Novel Gathering for

Major Pettigrew’s last Stand




My first thought was to send out an invitation drawn up like this 

This is the Last Will and Testament of Major Pettigrew

The reading will take place _____________at ______________.

This Will covers a variety of matters, Churchill rifles,

legacy, racism and love.

I appoint you all my executors and give you full power

of attorney while discussing my fate.

Then, I thought of Mrs. Ali and her desire to have a library card, so an invitation on a library template would be ideal.

However, I decided if I would host this novel gathering, I would send invitation for tea.  Let’s face it, they served and drank a lot of tea in this story.




Many possible destinations would make this discussion perfect.  A library?  A teahouse?  A golf and country club?  A hilltop setting (going to Mecca).  If hosting in your home here are a few items to include preparing your house.

-       bundle of newspapers at the front door

-       pictures on your mantle with a candle lit (like a memorial)

-       yellow chrysanthemums

-       silver teapot with old blue mugs (remember the Major hosting Mrs. Ali for tea the first time?)

-       two toy guns with a butter warmer or fondue pot with mineral oil and cloths

-       golf clubs

-       piles of books like Keats, Kipling, Wordsworth and a selection of bird books

-       books on Shiva, Hinduism’s dominant religion

-       Hindu deities

-       picnic basket opened up with a few delectable inside (Roger would be impressed

-       a coat rack resembling the front cover (I loved the cover)


As the host you could wear an apron like Jasmina always did in her store.  If you have decided to serve more Indian food, how about modeling a sari during your book club.  If you will be more traditional you could wear all black as we remember all the loved ones who passed away in this story or you could go crazy and wear camouflage.  Have fun. 


Again, you can serve Indian fare and have many choices or you can find some inspiration from the book itself.  Here are a few examples, 

-       large variety of tea, served with milk, honey, lemon and fresh mint

-       luxury biscuits for said tea

-       lemon cake

-       funeral fare at Marjorie’s house, egg salad, lasagna, wine-soaked chicken stew all served on paper plates

-       Madeira Cake

Madeira cake is a sponge cake in traditional English cooking.  Nigella Lawson’s recipe is below.


-       Organic vegetable lasagna, unlike the Major, do not let it ferment

-       Plain green salad, plain fish, steak and kidney pie (dinner with Grace)

-       Thick ham and cheese sandwiches (ordered at his country club)

-       Goat, tamarind chutney, bowls of sunflower seeds, persimmon slices

-       Yorkshire pudding, samosas

-       Truffle slices, foie gras, maybe a little to rich for my tastes

-       Bacon rolls, sausages, baskets of muffins, thermos’ of coffee, smoked salmon, cold meats, cheeses, beef, roast potatoes, fruit and yogurt  (hunting at Dagenham’s)

-       Christmas feast, dry cherry, turkey and all the trimmings (after Roger’s breakup)

-       Chicken Balti (runaway food for Mrs. Ali and the Major)


I did try a Chicken Balti recipe after reading this novel.  Below is the link to Jamie Oliver’s recipe if you too would like to try it.


Cocktails of Choice


75’ Margaux (picnic with Dad)

Champagne (anytime Roger is around)

Bloody Mary’s (at Dagenham’s)

Gin & Tonic (at the clubhouse)


Lunch Punch 

With cucumber, pineapple chunks and pomegranate seeds and a hint of juniper (Rasool’s)


As always, have fun with your get together's and discuss the book with a cocktail or two.


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