Books · Favorites · food · Non-Fiction

Book Review: Buttermilk Graffiti by Edward Lee

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

According to Chef Lee, the best way to get to know someone is to eat the food that they eat. Not only do you learn about their personal tastes, but you develop a deeper connection to them and where they came from. This is exactly the notion that Lee chased when he began travelling all over the country, in search of American immigrants and the food and stories that they bring to the table.

In Buttermilk Graffiti we’re introduced to Lee and his own background as a Korean American chef with one foot in the deep South, the other firmly rooted in his family heritage. On his journey he takes us everywhere from New Orleans to learn about beignets, Connecticut to learn about smen, West Virginia to sample slaw dogs, and Louisville for some down-home goodness. And that’s only the beginning. The point of his journey was not only to taste delicious foods, but to learn about how they’ve evolved, if at all. How did authentic Korean food come to be in Montgomery, Alabama? How did Brighton Beach become a haven for Russian immigrants? At times, the answers he recieveonly inspire a dozen more questions.

Sometimes he’s the odd man out, other times he blends in flawlessly. That’s both the beauty and (sometimes) ugliness of American culture. Throughout his travels, Lee gives a voice to the other odd ones out, the ones who have much to say, share, and cook about. The ones who so seldom actually get a voice.

This was not only an inspiring and creative story about food, but an incredibly insightful look into the lives of who really makes up the melting pot that is America.

Books · Favorites · Non-Fiction

Book Review: My Life in France by Julia Child

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This book…I don’t even know how to begin explaining the love affair I’ve been having with this book the past few weeks.

As someone with formal culinary training and a background in pastry, obviously I have a passion for food. One of my early influences, back when I was first learning my way around the kitchen, was Julia Child. Most people my age had never even heard of Julia, but as soon as I discovered episodes of her old cooking shows, I fell in love with her knowledge and appreciate of le cuisine de France, and, of course, her fun personality. Reading this book was just like discovering her and my love of cooking all over again.

The book recounts Julia’s life during the years she lived in France and her journey from kitchen novice to television chef. She talks of her time spent training at Le Cordon Bleu, wandering the outdoor markets of Paris, and the hours she spent in her tiny apartment kitchen. She then recounts the years spent writing and testing recipes for her cookbooks, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volumes I and II. If there was ever any doubt, Julia was, indeed, a master in all things classical French.

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I looooved reading about Julia’s early years in France – the wonder and excitement of discovering a new city, new cuisine, and a new language. Her experiences are described so vividly that it’s easy to feel like you were right there with her. (I will admit, as someone who’s already been wanderlusting after France for years, this book only intensified it.)

I also loved reading about the people in Julia’s inner circle, from her friends and family back in America to all the influential culinarians (including James Beard!) who helped her along the way. Her wit and sense of humor are interjected throughout, along with stories of not only success, but her failures, as well. Part of her charm lies in the fact that not only was she an incredibly talented and dedicated woman, but she was humble, as well.

I’m glad this book exists so that Julia can continue to inspire, despite the fact that she’s no longer with us. Bon Appetit!

Adult · Books · Fantasy · Favorites · Non-Fiction · Young Adult

Top Ten Tues: Best Books I’ve Read in 2018

It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday again! (TTT is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. If you’d like to participate, a list of the weekly themes can be found here.) This week’s topic is “Best Books I’ve Read in 2018.” Sounds like an easy one, right? WRONG. I’ve read so many good books in the past six months that I don’t even know where to begin.

I actually did a post on my favorites of 2018 (so far) about a month ago, but I’ve read several other great books since then, so here’s the updated list:

The Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab

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To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

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Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman

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Robots vs. Fairies (Anthology)

The Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire

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Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Books · Non-Fiction

Book Review: How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

It’s Monday…

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Let’s start off this week with a book review, shall we?

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My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars 

Though they have the vote and the Pill and haven’t been burned as witches since 1727, life isn’t exactly a stroll down the catwalk for modern women. They are beset by uncertainties and questions: Why are they supposed to get Brazilians? Why do bras hurt? Why the incessant talk about babies? And do men secretly hate them? Caitlin Moran interweaves provocative observations on women’s lives with laugh-out-loud funny scenes from her own, from adolescence to her development as a writer, wife, and mother.

(via Goodreads)

After reading Jenny Lawson’s books at the end of last year I told myself that I would read more memoirs and non-fiction. I feel like Caitlin Moran’s book was a good first choice for 2018. How to Be a Woman takes a deeper look at some of the bullshit that women are subjected to on a regular basis. Sexuality, lingerie, the impracticality of heels and handbags, relationships, pornography, and the pressure to have children are just a few of the topics she dissects with a witty and sometimes outraged approach.

While I did not agree on every viewpoint Moran made (which is fine, because she even points out how it’s okay to challenge each other’s feminist ideals when necessary), I enjoyed what she had to say. This book proves that despite the progress we’ve already made, feminists still have a ways to go.

Be prepared to chuckle while having the truth slapped across your face. You know, in a good way.

Adult · Books · Fantasy · Non-Fiction

Currently Reading

Thank you for the well wishes yesterday. I’m still battling with the infection, as the antibiotics I was prescribed don’t appear to be helping much. Blergh. I spoke with my doctor’s office today, however, and hopefully things will be better soon.

I started reading two different books this week. Given how much time I’ve had to read, one book didn’t seem like enough. 😛

 

So far I am enjoying both books. After reading Jenny Lawson’s books at the end of last year, I told myself that I need to read more memoirs/non-fiction. Cailtin Moran’s book is my first of 2018.

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What are you reading this week?

Adult · Book Reviews · Books · Non-Fiction

Book Review: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I didn’t need to buy another book, I really didn’t. However, after finishing Furiously Happy, I had to read Jenny Lawson’s first book. I had to. The universe demanded it. Who am I to say no to the universe like that?

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is a memoir, sharing the mortifying, bizarre, and hilarious things that have happened throughout Lawson’s life. It’s different than Furiously Happy, as in mental health is not the sole focus of each chapter, but it’s still a present topic throughout.

I loved getting to read more about Jenny’s life antics. Even her more serious stories will make you laugh out loud and wonder what the hell you just read. (There were a few evenings in which I laughed out loud while laying in bed reading this book. Boyfriend may or may not have been trying to sleep next to me. He is now most likely questioning why he ever asked me to move in with him.)

The book has more stories about Lawson’s fondness for bad taxidermy, the “joys” of motherhood, the zombie apocalypse, her pets, and the time she overdosed on laxatives during a home invasion…just to name a few highlights.

I swear, this woman is my new hero. I fucking love her.