Friday, September 14, 2012

The Southern Foodie, Book Review

Author Chris Chamberlain has written about

100 Places to Eat In The South Before You Die
(And The Recipes That Made Them Famous)

Southern food, like its hospitality, traditions and stories are well established and comforting. As the Baltimore born granddaughter and niece of two wonderful Southern cooks I was introduced to hearty breakfast plates that included a homemade biscuits and jams, fried chicken or fried pork chops and sometimes sausage, gravy, eggs ... and pie. For one week each summer in July my world took on a different hue and taste.

Dinner was served at noon and the produce was fresh and plentiful from the garden. It is easy to recollect the large brightly cloth-covered tables and platters of corn on the cob swimming in butter, meats (often more than one kind),  potatoes that were mashed or boiled or fried, steaming bowls of succotash, crisp coleslaw, peaches, slices of watermelon and mounds of freshly baked dinner rolls. All homemade and hearty and proudly served.

Reading The Southern Foodie (and looking at the pictures) makes it easy to remember sitting at my favorite aunt's table.  Her name was Irene Moore and she was beautiful, charming, and a gifted cook. She made is seem effortless, one minute she would be sitting on the back porch snapping green beans from the garden and in the next sharing the foods of her labor.  Her meals were only one reason I considered my three cousins as extremely lucky.

The food and the stories gathered in this collection make it a great addition to any cook's book shelf. There are recipes for cornbread, tomato corn chowder, coconut pie, peach cobbler, tomato gravy, grits, and pot roast.  Take an afternoon and spend it with Chris Chamberlain ... you won't be sorry. If you're planning on traveling in any of the "thirteen Southern states" check out their most celebrated restaurants.

Chris Chamberlain is a food and drink writer based in Nashville, Tennessee. He has served as a culinary judge at numerous competitions around the South and consulted with several restaurants regarding menu creation and marketing. One of his favorite things in life to do is to put a shoulder on the smoker and watch SEC football all day long while waiting for his pork to reach "pig-picking" temperature as slowly as possible.

A copy of The Southern Foodie was provided by the publisher Thomas Nelson for review purposes. The words are my own.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Band of Sister by Cathy Gohlke Blog Tour

Band of Sisters by Cathy Gohlke

If you've ever wondered about the lives of earlier family members, those related by birth, marriage and story who traveled in hopes of finding a better life you will enjoy reading about Maureen O'Reilly and her younger sister Katie Rose, "the lily flower of her family."

Fleeing from  Ireland their hardships are immediate, nearly overwhelming and very vivid.  In author Cathy Gohlke's capable hands this is a story that hits the ground running.

The details will lift you away from your current place neatly dropping you 100 years in the past.  There are secrets to contend with, grief to be shouldered and always hope for change. The characters and their lives are a window into our past.  If you enjoy reading creditable historical novels you will want to read this one. The flow, pace and character development are spot on here. The would be historical novelist will want to pay attention here.

But Miss Gohlke has also written an important novel for those of us who know little about human trafficking.  Surprisingly the numbers are far greater today. What if anything can we to bring attention to this horrendous practice?

You can begin by reading and considering the stories in Band of Sisters. Then recommend this novel to your friends, family members, and neighbors. Offer to hold a book discussion in your home, or with your Church group. Or both, even if you do not regularly meet as a book club.  Do online research to learn more about this modern day problem. Visit IOM's website   . Be prepared to share the information as a call to action. This is an opportunity to raise awareness and perhaps money for this cause.

Cathy Gohlke is the two-time Christy Award–winning author of the critically acclaimed novels Promise Me This, William Henry Is a Fine Name, and I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires, which also won the American Christian Fiction Writers' Book of the Year Award and was listed by Library Journal as one of the Best Books of 2008.
Cathy has worked as a school librarian, drama director, and director of children's and education ministries. When not traipsing the hills and dales of historic sites, she, her husband, and their dog, Reilly, make their home on the banks of the Laurel Run in Elkton, Maryland.

 Here is a link to Cathy's website:

The publisher supplied me with a copy of this book for review. The words are my own.

Learning More About Human Trafficking

UN General Assembly President Calls
                For Redoubled Efforts To End Human Trafficking

Reports of child trafficking cases are rising. Child victims of human trafficking helped by International Organization for Migration increased to 2,040 in 2011, up 27% from 1,565 in 2008.

The President of the 66th United Nations General Assembly His Excellency Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser today called on Member States, civil society, the private sector and the media to step up efforts to bring an end to human trafficking, calling it "an appalling form of human rights abuse". 

To learn more about this problem and how you might help please visit this website:

Two-time Christy Award - winning Cathy Gohlke's newest novel Band of Sisters "was born of a passion to end modern-day slavery and most of all ask: What can I do to help....?

To begin reading Band of Sisters please visit Cathy's website: