Thursday, July 25, 2013

Blue Plate Special, An Autobiography of My Appetities

“I began with eating and moved on to cooking just as I began with reading and moved on to writing. …Eating a good meal, like reading a satisfying novel, has returned me to myself during times when this disconnect was a profound internal chasm.” Kate Christensen
Author Kate Christensen’s has published six novels that according to her “…engage in some way with the same themes – struggling, loneliness, floundering, and excess, as well as food, love, art, marriage, and family.”  
“All of my novels are about, in one way or another, people whose lives are changing whether they like it or not, people who are faced with some degree of external crisis and have to scramble to deal with it. My protagonists are men and women, young and old, but they all share this. The older I get, the more my own life feels implicated in my own novels, and the clearer it is to me that all my characters’ concerns come directly from my own experiences.” 

Ms. Christensen goes on to explain just how her beginnings began to intrude on her life.  Putting aside the novel she was writing she began exploring her own experiences and memories. At age fifty her writing turned autobiographical. It was time to personally explore the themes that she had so consistently visited in fiction. 

Her earliest memory is a sunny Berkeley morning and a breakfast table littered with soft-boiled eggs and buttered toast. Seated at the weekday table with her mother and younger sister there seems to be no warning that life can turn ugly in the seconds it takes to make a request. Her two year old mind is unable to process the abuse or the suddenness of the attack. It will take 40+ years of living, searching, writing, and reflection before she truly understands who she is. 

Ms. Christensen is a hardworking writer (her goal is 1,000 words a day), who shares her life and her recipes in a way is inspiring and thoughtful and honest. If you’re curious about your own relationships, successes and failures and what to do with them perhaps you will find yourself and your story among these pages.

Gillian Flynn, the author of Gone Girl, Dark Places and Sharp Objects calls Kate Christensen a great American writer and has this to say about Blue Plate Special: “It’s an expert guide on inspiration, ingenuity, heartbreak, buoyancy, home, love, family, screwing up, bouncing back, and perfecting the bacon-cheddar biscuit.”

(Doubleday Books © July 2013)  A heartfelt thank you to Doubleday Books for the Bound Galley sent my way for review purposes. I had not read Kate Christensen before; she is however, now on my radar. I’m looking forward to reading her novels. Her blog is here:

Friday, July 5, 2013

Fresh Recipes and Fresh Air! Greetings, from Pinecraft, Florida

Simply Delicious Amish Cooking

Recipes and Stories from the Amish of Sarasota, Florida
By Sherry Gore

             Need a recipe for Amish Baked Hamburgers? Aunt Mary’s Corn Bread?  Or how about tips for caring for your rolling pin?  Check out this delightful new cookbook from Zondervan Publishing.  Author Sherry Gore is editor-in-chief of Cooking  & Such magazine and columnist for the national edition of the 120 year-old Amish newspaper, The Budget where she writes about food for the Plain People.   

            There are great, glossy pictures (readers are warned ... a glance at the Chocolate Whoopie Pie is engineered to make you swoon) and interesting stories and memorable quotes contained within these pages. If you’re curious about the food and social life of the Plain People or searching for true comfort food look no further. There’s even a recipe for Shoofly Pie.
            And if you’re ever in the neighborhood stop by Yoder’s Restaurant (opened 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday) for a true sample of the local cuisine … where, if you’re lucky, you just might run into the Ms. Gore.

A copy of Simply Delicious was provided by Thomas Nelson for review purposes. My words are my own.