Back-of-the-book blurb:Through his quietly powerful leadership and influential use of nonviolent resistance in India’s struggle against the British Raj, Mahatma Gandhi became one of the most revered figures of the modern era. While history has recorded Gandhi’s words and deeds, the man himself has been eclipsed by maxims of virtuosity that seem to have little resonance in our everyday lives. Kazuki Ebine combines a gripping narrative with stunning illustrations to re-create the life of a man who – like all of us – grappled with doubt and failure, but strove to keep faith in his beliefs and lead his people to a better life.
She Is Too Fond of Books’ review: I am the perfect reader to review this book because I was a blank slate. I’d never read manga before, which, I understand, refers not only to “comics” written by Japanese authors, but also to the style of these drawings, which has been imitated by Western artist as well. Further, I knew very little about Mahatma Ghandi, other than a very vague understanding that he was an activist who believed in peaceful demonstration. I’m embarrassed to admit this gap in my knowledge of world history, but, there you have it!
I was fascinated to learn that Ghandi’s beliefs were “inspired by Henry David Thoreau.” In the biography, the character says “I first named it passive
resistance, but I did not fell comfortable with the word passive.” Indeed, the Satyagraha Movement Ghandi spearheaded against the British Empire in what is now South Africa means “devotion to the truth.” Ghandi enlisted the support of his fellow Indians to peacefully protest against the “Black Act.”
In 1916, Ghandi led the entire nation in a day of prayer and fasting to oppose the Rowlatt Act (which allowed the government to arrest people without warrants and to jail them without a trial). Schools, markets, and factories were closed; buses and trains stopped running without the Indian population. The government responded with an armed attack. Ghandi continued to plead with his countrymen, “Please don’t deal violence with violence, it will only create more hatred and sorrow. Deal the insanity with the sanity; join me in the struggle.”
The biography continues through Ghandi’s six-year sentence for non-violent demonstration, a cross-country march of more than 5000 Indians – both Hindus and Muslims, together – to protest the tax on goods (symbolically, it was the tax on salt they opposed, and were walking to the Dandi Beach to make their own salt; “man cannot live without salt”), his hunger strike in 1948, and his assassination later that same year. Some of the platitudes expressed by Ghandi in the biography include:
There are many religious paths from different traditions, but … they all ultimately lead us to a common goal
An eye for an eye ends up making the whole world blind
Styagraha [devotion to the truth] starts from loving your own enemy
We must become the change we want to see in the world [a favorite, yes?]
My only weapon is uncompromising non-violence and civil disobedience
I could either be destroyed in the flame of hatred and vengeance, or I could extinguish it
I learned of Ghandi’s earliest insecurities; in the biography, his mother tells him that he struggles to speak in class because he is too worried about what others think of him, she says “the day you become truly altruistic and wish others happiness” is the day he will lose his self-consciousness and follow a path of service.
The graphics were clear, and easy to follow (click the image above to see a larger page view). Author/illustrator Kazuki Ebine’s drawings of Ghandi resemble photos of him both as a young man and in his later years. Ebine is an award-winning comic book artist in Tokyo.
A few bubbles contained text that I wasn’t sure if it was regional dialect or a typo (such as the town I know as Newcastle in South Africa being written as two words, New Castle). I was struck by the lack of pagination – perhaps this is typical of manga books.
I read the biography twice, and picked up (and retained) more details the second time through. It’s a great format for an intro to Ghandi, for a quick refresher, or as a supplement to a more traditional biography.
Other books in the series include biographies of Che Guevara and the 14th Dali Lama.
You’re not seeing things, the title of this blog post is, indeed, “Fried Cereal.”
Remember that cherpumple the kids and I made about a year ago? That was the brainchild of Charles Phoenix, self-proclaimed “showman, author, humorist, and ambassador of Americana.” Well, Charles Phoenix is back with more kitchen shenanigans …
This recipe requires six cups of what we in the SITFOB household refer to as “vacation cereal,” those brightly-colored sugary bits, often found in boxes festooned with cartoon characters. The kids enjoy mixing their own combinations from those big dispensers at hotels, and we sometimes pick out a box or two for the weeks we’re in the Cape.
