Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

I just finished reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

It was a great read.  I cried.  I giggled to myself.  I felt the fear of the characters and my heart pounded.  I took away a sense of accomplishment, not just your regular obstacles, this was mountainous for the ladies involved.  I can see why a movie sprouted off these pages.

This is coming from someone who just started reading for pleasure at the tender age of 28.  I used to read in school, where I had a library to peruse novels and pluck a gem from the shelves.  There is no library in my house, but it’s growing.  There are more cookbooks than fiction at the moment, however this might be the status for the foreseeable future.

The Help has three distinct voices.  Stockett did a beautiful job of weaving the stories together, overlapping ever so slightly to provide the reader fluidity of the story.  Don’t worry, all those loose ends are tied up at some point, that was part of the reason I wanted to chew through the chapters.  Even though the story takes place in what seems the distant past,  segregation, racism, and lack of air conditioning; I connected with events here and there, enough to stay engaged in the Mississippi tale.

I don’t want to give away the plot, but I wanted to make one of Minny’s famous desserts.  To celebrate finishing this novel and watching the DVD, I baked a cake of Southern inspiration.

After I watched the movie and have to say I liked the book better!  I suppose if the full story in the book made it on to the screen, it would be a four hour ordeal.  The movie keeps the attention on the threesome secretly gathering to write the book.  Hilly (Bryce Dallas Howard) remained the clear opponent and I loved Octavia Spencer as Minny.

Caramel Cake

Caramel Cake

I have to confess, I needed Minny’s terse eye on me while I made this cake.  I missed the part where you only need 1/4 cup of the caramel syrup and poured all of it in the batter.  I was wondering why the batter was soupy.  Something didn’t feel right but it never occurred to me to check the recipe for the eighth time.  Turned out okay, sort of like a sponge cake that ate the entire five-pound bag of sugar in the pantry.  For the first time in my life I’ve made a cake that is too sweet for my taste.  I’m sure the actual (and flawless) cake Martha made with Dr. Angelou would not cause one to fall into a sugar-high coma.  The frosting with brown butter overpowers the caramel in the cake itself.  It would be fine without nearly burning the butter, plus it added another 30 minutes to this cake assembly because the hot brown butter had to cool down first.

caramel cake

Oh boy! Sweet Caramel Cake!

The kids might like it though!

Find the recipe here

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I’m a little late for the hysteria surrounding The Hunger Games novel and the trilogy, but hey, better late than never eh?

I’ve just finished reading the book in time for the theatrical debut in the US (tomorrow).  You would assume there is little to do with food in this tale by the title.  Well, there is.  And I was inspired by the book to create this menu.  It helped to have started my garden early this year thanks to the very mild winter and spring rain.  The garden is my forest, where we begin.

Wild Tame Green Salad

Picked from the yard, the delicate baby greens are the only bit of color a starving family sees at times.  Spring gives strawberries, a sweet relief after a bitter cold winter.

  • garden sprouts of rocket, dandelion buds and leaves, chives, cilantro, mint, pea tendrils, and radish leaves
  • goat cheese
  • pansy petals, geranium bud and petals
  • strawberry

Lamb Stew over Potatoes

Part of the lavish spread for the Tributes in preparation for the Games.

Tender meat and aromatic gravy over fluffy potatoes.

Fruit Bread

To include a hint of the baker’s son, a bread made with dried apricot and currants (sans nuts due to allergies).

The next two books are on my list, I’m sure they will be just as good as the first in the trilogy.

May the odds be ever in your favor!

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