Category: Food & Wine

'The Favorite Daughter' by Kaira Rouda, 'Amelia Westlake Was Never Here' Erin Gough, 'The Corleone Family Cookbook' Liliana Battle

Bookstr’s Three to Read This Week 5/23/19

What do a thriller about a perfect family, a high school rom-com critiquing sexism, and a criminally delicious cookbook have in common? Hopefully, one major thing: they’re all headed straight for your bookshelf. Summer is a time of excitement, adventure, and discovery—whether or not you have the luxury of a three-month break or a long weekend at the beach! Missing out on a good book would be criminal… though not more criminal than some of our protagonists! We’ve got a creepy thriller starring one controlling mother’s descent into mental instability, an LGBT+ romance filled with alternate identities and elaborate pranks, and a killer cookbook based on the recipes of one of cinema’s most famous crime families. These enormous stakes come with just as enormous rewards—the delicious payoff of reading this week’s selection.

Check out Bookstr’s Three to Read, the three books we’ve picked for you to read this week!

 

OUR HOT PICK

 

Book cover for Kaira Rouda's The Favorite Daughter featuring a woman under water

 

Synopsis:

From the author of the page-turning domestic suspense Best Day Ever, comes another gripping novel of psychological suspense set in an upscale Southern California community, for fans of B.A. Paris and Shari Lapena.

The perfect home. The perfect family. The perfect lie.

Jane Harris lives in a sparkling home in an oceanfront gated community in Orange County. It’s a place that seems too beautiful to be touched by sadness. But exactly one year ago, Jane’s oldest daughter, Mary, died in a tragic accident and Jane has been grief-stricken ever since. Lost in a haze of anti-depressants, she’s barely even left the house. Now that’s all about to change.

It’s time for Jane to reclaim her life and her family. Jane’s husband, David, has planned a memorial service for Mary and three days later, their youngest daughter, Betsy, graduates high school. Yet as Jane reemerges into the world, it’s clear her family has changed without her. Her husband has been working long days—and nights—at the office. Her daughter seems distant, even secretive. And her beloved Mary was always such a good girl—dutiful and loving. But does someone know more about Mary, and about her last day, than they’ve revealed?

The bonds between mothers and daughters, and husbands and wives should never be broken. But you never know how far someone will go to keep a family together…

 

Why?

Kaira Rouda, acclaimed author of Best Day Ever, has delivered again: Kirkus Reviews calls her protagonist “impossible to love but equally impossible to look away from,” a car crash of a human being whose keen insight into human behavior is punctuated by dark humor. A PopSugar Best Book of Spring and one of Oprah’s Buzziest Books for May, The Favorite Daughter is a truly outstanding psychological thriller, subverting the notion of a perfect family with complex character development. Everyone loves a protagonist whose character arc, if drawn out, looks so much like the slippery slope they ultimately find themselves at the bottom of. Rouda’s mastery of prose will entice readers to sympathize with Jane and her increasing distance from her family—before horrifying us with a selfishness and sick desire for control we’ll be startled (and delighted!) to have initially missed. Publisher’s Weekly‘s starred review says that “suspense fans will be amply rewarded,” that is, rewarded AND chilled to the bone. If it feels impossible to look away from this book once you’ve finished, check out Bookstr’s exclusive live interview with Kaira Rouda herself!

 

OUR Coffee Shop Read

 

'Amelia Westlake Was Never Here' by Erin Gough

 

 

Synopsis:

A fiercely funny, queer romantic comedy about two girls who can’t stand each other, but join forces in a grand feminist plan to expose harassment and inequality at their elite private school.

Harriet Price is the perfect student: smart, dutiful, over-achieving. Will Everhart is a troublemaker who’s never met an injustice she didn’t fight. When their swim coach’s inappropriate behavior is swept under the rug, the unlikely duo reluctantly team up to expose his misdeeds, pulling provocative pranks and creating the instantly legendary Amelia Westlake–an imaginary student who helps right the many wrongs of their privileged institution. But as tensions burn throughout their school–who is Amelia Westlake?–and between Harriet and Will, how long can they keep their secret? How far will they go to make a difference? And when will they realize they’re falling for each other?

Award-winning author Erin Gough’s Amelia Westlake Was Never Here is a funny, smart, and all-too-timely story of girls fighting back against power and privilege–and finding love while they’re at it.

