A Cook, A Book, and a FREEBIE for you!

This contest has ended.

Congratulations to Courtney H., who will receive a free hardcover copy of SAVING GRAVE!

saving grace

SAVING GRACE, by Jane Green

Hardcover book giveaway contest ended February 29th!

About SAVING GRACE

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Grace Chapman seems to live a perfect life as a caterer in upstate New York, residing in luxurious seclusion with her famous author husband, Ted. But Grace has secrets, and Ted has a temper. Grace’s world is falling apart.

Enter Beth, a seemingly perfect personal assistant recommended by the Chapman’s own daughter. In short order, Beth is able to organize the Chapman household and placate the disorganized, angry author. As the plot deepens and Grace spirals, the reader sees what Grace cannot…

Beth doesn’t want to help Grace. Beth wants to become Grace.

Cooking becomes a lifeline as Grace struggles to save herself.

Saving Grace

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Free Book Giveaway ends SOON!

[2/2/16 Update: Congratulations to Louise Reyna, winner of this giveaway contest!]

lemon cakeThe Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, by Aimee Bender

Contest Ends January 31st

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Enter as many times as you’d like before January 31st!

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“My mouth – always so active, alert – could now generally identify forty of fifty states in the product or meat I ate. I had taken to tracking those more distant elements on my plate, and each night, at dinner, a U.S. map would float up in my mind as I chewed and I’d use it to follow the nuances in the parsley sprig, the orange wedge, and the baked potato to Florida, California, and Kansas, respectively. I could sometimes trace eggs to the county” (p. 95).

As a child, I loved reading The Chocolate Touch, by Patrick Skene Catling. To me, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is the grown-up, quirky distant cousin of a childhood favorite. Instead of a greedy little boy who learns it really is possible to have too much of a good thing when everything he touches turns to chocolate, Aimee Bender offers us Rose Edelstein, a precocious little girl with a most unusual and unfortunate gift. To Rose’s great dismay, she learns she can taste emotions cooked and baked into her food.

Rose’s peculiar and unshakable ability might be tolerable if she weren’t surrounded by such an odd cast of characters. But that wouldn’t make for an interesting story, would it? Instead, Rose lives with a detached and clueless father, a melancholy and secretive mother, and an older brother who blends into the background most extraordinarily well. Rose finds grains of sanity in her friendship with Eliza, whose mother can be relied upon to cook happy tasting food, and her unlikely alliance with George, the surprisingly normal friend of her very strange brother.

In The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Aimee Bender accomplishes the extraordinary… she gives her food characters the same depth and development as many fiction authors give their human characters. The textures, flavors, scents, kitchen environment, and baker of Rose’s favorite lemon cake are described in several pages of detail, and lemon cake is just one food of many to receive such grand attention to detail. Foodies and fiction aficionados alike will enjoy this eccentric tale.

Here is a link to purchase this book online:  The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

Audrey’s Cherry Preserves

Audrey's Cherry Preserves

Audrey, one of the three fabulous fictional ladies featured in Carly Ellen Kramer’s novel How to Bake a Chocolate Soufflé, was delighted to participate in a character interview with N.M. Sotzek at On Writing.  Laugh along as Audrey dishes on her girlfriends and discusses her famous cherry preserves here.  The recipe itself is simple… here we go!

Audrey’s Cherry Preserves
2 pounds dark, sweet pitted cherries (fresh or frozen)
1 heaping tablespoon lemon marmalade (or juice and zest from 1/2 lemon)
4 ounces liquid pectin
3 cups sugar

Add half of the pitted cherries to a large pot. Coarsely chop the other half of the cherries in a blender or food processor, and add to the pot with the whole cherries.

Simmer over low heat with stirring until cherries are soft and release a lot of liquid. Bring to a boil, stirring so that the cherries on the bottom of the pot don’t burn!  Add marmalade, pectin, and sugar. Stirring constantly, return mixture to a hard boil.

Boil for five minutes.  Remove from heat, and allow to cool slightly before transferring to glass jars.  If you are canning Audrey’s Cherry Preserves as gifts, process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  Makes approximately 6 half-pint jars.