Monday, July 27, 2015

the novel bakers present...

several months ago the novel bakers received a surprise book in the mail, sadly it was not what i would call our baker genre... i was embarrassed to have to turn a gift horse down and described what our little group is a more akin to. low and behold, she mentioned the kitchens of the great midwest, now that was much more to our liking! i was eager for us all to dip our toes into this brand new book, being released tomorrow, july 28th.

*** a little update needs to be inserted here, i read this book last week with great gusto, i quickly did my little outline and was excited to play in the kitchen again, but for the second time in 3 weeks we had a major fire near our home... which means all plans fell to the wayside. my husband was lucky to get through the closed roads to get in and remove our pets, it was a very tense day with tears and angst for many. in other words, life took over and you will find this edible review a wee bit scattered and on the sparse side. 4 days later, as i write this on saturday, the fire is only 47% contained, its burned 11 square miles to date and they have 1800 people still fighting the flames. 150 houses are still in mandatory evacuations, i want to express how grateful i am for all these men and woman who fight to protect our homes, seeing a fast fire in steep drought ridden hills under high winds is humbling and horrifying...***

despite our week, i did love this book, i found the book charming on many levels, first its quirky, i love quirk, and its got food, loads of it, but it also has panache and humor, in other words its a deliciously entertaining book!

love hits us all in many ways, our story begins with a passion for food, hold the garlic...

"no, I will not hold the garlic--its pesto."

oh, you can't make a sauce with just pine nuts, olive oil, basil and romano?

fast forward and kitchen lust has produced our fresh faced baby eva. growing up in the midwest inspirations for this family and foodie based novel was his grandmothers lutheran church cookbook. the recipes may be bland by todays standards, but he more than makes up for that with his refreshingly original debut telling the story of a single dish and character, at once capturing the zeitgeist of the midwest, the rise of foodie culture, and delving into the ways food creates community and a sense of identity. kitchens of the great midwest is an unexpected mother-daughter story about the bittersweet nature of life—its missed opportunities and its joyful surprises.

one of my favorite chapters was golden bantam, it was a curl up and laugh out loud moment, cementing this book as a five star read from me. i never like to share story lines, that's why i read, for the unexpected, each page fresh for my eyes only, but i will happily share a sunday supper from the soon to be shopped book..

tapas girls and bottomless sangria: hot times in spanish kitchens.

i found this recipe decidedly not the norm for the midwest, but my husband sure did enjoy his shredded pork tacos with mint, black beans, wisconsin feta served with salsa from nebraska wedding and cherokee purple heirlooms.

i started novel bakers for the fun of expanding my horizons, for jumping into a books pages and trying things i would never think of... as in participating in this whole subculture of bars ;-) my first Mississippi mud bar...

"to forgive, to sweeten, and her bars, her bars did that for the world, they were her I'm Sorry, they were her Like Me, they were her Love Freely Given."

"have a house without a pie, be ashamed until you die~"

born and raised in minnesota, he now lives in los angeles, where he co-hosts a literary-culinary events series called hot dish and has worked as a TV producer, notably for ice road truckers and deadliest catch. he does not own a gun and a motorcycle, which makes him unique among the men in his extended family.

i hope you enjoyed your visit today, be sure and stop by all the great kitchens of the novel bakers today on your way to picking up your own copy of the kitchens of the great Midwest.

home is where the boat is
rattlebridge farm


  1. First of all, I'm so glad you and your pets are safe and sound. The fires are terrifying, I watched on the news seeing Napa, not realizing you were in harm's way. Thankfully you can evacuate safely to your seaside bungalow. I hope the fires are contained soon, for the wildlife, homeowners and fire fighters' sake.

    This was such an entertaining book! I laughed out loud at "tapas girls and bottomless sangria" (among other things :) Your shredded pork tacos look delicious! I know Scott must be happy with the novel baking that comes out of your kitchen.

    The "Bars" was my favorite chapter along with Pat Prager, I loved the surprise of the ending :) Your Mississippi Mud Bars look so decadent and rich! My grandmother who lived in Mississippi never made bars, but always had two pies to choose from in her kitchen, "have a house without a pie, be ashamed until you die" was definitely her motto :)

    I loved the author video you included. What fun to be able see him on tour at his home library.

    Thanks for coordinating the delicious fun. I look forward to your Sunday Supper!

  2. So glad you and your babies are safe from the terrifying fires. Must've really been hard for you to get in the mood to do any creating. Looks like you rocked the house though with those pork tacos. They look so yum! Always great to have the Novel Bakers back. You guys are my favorite!

  3. I am familiar with California fires and evacuations from living there for 20 years, and my sisters still live there so I am always watching and worrying. Terrifying, and I am so glad you are safe. A delightful book is always a great way to distract from worry and after reading all the Novel Bakers posts I am off to Amazon to pre order my copy. I too am a big fan of quirky, and I can't wait to peruse all the recipes because the ones you, Mary, and Michael Lee have shared look incredibly tempting! Thanks for the fun Jain~

  4. Jain, I didn't know your home and pets were still in danger from the fires--I'm relieved that your pets are safe and will send positive thoughts in your direction. Thanks so much for coordinating this delightful book for the NB. I love quirky, too, especially when food is involved. Your review is wonderful, too. I'm wild about your Mississippi Mud Bars and the Shredded Pork Tacos with Salsa. The flavors shine through in your exquisite photographs. Thanks!

  5. I am so sorry about the fires. Kudos to you for being able to concentrate on this with such an imminent danger looming over your neighborhood! Your photos are wonderful, and the food looks delicious! Be safe!

  6. Relieved to know that you and the pets are safe. I can't imagine living with such fear for ones home. Terrifying!
    This book sounds entertaining. Thanks for introducing us to it.
    Take care. Are you at Sea Dream?

  7. Jain, I'm hearing the news about the wildfires and worrying about you and your husband and pets and homes! I don't know exactly where you are but I hope the fires near you have been controlled. I'll be thinking of you. Linda