 

Why?

When we imagine a high school romance, we envision that all-encompassing bubble of first love, impervious to the sharp edges of the world outside that one other person. But sometimes, those edges are pretty sharp. Gough juxtaposes a confrontational depiction of sexism with a fun opposites-attract romance for some light reading that packs a heavy punch.  Kirkus Reviews lauds the novel’s “skewering of sexism and institutional hypocrisy,” and the novel touches on issues of race, class, and ethics in a manner far more nuanced than most high-school romance novels… because most of these books never address such topics. Shortlisted for nearly a dozen respected Australian book awards, Amelia Westlake Was Never Here IS now here in the United States—and, yes, it’s unapologetically queer. With Pride Month coming up, a hilariously witty LGBT+ high school romance with thoughtful societal commentary is a read that’s just as fun as it is socially relevant. (That’s both extremely fun and extremely relevant.)

 

 

OUR DARK HORSE

 

'The Corleone Family Cookbook' by Liliana Battle

 

Synopsis:

Become part of the family and make recipes no one can refuse with the official Godfather cookbook!

The Godfather trilogy is widely recognized as one of the greatest movie series of all time. Now, you’ll finally be able to make your very own family–inspired meals with recipes for Mama Corleone’s famous pastas, sauces, meatballs, breads, and desserts. Immerse yourself in the classic story of the Italian immigrant family determined to keep their long-held traditions intact in the new world. Featuring 75 authentic Italian recipes for infamous dishes such as “the best in the city” veal Marsala, Clemenza’s Sunday sauce, and of course, “Leave the gun” cannoli.

Elevating the strong themes of loyalty, family, and tradition, The Godfather: Mama Corleone’s Family Cookbook sheds new light on the legendary trilogy. Including images and quotes from the films, this in-world cookbook is an absolute must-have for all fans of The Godfather – especially those with a taste for the finer foods in life.

 

Why?

Want to be a killer chef? Honor one of the greatest film trilogies of all time with The Godfather: The Corleone Family CookbookAnd the recipes are as excellent as the cinematic marvels—though cookbooks aren’t generally Bookstr’s territory, this one is delicious enough for us to make an exception. The criminally well-curated cookbook includes quotes from the Corleone family and copious references to the film (“this pasta shape is… hearty and thick, thick enough to strange a priest apparently”). Even if you somehow aren’t a fan of this iconic trilogy—which is a crime in and of itself—the recipes describe the historical context of the meal and offer humorous tips outside of your typical step-by-step cookbooks. Are these phenomenal Italian recipes to die for, perhaps? Well, you should be dying to get your hands on this book. And if you cook any of these meals, it’s a guarantee you’ll be dying to eat them.

Photograph from a previous year's Eat Read Drink Festival

San Diego Chefs Whip Up Literary Inspired Dishes

Ever wanted to eat what your favorite characters are eating in the books? Well, San Diego chefs are making that a possibility with a Eat. Read. Drink. program. The program has been running for ten years now, and each year ticket sales support the San Diego Council on Literacy, which is a no-cost literacy program. This year’s even will be hosted on Thursday, April 25th, from 6 to 830 p.m. at the San Diego Air and Space Museum.

Each year chefs try to recreate meals and recipes from favorite books. In the past chefs have created dishes inspired by classics like The Adventures of PinocchioAlice’s Adventures in WonderlandCharlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.

 

 

Chef presenting his dishes at Eat. Read. Drink.

image via kpbs

This year, chefs are hailing from San Diego favorites like Waypoint Public and Galaxy Taco. The event, which is perfect for foodies and bookworms alike, will see each chef recreate a dish from their own favorite literary work, and guests will be tasked with the job of tasting each creation. Awards will be given out in categories like “Best Dessert” and “People’s Choice.” To pair with these decadent plates, there will be breweries and wine tastings available as well.

Let us know if you’ll be attending this event! Tickets are still available. We can’t wait to see what the chefs whip up.

featured image via san diego council on literacy
Jussie Smollett

Jussie Smollett’s Publisher Will Proceed With Family Cookbook

In the wake of his scandal and arrest, Jussie Smollett may have only one supporter left: his publisher.