Doesn’t this “recipe” just call out for a variety-pack of those single-serving cereal boxes? Alas, our grocery store doesn’t carry them, so I let the kids pick out SIX boxes of vacation cereal (approximately $4.50 a box; you do the math, I’m too embarrassed!). They chose:
And the instructions:
Melt half a stick of salted butter in a large skillet
Measure one cup of each cereal into a colander, and shake out the “cereal dust”
Pour cereal into the sizzling butter
Stir until coated, then continue to stir occasionally until all butter is absorbed and cereal begins to toast
Allow to cool slightly, and serve
I think the kids were on a sugar high just from having all that “vacation cereal” in the house — they couldn’t believe that I said YES! How did it taste? It tasted fine – it wasn’t as cloyingly sweet as I expected; very reminiscent of the taste of Rice Krispies Treats (without the chewy marshmallow).
Oh, if you want to know what we did with the “cereal dust, you’ll have to watch the video below, from the guy who puts the “kitsch” in kitchen, Charles Phoenix:
Back up to Salem on Sunday morning for the last day of the Salem Lit Fest!
The first two panels I attended were at the Salem Athenæum (isn’t that cool that I figured out how to insert the ligature ‘ae’? And, yes, I had to look up what it was called!). The Athenæum is a 50,000 volume private library in historic Salem. In addition to the lending (and non-circulating) resources, they have a full calendar of events and courses.
I was there, of course, for The Lipstick Chronicles, a panel of five authors who contribute to the collaborative blog of the same name (with the clever tag line, “Just keep reading and nobody gets hurt”). Panelists included Brunonia Barry, Heather Graham, Joshilyn Jackson, Cornelia Read , Hank Phillippi Ryan, and Sarah Strohmeyer. Ryan moderated this group, who were quick with the smart and funny responses. At the end of the panel they each shared snippets about their current projects – what a tease!
Now, I haven’t yet read each of the authors on the panel, but do enjoy the work of the two I have read (Barry and Jackson). This weekend was the first time I’ve had the chance to see Jackson speak, and I can’t get enough. She’s Smart and Funny (yes, deserving of the capitals). Sandy at You’ve GOTTA Read This claims to be her #1 fan (not in a Misery kind of way), but, I’ve got to tell you, if there were an empty bus seat next to Joshilyn Jackson, I just might have to push Sandy out of the way to get into it (a very gentle push, of course).
Oh, are you wondering about the photos? The top is, of course, Samantha from Bewitched; the statue was a gift to the city of Salem from the folks at TV Land. There are a lot of interesting statues in Salem – historical figures and ironic structures. The second was from a room at the Athenæum where I waited with my co-panelists before the Book Bloggers Panel. We don’t know the history of this “art” we dubbed Suicidal Barbie (which, Kevin from Boston Book Bums pointed out, would be a great name for a punk band). Barbie made us smile, which is not my usual reaction to her!
The Book Bloggers Panel was next! Marie Cloutier (Boston Bibliophile), Kevin Cooney (Boston Book Bums), and Therese Walsh (Writer Unboxedand author of The Last Will of Moira Leahy), and I were moderated by Hank Phillippi Ryan. Discussion ranged from why/when we began blogging, any patterns to our posting schedule, how we respond to author comments (both positive and negative), how we handle a book we didn’t like, and the reach/impact of our blogs. The panel ended with us each sharing two book recommendations, then a brief Q&A; it was a lot of fun! Marie posted a re-cap of the Book Blogger Panel as well (with a photo!).
I’ve spent time IRL with Marie and Kevin, but hadn’t previously met Therese. Writer Unboxed is another collaborative blog “about the craft and business of fiction” – check if out, if you’re not already reading it!
The last event for me was the Book Club Bonanza and Social, held in a meeting room at the House of Seven Gables site. This was, with the exception of wonderful Dinner with the Authors, my favorite event of the weekend. Nine authors each read 2-minute excerpts of their most recent work, then launched into lively conversation with the audience – topics included panel-wide discussion of book club meetings, Skype, support for independent bookstores (yay!), and cover art (always a hot topic). The audience asked questions of specific panel members as well.
Randy Susan Meyers (I haven’t yet reviewed The Murderer’s Daughters; here’s a Spotlight on Bookstores post Randy wrote about Newtonville Books)
Meg Mitchell Moore (The Arrivals)
Deborah Noyes (Captivity. Here’s a Spotlight on Bookstores post Deborah wrote about Porter Square Books)
The moderator wrapped it up with this quote from Austin Phelps: ”Wear the old coat and buy the new book,” which inspired nodding of the head, smiles, and laughter from us all.
