Foodie Lit

Foodie Lit: A genre of novel and memoirs filled with food stories and recipes

Susan Weintrob, our Foodie Lit writer, is a food blogger and reviewer on her website, expandthetable.net. Susan grew up around food and its prep. Her father owned a deli and catering business, which taught her the key components of the industry. "Writing food blogs is an amazing opportunity. Cooking and talking about food is simply fun and takes me back to memories of my Dad."                                                                                                                                              Join Susan as she shares her reviews and fantastic recipes-

Food Blogger, Wife and Real Life “Nana” in William L. Stuart’s Gemstone Chronicles!

                                                             The Gemstone Chronicles William Stuart. Quite frankly, the whole thing didn’t make sense.  “It doesn’t make sense that a fairy tale can be real,” Nana says to their Elvan guide Elf Finecano.  How can elves be real, magic be bestowed on her, her husband and her two grandchildren? How can they be moved through the shimmery veil between parallel worlds? Findecano  explained “Magic leaves a trail for those who know how to follow it,”… I believe our fate is to complete this journey together…So I ask for the four of you to join me in my quest.” While quests for young people abound in fantasy novels, usually without the protection or knowledge of their parents, rarely are grandparents included.  Nana and Beebop, a pet name for “grandpa”, are both brave and cautious and with their grandchildren, Aiden and Maggie,  learn to use the magical tools given to them. Including grandparents in the quest is an unusual and interesting technique, which the author makes work. There are many dangers along the…

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A Book for Christmas and Pasta for a Healthy New Year!

Mothers who disappear. Fathers who die. Mothers who are in jail. Parents with hidden identities. And children who search and yearn for their parents and try to find, if not them, substitutes. The quandaries do not end there. Husbands with other families. Organized crime threatening safety.  Diverse racial and religious identities within families. Florence Osmund is fascinated with identity and family. In The Coach House and Daughters, paired novels, and Nineteen Hundred Days, she disturbs the smooth surface of the life of her characters. She takes away their safety and then allows them to develop the strength to create safety for themselves. She told me, “Characters Marie and Ben are confronted with safety issues, both physical and emotional, beyond what most people face in their daily lives. The level of safety they feel is directly related to the risks they take.” Families ground and direct us, whether we remain or rebel. The complexity of the characters’ emotions reveals choices that were difficult and with relationships that remain complicated. Marie Marchetti, the main character in The Coach House and Daughters, discovers that important people in her life are not as she thought they were, whether her mother, her unknown father or her husband. Ben, 12 years…

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A Foodie Lit Thanksgiving

Herodias Long, born with an unusual name, had a long and unusual life. It was author Jo Ann Butler’s luck that while doing a genealogical search, she found this extraordinary woman in her ancestry. (Go to http://www.rebelpuritan.com/More.html for historical information pertaining to the novel.) Personal rights are a central of the trio of novels about Herod’s life and catalysts for many of Herod’s decisions.  With her father and brother dying of the plague when she is 12 and the family finances at a low point, a need for one less mouth to feed causes Herod to be sent to work for her aunt in London.  While she worked hard at her parents’ farm, Herod considers herself a slave at her aunt’s. The days of working class individuals, such as Herod and her families, were filled with an enormous amount of work from before dawn to late at night. Herod’s wish for freedom partially comes from this lack of any leisure.  I was struck at how young children began to work. By as young as 3, children had small tasks and by 8 or 9, often were doing chores limited to older teenagers or adults today. Work from before dawn to after dark, little to…

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A Ghost Story & Pumpkin Soup for Halloween!

    By Patti Davis    The Blue Hour by Patti Davis The Blue Hour is dusk, that time between day and night that slips in silently, a few moments each day. It was Joshua Baron’s favorite time of day, a peaceful time when the world’s edges begin to blur. For an alone boy like Joshua, it was a time he was content, at one with nature and free from people, who could be bothersome. The Blue Hour is one of those wonderful books that is part fairy tale, part allegory, part time-slip and… part mean adolescent bullying. It is for young adults and adults alike, in the way that The Little Prince, Alice in Wonderland or The Giver are.  It has a clear message yet the characters, the magic and the quest are expertly woven together from the first to the last word, so the book is not moralistic. It is haunting, a perfect Halloween read. The Barons move to small town Clearoak to escape LA and its lack of civility, charm and freedom to be safe. The run down house is rehabilitated; Josh’s room is painted blue and the townspeople hope the news family will drive away the ghosts.  Yet the ghosts remain. Joshua thinks…

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Imperial Passions and Olives, Nuts & Bread!