On January 29th, Jussie Smollett filed a police report, claiming to be the victim of violent assault. The details were graphic: while in Chicago, two men hurled racist and homophobic slurs at the Empire actor. The unknown men struck Smollett, poured a mysterious chemical substance onto his head, and wrapped a rope around his neck. When they shouted, “MAGA country,” their motivations could not have been more blatant: this was a hate crime.

Nearly a month later, the investigation appears to have revealed that this was not, in fact, the case.

 

Jussie Smollett close-up

Image Via Rappler

 

The police investigation swiftly changed direction when law enforcement discovered that Smollett knew the attackers personally. Police questioned Smollett’s redacted phone records and determined that Smollett had been in contact with both men before the incident. It wasn’t long before the story appeared to unravel: Smollett allegedly paid the two $3,500 to stage the attack over dissatisfaction with his $1 million salary, which amounts to $65,000 per episode. In the United States, the median household income is around $61,000.

On February 21st, the Empire actor was arrested for filing a false police report. These supposedly fraudulent allegations are especially troubling when considering their impact on real allegations—and real victims.

 

Mandatory Credit: Photo by TANNEN MAURY/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (10114674e) 'Empire' TV series actor Jussie Smollett (C) emerges from the Cook County Court complex after posting 10 percent of a 100,000 USD bond in Chicago, Illinois, USA, 21 February 2019. Smollett was charged with felony disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report claiming he was attacked with bleach and a rope was placed around his neck in an incident that has drawn national attention. If convicted Smollett faces up to three years in prison. Jussie Smollett charged with felony disorderly conduct, Chicago, USA - 21 Feb 2019

Image Via People

 

Fox Entertainment has avoided any direct comments on Smollett’s situation, “placing [its] trust in the legal system as the process plays out.” Nevertheless, the “disturbing” allegations’ impact on cast and crew members has led Fox to cut Smollett’s role from this season’s final episodes. Smollett’s career may also be on trial, but he’s got one more gig: his upcoming family cookbook, completed with siblings Jazz, Jurnee, and Jake.

The Family Table: Recipes and Moments From a Nomadic Life was initially released in April 2018. According to the publisher, the book will remain in print.

The cookbook is described on Amazon as follows:

Before actors and Food Network stars Jazz, Jake, Jurnee, and Jussie Smollett conquered Hollywood, they spent their childhood crisscrossing the United States. Moving coast to coast thirteen times, they car-tripped to small towns and big cities across America.

But no matter where they lived, two things remained constant: their incredible family feasts and the long, wooden kitchen table where they shared food and lived their lives. Each time they arrived in a new home, their mother would transform planks of hard wood into a smooth, varnished butcher block table in a beloved ritual that took three days. That hand-crafted table would become the heart of the Smollett clan, where the most important and cherished events and accomplishments, no matter how large or small, were honored, and where holidays were celebrated: Christmas, Easter, Passover, Chanukah, birthdays, milestones. With a mother from New Orleans and a Jewish father from New York who met and married in California, the Smollett kids were exposed to diverse culinary heritages and grew up open to all the deliciousness the world had to offer.

In this warm and personal book, the Smolletts invite us all to take a seat at their table and enjoy the good times and good food that help families thrive. The Family Table includes more than 130 delicious, comforting recipes that pay tribute to their past and present. These favorite recipes from the Smolletts are suitable for intimate dinners and fabulous feasts alike, but more than that, The Family Table is a remarkable portrait of a loving, all-American family, rich with traditions that they continue to build to this day.

 

 

Featured Image Via Variety

George Orwell photograph over green background

70 Years Later, British Council Apologizes for George Orwell Rejection

If you’re into easy little phrases with all the emotional depths of a greeting card condolence, you might’ve heard or used the phrase ‘it’s never too late to apologize.’ Here’s the question: is this truism actually true? Is it really never too late—even if the person’s dead? We’d ask George Orwell whether this widely held assumption applied to a recent apology he received, but he’s not exactly available for commentary.