Before we broke to mingle, chat with the authors one-on-one, and nosh, we gave an enthusiastic round of applause to not only this specific group of panelists, but for the entire Salem Lit Fest and the work of the planning committee and Brunonia Barry, the host of the Fest.
I’m already looking forward to Salem Lit Fest 2012!
The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot written by Margaret McNamara, illustrated by Mark Fearing
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (September 27, 2011)
Back-of-the-book blurb:GREEP BOINK MEEP! The three little aliens are happily settling into their new homes when the Big Bad Robot flies in to crack and smack and whack their houses down! A chase across the solar system follows in this out-of-this-world version of the classic Three Little Pigs tale. Margaret McNamara (How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?) and Mark Fearing (The Book that Eats People) have created a humorous and visually stunning story that kids will adore—and that will introduce them to the planets and the solar system. The endpapers even include a labeled diagram of all the planets.
She Is Too Fond of Books’ review:I hadn’t read the jacket flap before settling in to read this fun picture book with my 7-year-old. We saw the cover art – Big Bad robot’s intimidating legs, and the very expressive faces on the aliens (each with a different reaction – confused, scared, and angry) - and thought it would be a fun/funny book to read.
It wasn’t until we got to this page that I realized it was a derivative of the familiar tale:
“Little alien! Little alien!” bleeped the Robot. “Pull over! PULL OVER!”
“Not by the wheels of my trusty space rover!” cried Bork bravely.
“Then I’ll crack and smack and whack your house down!” meeped the Robot.
My son was laughing out loud at the Robot “bleeping” and “meeping” his words, and really enjoyed the greep, boink, meep, peedily, deep, ork, eep eep sounds that accompanied it (as an aside, he now insists on being a robot for Halloween this year, and is practicing his greep).
Sometimes you have to hit me over the head with a moon rock to get my attention, but once I realized this is a retelling of The Three Little Pigs, I really appreciated how clever it is.
The three little aliens are Bork, Gork, and Nklxwcyz (I say “nixle-wix”); Bork and Gork’s answers to straw and stick houses are riding a space rover on Mars and surfing the rings of Saturn on a satellite. Nklxwcyz chooses the finest space debris (boulders, stardust, solar panels, and a telescope) to build a sturdy home on Neptune. This, of course, was the ultimate demise of the Robot, who exploded when he couldn’t fit down the chimney.
Mark Fearing’s illustrations are bright and expressive - the three little aliens have distinct personalities, which shine through in their clothing and faces. McNamara’s text and Fearing’s intergalactic details help readers learn a bit about the planets as the aliens make their way to their new homes (Venus is “too hot,” Earth is “too crowded”). An author’s note explains “this is not a science book, but there is a little bit of science in the aliens’ travels” and tells of the illustrations:
Mark Fearing researched the planets so that he could depict them as accurately as possible, and based their coloration on photographs provided by NASA. All eight planets are shown on the endpapers, though the distance between them is not to scale.
An enjoyable, laugh-out-loud book, with some sneaky learning opportunities; highly recommended.
Brunonia Barry, Julia Glass, and Katherine Howe. Note the bank safe behind them (held at Salem Five's community room)
The new, revived Salem Lit Fest was held this past weekend – actually a 3-day fest, it kicked off with a reception on Friday night (which my family schedule kept me from). Aside from the Friday evening reception and “Dinner with the Authors” on Saturday, a $5 button/pin gave admission to a full slate of panels and activities throughout the weekend.
Brunonia Barry (The Lace Reader, The Map of True Places) hosted the festival – she was everywhere, always with a smile on her face. Earlier this month she wrote an post on Writer Unboxed about “Keeping Lit Alive,” how close Salem came to folding its lit fest, and the strength in numbers of the many people who volunteered their time and talents to make the event a success. She shares tips for others who are interested in starting a lit fest in their area; definitely an informative and inspiring article!
Following the Friday reception, there were two full days of bookish fun – this post will cover the two events I attended on Saturday; another post will pick up with Sunday’s events.
I made the 40-minute drive up to Salem on Saturday afternoon. This is a wonderful small city – walkable, waterfront, historic (witch trials!), and literary (Hawthorne, Melville, Miller’s The Crucible, etc.).
