Food for Thought

A great recipe from Susan & author Catana Tully!

Foodie Lit Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes Split at the Root Tully, Catana. Split at the Root Catana Tully, in her memoir, Split At the Root, takes her readers on an intense journey into identity, motherhood and what labels mean. At times despondent, at time joyful, the author pulls herself apart until she finds her core. Who we are is intrinsically connected to our family, our community, our race, gender and religion—among many the many categories we create to define identity.  Catana Tully wonders aloud why we need to check off the boxes about who and what we are. She checks other.  She told me, “The thing is, when you have a nationality that identifies you culturally, it is a shock to have to define what you are according to other people’s perception. It feels demeaning and disrespectful. One day we’ll all be ‘Other’ but that’s a long, long time away from now.” Yet Catana is driven to find the essential questions about her mother, family and culture. Where does she feel comfortable and at home?  It has taken many years and now, in her 70’s, she feels comfortable asking these questions. Catana’s story…

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Civil War Mystery nourished with a Civil War favorite – Fried Apples!

Foodie Lit Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes Time Expo Time Exposure by Lynne Kennedy In Time Exposure, Lynne Kennedy makes Civil War photography the lens of her novel. “Photography hugely impacted the way society viewed the war….I combine my love of history and science with my penchant for mysteries!” Lynne does a superb job—an intriguing mystery, wonderful characters and exciting history.  All make this a fabulous read. Lynne Kennedy's Time Exposure.     Buttery Fried Nutmeg Apples During the Civil War, favorite sweet side or dessert was Fried Apples. In the field, it was typically made in a cast iron pan over a fire and worked well with tart apples. A variety of sweeteners could be used from honey or brown sugar, more available than white at the time. The Gibbs Museum in Charleston, South Carolina mounted an exhibit of Civil War photographs, which I went to see a few years ago. The black and white photographs were clear and surprisingly modern. There was the heroic; there were also the photographs that were brutal, unnerving and full of war’s agony. There was the view of Robert E. Lee’s home, with Union soldiers on the porch, his property…

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Murder and Plum Cake? Sounds good to me!

Foodie Lit Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes Just for fun, I took a stab at writing in the style of author Elin Barnes to introduce the Plum Coffee Cake! Susan Saffron and Darcy walked into a small Palo Alto restaurant on University Avenue and took a booth in the back, away from the window. “So what do you want?” Darcy asked, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. The hair immediately came out. “I need some serious caffeine!” Saffron said. Darcy motioned the waitress over and read her name-tag. “Two coffees. What’s good in a coffee cake, Lisa?” Lisa smiled at the two. “The bakery just sent over a plum coffee cake to die for! Want me to bring over 2 pieces?” Darcy nodded. “But maybe not to die for.” Elin Barnes’ Justification for Murder Saffron Meadows is being stalked. Someone is trying to kill her. Repeatedly. Speaking to a police detective, she confides, “I feel as if I’m in a bad movie. These things don’t happen to regular people.” ‘You’d be surprised,” he said. At the ame time, Saffron is in a long relationship with Ranjan Balasubramanian whose family is arranging his marriage…

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Lunch with Madame Presidentess.

Foodie Lit Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes A more open community around the table Madame Presidentess by Nicole Evalina The first woman running for president is a tale filled with intrigue, scandal, enemies and lurid newspaper accounts, sexual innuendoes, financial scandals and marital woes.  Biographical accounts are often brutal and vindictive. You might think I am writing about Hillary Clinton but she in fact was not the first woman to run for President. Victoria Woodhull ran for the office in 1872 on the Equal Rights Party, supporting women’s and workers rights.  Writing about her run for president, Woodhull noted, “The truth is that I am too many years ahead of this age…and the unenlightened mind of the average man.” Nicole Evalina brings us a vivid portrait of Woodhull in her historical novel. She told me, “My portrayal of her comes from how I think she saw herself… I think she believed the ends justified the means.” A constant headline maker in her own time, because of later conflicts with suffragettes, Woodhull became a footnote, mostly written out of their accounts of the decades’ efforts to gain the right to vote for women. Yet…

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Mama’s Laughing Cow Peas from Addie Mae in “Trusting the Currents”.

Foodie Lit  Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes Trusting the Currents by Lynnda Pollio Lynnda Pollio's Trusting the Currents is a book like no other. “I didn't know I was writing a book. I just started hearing a black, Southern woman's voice guiding me to write down her words, which were wise and wild. Two years later, I had the first draft of an unexpected novel. It took another 8 years of me fighting this story, editing, giving up, and reconnecting until I finally surrendered to the truth that I was born to bring this book and its wisdom and love into the world.” Lynnda didn’t know if her book would ever be published and took a leap, publishing it independently. To her surprise, the book went on to win 12 literary awards, including the BRAG Medallion. The main character, Addie Mae, brings to us the reader, a savoring of words, experiences and awakening.  Yet hidden in her story of pain and joy, loss and growth, is another soul. The real Addie Mae Collins was murdered on Sunday, September 15, 1963, at the Birmingham 16th Street Baptist Church by a bombing perpetrated by Klansmen. She was…

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A Happy and Healthier Chanukah From our Foodie Lit Blogger!