 

George Orwell

Image Via George Orwell Biography

 

In 1946, the British Council commissioned Orwell to write an essay on the country’s cuisine in an attempt to spread British culture throughout the world (because, apparently, the empire hadn’t already done the job). When Orwell wrote the essay he was paid for, the organization declined the publication. By this point, Orwell was already a novelist of some acclaim, having published Animal Farm the year prior. The man wasn’t J.K. Rowling—no bizarre allegorical theme park—but he was not a man to spurn. Unfortunately for Orwell, there was the matter of the stringent food rations in the U.K. at the time, and the audience was hungry for everything but culinary content. The Council informed Orwell of their concerns… and the rejection:

I am so sorry such a seemingly stupid situation has arisen with your manuscript [due to] doubts on such a treatment of the painful subject of Food in these times. Apart from one or two minor criticisms, I think it is excellent, [but] it would be unfortunate and unwise to publish it for the continental reader.

While the Council may not have had the foresight not to commission the essay, they had the hindsight to issue a formal apology. “Over seventy years later,” began editor Alasdair Donaldson in his official statement, “the British Council is delighted to make amends for its slight on perhaps the UK’s greatest political writer of the 20th century, by reproducing the original essay in full.” You can check it out here or continue reading for the highlights.

 

Christmas Pudding

Christmas pudding, for all the Americans imagining a VANILLA SNACK PACK
Image Via BBC

 

The essay includes many of Orwell’s own recipes so that you can live like the artist himself… without the tuberculosis. Of course, just because he’s a literary genius doesn’t mean he’s a genius in the kitchen. (Orwell’s editor said of his orange marmalade: “bad recipe; too much sugar and water!”) After dropping some other recipes for plum cake and pudding, he moves onto what might be some passive-aggression towards the British diet. “British people… combine sugar with meat,” he observes delicately, “in a way that is seldom seen elsewhere.”

Below, we’ve included the infamous marmalade recipe. Try it for yourself to see if Orwell really was a man of taste.

 

Orwell's orange marmalade recipe

Image Via Flickr

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 seville oranges
  • 2 sweet oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • 3.6kg of preserving sugar
  • 4.5 litres of water

Wash and dry the fruit. Halve them and squeeze out the juice. Remove some of the pith, then shred the fruit finely. Tie the pips in a muslin bag. Put the strained juice, rind and pips into the water and soak for 48 hours. Place in a large pan and simmer for an hour and a half until the rind is tender. Leave to stand overnight, then add the sugar and let it dissolve before bringing to the boil. Boil rapidly until a little of the mixture will set into a jelly when placed on a cold plate. Pour into jars which have been heated beforehand and cover with paper covers.

 

Featured Image Via School of Life on YouTube

The ‘Buzz’ on Hannah Hart’s New ‘My Drunk Kitchen’ Cookbook

If you’re not already familiar with the concept, Hannah Hart‘s web series My Drunk Kitchen might (lit)erally blow your mind. Step one: Hart imbibes some serious alcohol, sometimes with famous guests (and by famous, we mean Sarah Silverman and John Green famous). Step two: she tackles a serious recipe. Oh, and she films the entire thing. Hart launched her successful YouTube channel nearly a decade ago in 2011 (which, of course, doesn’t feel like it should have been as long ago as it is). In all that time, Hart’s built up her brand—and, we assume, her liquor tolerance.

 

Hannah Hart, brandishing the booze

Image Via The Daily Beast

In 2014, Hart published her first cookbook with a small press. This year, Random House nabbed the follow-up: My Drunk Kitchen Holidays!: How to Savor and Celebrate the Year. Some of us need alcohol just to survive the holidays, let alone actually celebrate them. But Hart’s book isn’t just about the holiday season—a.k.a. the uncomfortable family reunions and nightmarish retail hell that is the end of the year, regardless of which holidays you choose to celebrate. It’s about holidays and special occasions throughout the year, starting as early as Valentine’s Day (which, let’s get real, might be an occasion for a drink or two). It goes so far as to include less conventional holidays, including Pride Month and the niche Left Handers’ Day.

 

Hannah Hart holding My Drunk Kitchen sign

Image Via Tube Filter

In an official statement, Hart discussed the upcoming cookbook:

Plume and Penguin Random House are the perfect partners for the next My Drunk Kitchen book. Together, we are all ready to take this kitchen to the next level. I’m more than ready for 2019 to have something fresh, funny, and fulfilling. How about you?

Though the book has a set release date of October 22, 2019, you can pre-order it now! We’re excited that it’ll come out just before Halloween, so we can eat, drink, and be scary!

 

Featured Image Via Surviving College