Today, I am doing something slightly different. I have invited Susan Weintrob over to my blog, mainly because she’s one of those staunch supporters of other authors. Thing is, Susan does things a bit differently as she usually pairs her review with a recipe. How cool is that? I could go on and on about this, but I am going to leave it to Susan to expand on the subject – after all, I invited her to talk about it, not me 🙂
Seeing as we’re in December which means there’s a lot of festivity going around, I asked Susan to also share some seasons-appropiate recipes. You’ll find the pics (and the mouth-watering pics) at the bottom of this post. So, with all that said, I give you Susan!
The Marriage of Food & Books
Anna asked me to write about how I had started my Foodie Lit reviews and I had to think back on how a marriage was made between two of my favorite things—food and books.
I had been writing my blog, expandthetable.net, for a while, when I decided to add book reviews, as I had written them for years. I called it Foodie Lit as when I wrote reviews, I paired a recipe with it. At first, I chose books that had to do with food, as with Stir (https://www.expandthetable.net/stir-by-jessica-fechtor ), a memoir of Jessica Fechtor for whom cooking was a way of recovering from a serious illness.
In Julia’s Garden (https://www.expandthetable.net/laura-wharton-s-julia-s-garden ), author Laura Wharton, has her characters go to the Sweet Potato Pie restaurant in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I found that this was a real restaurant and wrote to the owners, who graciously shared their signature recipe, Sweet Potato Pie. Fiction and reality meet! (https://www.expandthetable.net/sweet-potato-pie-1 ).
One of the earliest Foodie Lit reviews was part of the wonderful series of Anna’s, The Graham Saga (https://www.expandthetable.net/susan-travels-to-the-1700-to-cook ). What a delight to travel with her back in time and create recipes together. This was the longest book review I wrote and the only one I traveled back in time with the author!
This review also opened doors to the independent authors’ community, whose books I now review frequently. I found that I did not need to review books that were about cooking to review with a recipe. Most authors mention eating and even if specific meals are not mentioned, recipes can be developed from the era, location and lifestyles. This is such a fun part of developing the review and recipe—conversing with the authors about the book and what food would work with it.
Now I review any well written book that I am attracted to. Food is part of the daily lives of characters and that day interests me. Developing recipes connected to these books conveys a reality for readers and for me, making more alive the time, the place and the people. My Foodie Lit reviews were such a hit that Geri Clouston and I collaborated on a cookbook, Eat, Read and Dream, inspired by my Foodie Lit reviews. And I can thank Anna for helping me on this food journey. (Anna blushes and says “naaaaah”)
Thank you for that, Susan! And for those who haven’t ventured onto Susan’s blog, I suggest you do. Who knows, you may find a recipe you’d like to try. Or a book you want to read. Or both!
And as to Eat, Read and Dream, you can buy it here! As Susan said, this was a co-joint effort between her and Geri Clouson who runs the BRAG Medallion. For those of you who do not know, BRAG Medallion reviews indie books and those that pass the various quality hurdles are awarded a BRAG medallion.
Now onto those recipes: Susan celebrates Chanukah, and accordingly I asked her to share “something that is healthy AND delicious” as a holiday food. She gave me two healthy recipes and one calorie bomb that looks so delicious I am deciding here and now that anything that makes you happy and has chocolate in it has a positive health effect. I’m hoping you’ll agree…
Rainbow Latkes https://www.expandthetable.net/8-nights-of-rainbow-latkes
Cauliflower Latkes https://www.expandthetable.net/cauliflower-latkes-and-kugel
Chocolate Challah babka https://www.expandthetable.net/chanukah-chocolate-babka-challah
Right: that should keep you all nice and busy this weekend, right? Me, I am going back to packing: we’re moving on Wednesday next week, and while I really, really love my books they’re a pain in the nether parts to pack. Plus, I get distracted: “Oooo! I haven’t read that in ages!”