I am little bit late for the July Cover Recipe post, but better late then never! I clearly have a thing for berries an ice cream, because this month I again turned to these fabulous summer ingredients to make chocolate raspberry ice cream sandwiches from the July issue of Food Network Magazine. Not my favorite food magazine - I'll admit it, I am a snob about the Food Network. In spite of this, the ice cream sandwiches are perfect for July and I fancied them a little bit by making my own ganache. The magazine recipe doesn't specifiy ingredients for these and the only homemade piece is the cookies. But that is what is great about these - make these cookies and a million different variations are at your finger tips. Want to make your own ice cream, go for it! Want to make homemade toppings, go for it! Want to combine weird flavors like mint chocolate chip and strawberries - the world is your oyster, do what makes you happy! I went with the cover recipe of the chocolate cookie, fudge sauce, berry ice cream and fresh raspberries. An elegant seasonal choice for July. These cookies are really keepers - they came together easily, taste delicious and froze beautifully. Summer is still here, have fun!
Kate Atkinson's Life After Life was made for this blog. Never before have I been so spoiled for choices for what to make for bookcooker. The novel is set in England, from about 1910 to after WWII and includes countless references to very British sounding dishes - roly poly, rose madder, windsor brown, lump cookies, milk fadge, cabinet pudding, picallili, bakewell tart, iced fancy. The list could go on. In addition, there is a brief detour in Germany - Pfannkuchen, Schokolade, Palatschniken, Schawrtzwalder kirschtorte. How could I possibly decide what to make? I landed on Egyptian pudding, which I think was the first reference in the book to a fabulous English dessert. It was Mrs. Glover, the housekeeper to the Todd family makes after the birth of the book's protagonist - Ursula Todd. The shear volume of interesting British dishes is a result of the novel's unique narrative device - throughout the book Ursula Todd is born, dies and then born again - each time making it a little farther into her life. Atkinson starts over and over again, starting the story from the same place - Ursula's birth, and each time some disaester befalls her. I thought this might bore me (the same stuff over and over again), but it really is a fascinating story every time - a little different every time. The effect of this unique narrative device was truly dazzling, and the Egyptian Pudding rocked too.
I am hoping to start a new feature here on bookcooker, partly as an attempt to get out of my blogging rut! Every month I will make a cover recipe from some food magazine - first up the cover of Martha Stewart Livings June issue - a very simple berry float. It feels a bit like cheating to make this, it is nothing much more than berries, vanilla ice cream and soda thrown together - but it has been impact, both visually and in taste. It is a great easy treat to throw together when you are in the mood for something special and the color scheme obviously works perfect for July 4th or for chearing on Team USA in the World Cup! Yum!
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is an amazing book that is many different things in one package - a coming of age story, an immigrant story, a commentary on race and at its vibrant, beating heart - a love story. As you may be able to tell from my description, I absolutely loved it. It was both thought provoking and emotionally satisfying on multiple levels. The book tells the story of Ifemelu, a Nigerian woman who moves to the United States and then decides to return home to Nigeria. The story starts in Princeton, where Ifemelu is doing a fellowship. When we first meet her she has already decided that she is going to move back to Lagos, leaving her American boyfriend behind. Before she leaves she needs to get her hair braided, and the only place for her to do that is an African hair salon in Newark - as she sits in the salon chair (with an uneasy relationship with the woman braiding her hair) for the long braiding process, Ifemelu thinks back on everything that has led up to this moment. Adichie moves back and forth in time for most of the novel, moving back in time and returning every so often to this salon chair. The hair braiding process and Ifemelu's choice of what to do with her hair (chemically straighten in, chop it all off, braid it) serves throughout as a touch point for her identify both in Nigeria and as an African woman in America. Ifemelu (and Adichie) is a sharp, keen eyed observer of the world around her, particularly as an "outsider" in America. Her experiences and commentary are both funny and painfully on point. I could have read 300 more pages of her story.