    By Eileen Stephenson   Byzantium in 1039 is not a time and place known well to many in the modern western world. The author sweeps away many misconceptions in her historical novel, Imperial Passions.  One  fascinating view is of the role of women. While medieval women had few rights in most parts of the world, Eileen shared with me that “Byzantine women held positions of more consequence than elsewhere, and they had opportunities that women in the rest of Europe did not have until centuries later.”  Two women ruled Byzantium in the 12th century, “Empress Zoe and Empress Theodora, who the people of Constantinople were fond of, despite their flaws. I think it just got people used to the idea that women could be in positions of authority.”  Importantly, as Eileen noted, literacy became common in 11th and 12th century Byzantium, reaching down into the middle classes and included women, which helped them accomplish more. Eileen gives us tantalizing views of female doctors and empresses, minority groups, generals and deposed kings, all in this cosmopolitan city. It is the many glimpses of women which are so fascinating and personal from Xene, abused and isolated by her husband to main character Anna Dalassena,…

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Fact to Fiction: Khamsin, the Devil Wind of the Nile

Khamsin, the Devil Wind of the Nile - A Novel of Ancient Egypt   Every movie lately seems to have “The Making of ...” clips. Well, here is a little insight into “The Making of Book 1 of the Legends of the Winged Scarab” series. With my historical saga, reaching back to 3080 BC, the question was how much research a writer should do on his or her chosen era. My answer: A lot. Next, how much “real history” should be incorporated into a novel. I’d say, 10%. Remember, it’s fiction. Readers want to be entertained rather than get a lengthy history lesson. When I started my research into Ancient Egypt (and I mean, really ancient), the biggest confusion was over city names. It would have been easy to use Memphis, for instance. But that name – like most of the commonly used ancient names – came from the Greek historian Herodotus who described many of the wonders he found in Egypt during his visit around 490 BC. My story takes place in 3080 BC, during the 2nd Dynasty (Old Kingdom). Therefore, I resorted to use the ancient Egyptian names (wherever I could find them). Memphis became Ineb-Hedj, the City…

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indieBRAG’S Foodie Lit Blogger share a recipe for Yom Kippor

  Baked and Breaded Mahi Mahi Serves 4 This fish just melts in your mouth, with a creaminess topped by the crunchy bread crumbs. What a tasty combo!  For those who avoid fish because of a fishy taste, you will love this one. Light and easy and healthy, this meal is fresh and delicious. Simple to prepare for a weeknight meal and classy enough for company. A moist and flavorful taste, this recipe works wonderfully for dinner for 2 or 20. This is a perfect recipe for Erev Yom Kippor, before the day long fast, or for breaking the fast. Serve with a salad, pilaf or roasted vegetables. This fish is so good you can serve it any time, all year long! 1 1/2 pounds Mahi Mahi or other mild white fish fillets such as cod 1 lemon, juiced 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1 cup mayonnaise 1/4 cup shallot, chopped 1/2 cup breadcrumbs Preheat oven to 425. Rinse fish and cut large fillets into smaller pieces, if desired. Squeeze lemon over fish. Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix mayonnaise and chopped shallot together. Spread over fish fillets. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake for 25 minutes at 425. Expand the…

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Australia, Apple Pie & The Only Blue Door

Foodie Lit Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes The Only Blue Door by Joan Fallon Joan Fallon’s historical novel, The Only Blue Door, was so intense and riveting that I found it hard to put down, except when anger course through me. The British Children’s Resettlement Program during WWII sent thousands of children away from the bombings in London for their own safety. Many were well cared for and happy. Yet a surprisingly large number of children, without parents’ permission or even knowledge, were told their parents were dead, and sent away to orphanages in Australia that were little more than deplorable workhouses that kept children in unhealthy, unsafe conditions and forced sexual, physical and emotional abuse on many in their legal custody. I wanted to cry out, “But you're supposed to be the good guys!” But they weren’t, they weren’t. The novel concerns itself with the fictional East End London Smith family with 3 children, Maggie, Billy and Grace, who were sent away to Australian Catholic orphanages after a devastating German bombing.  They were mislabeled orphans and instead of the care promised them, they were placed in cruel and abusive institutions. Much of the novel, without giving…

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Enjoying Comforting Chicken Noodle Soup “In the Comfort of Shadows”

  In the Comfort of Shadows Laurel Bragstad’s novel, In the Comfort of Shadows, opens with a dream—or is it a memory? Main character Ann Olsen wasn’t sure, but she was sure that “adoption” was a bad word and not to be mentioned at home, unless she wanted to get everyone mad at her. Her daddy told her, “It’s a bad word, Annie. Aunt Inga shouldn’t say it, and I never want to hear you say it again.” In her search for her biological parents, Ann does more than pronounce the word.  She risks throwing away a childhood based on lies to find the truth.  “I wanted to know the rest of the story, that’s all. I just never dreamed it would end like this.” The author digs into her own recollections. At a similar age to her character’s separation from her biological mother, Laurel’s mother dies and as an adult, Laurel searches her own and older relatives’ memories to find more about her. Laurel told me, “As a child I used to make up stories in my head about who my mother was as a person, and I even daydreamed about what my life would have been like had…

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A great recipe from Susan & author Catana Tully!

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 is unusual, in some ways magical and in other ways heartbreaking. Not sure if…

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