Crash course in Chanukah Chanukah, meaning "dedication," began in the year 167 BCE when the Greek persecution of Jews was in full swing. Greek and Syrian troops showed up in the town of Modi'in, a town in Israel even today, and demanded that the Jews sacrifice a pig to the Greek gods. The elder of the town, Mattitiyahu (Matthew), a Kohen, (priest) refused. With his five sons, led by Judah the Maccabee (the hammer) formed an army. After 3 years of fighting the foreign army, the Maccabees retook Jerusalem, the capital. They cleaned and rededicated the Temple, which had been used by the Greeks as a pagan sanctuary. On the 25th of Kislev, they lit a menorah but found only one vial of oil. They used this small vial and miraculously the menorah stayed lit for eight days, the time it took for fresh pure oil to be pressed and delivered to the Temple. You can read more in the Book of the Maccabees and in the Talmud. Chanukah is a happy holiday, which begins this year on December 12. Here are three ways to make traditional latkes a bit lighter with fewer carbs, while keeping all the great flavor.  Make your latkes extra special with your own applesauce—so easy to make in a crockpot or microwave. Rainbow…

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Reading about a Cop’s Cop.

Foodie Lit: A genre of novel and memoirs filled with food stories and recipes Each month, I’ll share the magic of a good foodie lit read and one of its recipes. Cooking and recipes in books take us into the mind of the character or narrator and brings us into the book’s kitchen to see, smell and share the lives within.                     ​Or I’ll take a good read and, with the author, find a recipe to pair with it! Either way, here’s to cooking and reading together                                                              John Hickman’s Black Bear Killer. Reading about a cop’s cop. Nothing like being a cop and writing a mystery about a cop. You just feel that Sheriff Dell Hinton is the real thing. Author John Hickman, a 25 year veteran of law enforcement, told me, “Dell is basically my alter ego. If I had continued in law enforcement, my ideal retirement job would have been as a Sheriff in a small, rural community.” The crimes and investigations may have a ring of reality…

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Old Fashioned Biscuits and a Great Book!

Foodie Lit: A genre of novel and memoirs filled with food stories and recipes Each month, I’ll share the magic of a good foodie lit read and one of its recipes. Cooking and recipes in books take us into the mind of the character or narrator and brings us into the book’s kitchen to see, smell and share the lives within. ​Or I’ll take a good read and, with the author, find a recipe to pair with it! Either way, here’s to cooking and reading together.     Dirt: The Story of Two Orphans by S. L. Dwyer The opening is stark. Thirteen-year-old Sammy Larkin comes across his parents, hanging from the rafters in their barn.  Left to take care of his seven-year old sister Birdie is hardly his only problem. The Larkin family lives in Texas County, Oklahoma during the height of the Depression’s Dust Bowl and in one of the worst hit areas. Sammy’s parents left a total of $.66 for the children, thinking that they would go to authorities and be safely placed in foster homes. Author Sharon Dwyer wrote to me, “I had to imagine what could be the worst that could happen during that time for kids. Times were difficult enough without having this type of…

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Sweet Potato Pie in Julia’s Garden!

Foodie Lit: A genre of novel and memoirs filled with food stories and recipes Each month, I’ll share the magic of a good foodie lit read and one of its recipes. Cooking and recipes in books take us into the mind of the character or narrator and brings us into the book’s kitchen to see, smell and share the lives within. ​Or I’ll take a good read and, with the author, find a recipe to pair with it! Either way, here’s to cooking and reading together! Laura Wharton’s Julia’s Garden Landscape designer Lily McGuire not only has to take over a big landscaping job after her boss unexpectedly dies, but then has to follow the clues about a long ago disappearance, a buried brooch and an unusual collection of toxic plans! Author Laura Wharton told me, “As I plotted the storyline, I wanted the garden to mirror the characters, who are not at all what they seem, as Lily McGuire finds out.” A strange man shows up in Lily’s office and gives her a 1940’s garden journal, which he says killed her boss and best friend.  This connects Lily to Julie’s disappearance, her buried brooch and her unusual collection of toxic plants—a mystery perfect for a landscape architect to…

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Sarah’s Tomato Pie

Foodie Lit: A genre of novel and memoirs filled with food stories and recipes Each month, I’ll share the magic of a good foodie lit read and one of its recipes. Cooking and recipes in books take us into the mind of the character or narrator and brings us into the book’s kitchen to see, smell and share the lives within. ​Or I’ll take a good read and, with the author, find a recipe to pair with it! Either way, here’s to cooking and reading together! Susan  the indieBRAG Food Sarah’s Journey by David Beasley Review and Recipe by Susan Weintrob Her father and later her half-brother were her masters.  But family ties did not free her nor guarantee fair treatment. Sarah’s situation worsens, becoming so horrific that she fears for her life from her step-brother-master’s brutality. Sarah Kinney Lewis, born into slavery in 1790, finally escapes to Canada in 1822 with three of her children. "I heard a school librarian in Simcoe mention that a student wrote an essay about a slave who had a son by the town’s richest merchant and that their son became one of the richest men in NYC.” Thus began David Beasley’s research on the life of Sarah Kinney Lewis, born into slavery…

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