The first panel I attended was Writing Strong Women, moderated by Dr. Theresa Defrancis, author of Women-Writing-Women: Three American Responses to the Woman Question, which ”examines the strong female characters created by Kate Chopin, Willa Cather, and Nella Larsen.” The panelists were Brunonia Barry, Julia Glass (whose Three Junes won the National Book Award in 2002, and whose most recent novel is I See You Everywhere), and Katherine Howe (The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane).
The three panelists addressed “strong women” specific to their own writing; some out-takes:
her characters have obstacles to overcome
author must stay true to the character – in Map of True Places, the character (and resolution of her story) was subtle, but not weak
interestingly, has written more male characters than female; finds women characters more challenging
the “best” strong women are up against something
to become significant women asserting their power in the world, they have to fight a little harder
readers empathize with the character and her struggles, even if they don’t like her
characters are rich, challenging, frustrating – the author has to “live” with them for a few years
feels she writes “milquetoast” women who grow into new versions of themselves
gender is a constraining quality (especially evident in historical fiction, such as she writes); women are denied voting rights, property ownership, and have to answer to their fathers until they’re married (at which time they answer to their husbands)
weakness allows room for growth and strength; gives the character somewhere to grow
There was a question/answer period, in which the audience asked if, as women, these authors felt an obligation to write strong women characters. The conversation moved to a discussion of genre naming conventions (women’s fiction and chick lit vs. simply “fiction”), which led to jacket design questions, and an analysis of Bella (Twilight) vs. Hermione (Harry Potter) vs. Eloise.
An excellent panel, with many jumping-off points for further discussion!
I had over an hour before the dinner began, and spent the time chatting with Cindy Richard, a local writer I met via Twitter and who has come to a few our of events at the Concord Bookshop. Well, you know how time flies when your talking books and writing; before we knew it, it was time to head over to Colonial Hall for dinner. This was a lovely evening at the event space above Rockafellas restaurant; I believe the entire building was a former church.
When we purchased our tickets for “Dinner with the Authors” we were asked to list our top three choices of authors to sit with. Are you kidding me? Brunonia
Personally inscribed books!
Barry, Jenna Blum, Robert Booth, Julia Glass, Megan Kelley Hall, Katherine Howe, Joshilyn Jackson, and Erin Morgenstern … this was like asking me to choose which of my children I’d save in a house fire! I sat at the table hosted by Erin Morgenstern, and we chatted all things Night Circus. The eight people at our table included writers (published and not-yet-published), a publicist, and readers of all types.
Joshilyn Jackson headlined the dinner and told an absolutely hysterical story about finding her agent and selling her first novel – it was complete with “voices,” gestures, and an authentic Southern accent (which made the agent’s New York accent even more entertaining in Joshilyn’s voice). I hadn’t met her before this evening, and was as taken in with her in-person storytelling as I was when I listened to Backseat Saints. Each of the authors’ books were for sale, and they graciously took the time to chat with individuals and sign.
I left Salem well before the ‘witching hour’ and headed home for a good night’s sleep before Part 2 (Sunday) … will plan to post about that day’s adventures later this week!
Like quirky indie films, I’m drawn to quirky indie books. This fall’s Touch and Go by Thad Nodine (the new fiction title from Unbridled Books) is lining up to fit the bill; the first sentence of the book blurb reminds me of a “guy walks into a bar” joke, but you’ll see it’s much more than that:
A blind, recovering addict gets into an old station wagon with his sponsors and their foster family for a drive from Burbank to Florida to deliver a handmade casket to a dying grandfather. As they battle their way across the southern half of the nation, this rag-tag American family falls prey to love and lies, greed and violence, crime and Katrina.
I caution you not to think this is slapstick in its printed form. Remember the film Little Miss Sunshine, and all we learned from the Hoover family as they drove to Olive’s beauty pageant? And how Santa was helped by Hermey, the elf who wants to be a dentist, in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer? Sometimes misfits are the perfect fit!
The book blurb asks:
How can we ever know anyone when the information we receive from them is so fragmentary and misleading? Kevin, the novel’s blind narrator, is one of the most perceptive figures in recent fiction. And his desire to do no harm is contagious. Through Kevin’s rich senses – and his boundless compassion and empathy – Nodine gives us a multicultural portrait of what just might be the true America. And he does so with deep affection for everyone along the way.
