Foodie Lit

Imperial Passions and Olives, Nuts & Bread!

  Foodie Lit Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes   Susan indieBRAG Foodie Lit Blogger 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…

Read More

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

Foodie Lit Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes 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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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

Foodie Lit Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes 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,…

Read More

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

Foodie Lit Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes 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,…

Read More

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

Foodie Lit Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes 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,…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More