signing at Black Bond Books (5251 Ladner Trunk Rd.) on Oct. 16, 1 to 3 p.m. and at the Guildford Town Centre in Surrey on Oct. 30 at 1 p.m. For more about the author and her writing, visit darlenefoster.ca.
Rice flavoured with cardamom
4 Tbsp. butter
1 ½ cups slivered almonds
1 cup rice, rinsed
¼ cup raisins or chopped dates
2 ½ cups water
½ teaspoon ground cardamom seeds
½ teaspoon cinnamon
salt to taste
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
2 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley
Melt butter in a frying pan and sauté almonds until they begin to brown
Add rice and stir fry for another three minutes.
Stir in remaining ingredients, except parsley, and bring to a boil
Cover and cook over medium low heat for 25 minutes
Turn off heat and allow to steam for 30 minutes
Stir, place on serving platter and garnish with parsley