I’m only about 30 pages into the novel, but that’s enough for me to know that I wanted to share a ‘teaser’ from it today.
This tender scene is from page 10. Kevin has just been laid off from his newspaper reporting job. Dejected, he takes the public bus toward home, but trips as he’s walking up the sidewalk, hurting his ankle and dropping his cane (“Charlie”) in the process. Ray, the foster child who lives with him, spots Kevin as he hops on one foot, rubbing his sore ankle:
“You look funny!” he said, giggling. He didn’t care that I was blind. He wasn’t ashamed of my scar. He didn’t know I was a failure. In that instant, I saw myself from a kid’s perspective: hopping. I dropped my foot and tugged him against me, my arm around his slim torso. He wanted none of that; he pulled away quickly. In the house, away from people, he loved to be coddled, but not out on the street, where someone might see him. He was small, but he was going into seventh grade after all.
I heard him folding Charlie. Then he brought my palm to his near shoulder and set off guiding me home. I squeezed gently, enjoying the familiar curve of his thin collarbone. That’s one way I know people, by the rhythm of their shoulder or elbow as they settle into a gait. I tried to match his short, quick steps. Ray doesn’t lead so much as he likes the attention of being followed. After a few strides, he started hopping on one foot, laughing, and I started hopping as well. Before I could help it, I was laughing too.
Has this excerpt got your attention? Kevin’s observations are perceptive, and he quickly pulls out of his own funk when he “sees himself” from Ray’s perspective. An ironic choice of words, since Kevin is blind.
What are you reading this week? Care to share a few “teaser” sentences?
Back-of-the-book blurb: After her divorce, Kate Kindred decided that she would live her life without children. But then she fell in love with Jim, a handsome, caring man who had custody of his young son, Michael. And she fell in love with the boy, too. During the six years they all lived together, Kate learned the deep joys of motherhood that was the gift that Michael gave her. But when her relationship with Jim ended, he denied her any contact with Michael.
And her heart was broken.
An Accidental Mother beautifully describes the joys of mothering a young boy through complicated times. With sweet simple anecdotes and complex emotions, Kate Kindred marks every page with tears, including those that the most loving laughter can bring to any parent.
She Is Too Fond of Books’ review: This slim, powerful book packs quite a punch. It’s a love story – the slow build-up to an undeniable connection a woman and her lover’s son. Kate loves Michael as if he is her own; with Jim’s work schedule, she becomes primary caregiver – the one who gets up with him when he has a nightmare, and stays home from work to care for him when he has a winter cold.
The caregiving history is tangled and messy from the outset, but that doesn’t diminish Kate’s role in Michael’s life; rather, it underscores the structure and order she brought to the boy’s life. Jim didn’t even know Michael existed until he came to live with him at age two, after Michael’s mother (Jim’s former girlfriend) was declared unfit to care for him. Jim also had partial custody of an infant daughter from a marriage that ended shortly after the girl was born.
Michael is almost four when Kate and Jim begin dating; he takes to her immediately, and she finds herself filling a role that she had given up hope of holding – from friend, to caregiver, to mother in spirit (if not formalized).
Knowing that the relationships end – and that Kate is left truly broken-hearted, made it even more emotional to watch those bonds develop. Kindred writes(p. 9):
… it became a toehold in a secret world, an exclusive club called “parenting,” a world into which I had thought I would never be granted a pass. At the same time, I didn’t realize that it is also something like a cult – easier to get into than out of.
Michael called her “mom” and gifted her with Mother’s Day cards and bouquets. Kindred shares some of his drawings in the memoir, including a fill-in-the-blank exercise from Kindergarten or First Grade: “My mom is special because she taks car of me wan I am sake” accompanied by a drawing of Kate (with apparent angel wings) bringing soup to Michael in bed. What mother doesn’t receive notes like this, vowing to keep them forever?!
For six years Kate mothered Michael as her relationship with Jim grew (to the point where he was talking about her adopting Michael, but, somehow never got around to filing the paperwork). The breakup is painful, not because the relationship between the two adults is ending, but because of the confusion it causes Michael and the heartache it leaves for Kate.
This is a love story that had me crying tears of sadness and of anger. Anger at Jim for hurting his son (and Kate) by closing her out of his life, anger at Kate for not pushing the adoption issue (because she has no legal right to see Michael), angry at a legal system that requires so much formality in order to prove a relationship.
