Foodie Lit

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

St. Patrick’s Day Is Nearly Upon Us- Let’s Eat!

    Try a new twist on the fabulous Irish Cabbage Soup, just in time for St. Patrick's Day. Susan’s grandmother made the best sweet and sour stuffed cabbage. So when her mom wanted sweet and sour cabbage soup, Susan deconstructed her Nana’s recipe and a warm and comforting cabbage soup was born! Nana’s Deconstructed Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup Serves 8-10 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 large onion, diced 1 pound chopped beef 2 stalks celery, diced 15 ounces diced tomatoes fresh or canned 1/2 cup carrots, diced 1 medium green or savoy cabbage, cored and shredded 8 cups stock 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced 2 small tart apples, diced ½ cup golden raisins 2 tablespoons brown sugar 1 teaspoon lemon juice 1 teaspoon dill weed Salt and pepper to taste Heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté onion until translucent, stirring as needed. Add beef and sauté until browned, stirring frequently. Add celery, tomatoes, carrots and cabbage. Sauté 5 minutes. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer covered until cabbage and vegetables are soft. Add mushrooms, apples and raisins. Simmer for 15 minutes or until apples are soft. Add brown sugar, lemon juice and dill weed.…

Read More