An Accidental Mother should be required reading for every parent (to appreciate what you have, even on days the kids are driving you crazy), and anyone who is in a serious (non-married) relationship in which kids are involved. I’d love to discuss this with our book group, to see where most of the emotion is directed.
I’m heading up to Salem this morning for my second day of the book fest there. On Saturday I attended a panel on “Writing Strong Women” led by Brunonia Barry, Katherine Howe, and Julia Glass. I enjoyed “Dinner with the Authors” last night, with headliner Joshilyn Jackson (she is funny and smart!) – and was able to sit at the table hosted by Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus. Full details to come in “author event” posts in the next few weeks.
Earlier in the week I went to a “Rep Picks” session hosted by Book Publishers Representatives of New England (BPRNE); these are the people that call on independent bookstores to share the newest titles, and to help them stock the shelves with the best books for their customers. There were nine reps at the session, each telling us their top picks for the fall … a feast for the book lover! Hmmm, the galleys, snacks, and raffle prizes also added to that festive atmosphere. The picks that most spoke to me will bubble up on these pages over the next few weeks.
What are you reading this week?
I’m working on The Art of Fielding (Chad Harbach), which is my husband’s pick for fall. Unlike BPRNE, he doesn’t serve me Quebrada cupcakes when he gives me his book picks, but he does grill a mean burger!
The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook by Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell, with Sandy Gluck
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Sterling Epicure (October 4, 2011)
Back-of-the-book blurb:Welcome to Beekman 1802, in Sharon Springs, NY — the historic home of The Fabulous Beekman Boys, Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge. Josh and Brent star in the popular show, and have built a worldwide reputation for their goat’s milk soaps and superb, artisanal Blaak cheese.
Together, Josh and Brent have created a gorgeous cookbook that is “heirloom” in every sense of the word: they showcase heirloom fruits and vegetables; offer delicious heirloom recipes from farm, family, and friends; and include a section in the back of each chapter so you can personalize the book with your own treasured recipes–and create a unique keepsake to hand down to your family.
From springtime pea pod risotto and summery strawberry shortcake to quick braised collards in autumn and yummy chicken ‘n’ dumplings for a snowy winter’s day, this is simple yet luscious farm-fresh fare that everyone will love.
She Is Too Fond of Books‘ review: I admit it, I am a Beekman Geek! You may remember the review of Josh Kilmer-Purcell’s memoir, The Bucolic Plague, or my pilgrimage visit to Sharon Springs. The combination of my admiration for what Josh and Brent have done, my interest in learning more about eating “in season,” and a love of cookbooks (to enjoy both reading and cooking from) had me counting the days until I could get my hands on The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook.
That time has come, and, let me tell you … this book has added to my arsenal of Beekman Boys “kool-aid.” It’s an absolutely gorgeous package – hardcover with matte full-color photos (including not only stunning food photography by Paulette Tavormina, but also photos of their home and farm). The book is designed to be enjoyed and passed to the next generation, or to be given as a very personal gift. A bookplate in the front endpapers indicates “First generation to own this book,” implying that, like a family Bible, it will be shared for years to come. There are six pullout “windows” with cardstock for preserving your own heirloom recipes – or for sharing them as a special gift (the “windows” are separated by vellum; really a beautiful extra detail).
The recipe section is divided into the four seasons, with Starters, Main Dishes, Side Dishes, and Desserts for each. The sections begin with a photo spread of seasonal photos from around the Beekman, accompanied by reminiscences of Josh and Brent. Sidebars on each recipe give lined space for adding your own notes (when did you make it? did you alter the recipe at all? who did you serve it to? what else was on the menu?). Additional boxes highlight information that pertain to seasonal ingredients (onions, pumpkins, stew beef, and lima beans all appear in Fall).
Some of the recipes that caught my eye in the Fall section are:
Roasted Cauliflower and Apple Soup
Red Wine and Spice Poached Pears
Chicken with Succotash
Blue Cheese Pizza with Caramelized Onions
Roast Pork Loin with Gingerbread Stuffing
Caramelized Pear Bread Pudding
Company’s Coming Apple Cake
and more – there are 27 recipes in Fall alone!
I’m sharing one of the many recipes I’ve marked with Post-It flags. Note that there are two additional variations for this recipe, which appears on page 102 of The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook:
Harvest Beef Chili with Pumpkin and Beans
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
My iPhone photo doesn't do justice to the quality - but, you can see the page layout.
1 1/4 pounds well-marbled beef chuck, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/4 cup flour
1 large onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks
3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder [isn't that a cool surprise!??]
1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 pounds pumpkin (or other winter squash, such as kabocha), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 cups cooked pinto beans or 1 can (15 ounces), rinsed
Preheat the oven to 350′ F.
In a 5- or 6-quart Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Dredge the meat in the flour, shaking off the excess. Working in batches (this is so the meat browns, rather than steams), add the beef and cook until browned all over, about 7 minutes. As you work, transfer the meat to a bowl.
Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic to the pan and stir to coat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 1/4 cup water and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender, about 7 minutes.
Stir in the coriander, cumin, paprika, cocoa powder, and ancho chili powder. Return the meat to the pan and stir until well coated. Stir in 1 1/2 cups water, the tomato paste, pumpkin, and salt. Bring to a boil. Cover and transfer to the oven. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat is tender.
Stir in the beans, return to the oven, and bake for 10 more minutes.
Serves 4 to 6
Sandy Gluck, the co-author, hosts the Sirius radio show “Everyday Food,” and is a former food editor at Everyday Food magazine. Gluck’s resumé adds to my confidence that these are “do-able” recipes, not far reaches that will have me crying in a corner (while my family eats cereal for dinner!).
At $25, this strikes me as a real bargain, and will be a much-appreciated gift. Do you try to cook/eat with the seasons to some extent?
See what’s happening in other kitchens with Beth Fish Reads’ Weekend Cooking. You may find other cookbook reviews, a recipe to try, food-themed novels or movies. As Beth Fish says, “if it’s remotely foodie, link it up!”
Back-of-the-book blurb:Ben and Rose secretly wish their lives were different. Ben longs for the father he has never known. Rose dreams of a mysterious actress whose life she chronicles in a scrapbook. When Ben discovers a puzzling clue in his mother’s room and Rose reads an enticing headline in the newspaper, both children set out alone on desperate quests to find what they are missing.
Set fifty years apart, these two independent stories–Ben’s told in words, Rose’s in pictures–weave back and forth with mesmerizing symmetry.
She Is Too Fond of Books’ review:Wonderstruck, indeed! Brian Selznick’s new novel for tweens and teens (and, ahem, “grown-ups” too), is a wonder for its incredible charcoal drawings (460 pages of original artwork), its shadow-like plot lines, and its historical accuracy. I’m not sure which aspect impressed me most; taken together, it’s out of the ballpark.
Ben’s story (the written word) takes place in the summer of 1977, beginning in Gunflint Lake, Minnesota. Rose’s story opens in Hoboken, New Jersey in the fall of 1927. The two closely parallel each other, with similarities through time and place. I can’t even hint at more about the plot; it really needs to be discovered by the reader.
The physical structure of the book is a thoughtful pattern – Selznick shares about a half dozen pages of Ben’s story in text, then has several pages of detailed charcoal drawings showing a connection to Rose’s story. The last page of text before the switch to illustration is set with a lot of white space around it, letting the reader know that the story is about to shift, and easing the transition to Rose’s story. The drawings are beautifully detailed; in several sequences, Selznick shows a distant perspective, honing in closer and closer on subsequent pages, giving a sense of movement.
Again, without spoiling the plot, I must say that Selznick’s attention to historical detail added to my enjoyment of the novel. The “now and then” comparisons, information about geology and weather patterns, understanding of Deaf culture, and clever interplays make this a book that is as much fun for the reader to deconstruct as I imagine it was for Selznick to create.
One quote, from Ben’s perspective:
He wished that he was with his mom in her library, where everything was safe and numbered and organized by the Dewey decimal system. Ben wished the world was organized by the Dewey decimal system. That way you’d be able to find whatever you were looking for, like the meaning of your dream, or your dad.
Brian Selznick presented at BookExpo America’s “Children’s Author’s Breakfast” in May. He showed a video of his studio, and of packing up all 460 drawings to send to his editor. The video below showcases these incredible drawings, as the author talks about how and why he created Wonderstruck, and his hope that “the love that I felt for these different elements and for these characters comes through.” It does!