Greetings and welcome to the Hellidaze Kick-off Edition of You Are What You Read. There will be no edition next week because I finally learned that if you are responsible for any piece of the meal it makes sense that you take the day before off so that you aren’t showing up at your feast cranky and bleary eyed for baking, roasting, basting either late into the night or early in the morning or both. And taking the following day is also good for the soul if you can manage to do so that you can regroup before the true frenzy takes hold.
Hard as it is to believe it’s HELLIDAZE time. This time next week you all will be looking at the carcass of the bird that has taken up all the real estate in your fridge, a laundry room full of used sheets and towels, strewn-about bloated relatives in various stages of unbuckled, unbuttoned and unzipped on your sofa, floors and beds arguing over which game to watch and your thanksgiving will be that this only happens once a year.
As usual, my Merry Band and I will be traveling up state to have Cousin’s Thanksgiving, where my sweet Vegan cousin will cook the majority of our feast even though she herself will be eating some strange Vegan version of a harvest meal. Last year it was a pumpkin stuffed with a grain of some sort that roasted in the oven. It emerged from the oven looking like some sort of Pagan harvest sacrifice, but it made her very happy so there’s that. As we have discussed in the past, I myself am not a fan of this meal. And no, it’s not because my people don’t know how to prepare it. I come from a long line of women who not only know their way around a kitchen, but actually enjoy playing in one. Nope. It’s a turkey and I loathe it. Starting in November when the culinary magazines start rolling in with the same bronzed over-grown fowl on the cover my heart sinks. So I keep myself happy and sated with the sides. What will I be driving up on Thursday? A little something I call Breaking Vegan Brussels. These are Sprouts so delicious that my cousin breaks her Vegan diet for them. And now I am sharing them with you!
Take your Brussels sprouts and quarter them. Make sure you save those stray leaves! They roast up into crispy lovelies. Toss them with a nice amount of olive oil and salt and pepper. Taste a leaf. They should be nicely seasoned. Throw them on a sheet pan and roast and toss in a 425 oven until nice and caramelized. While this is going down you are going to make your sauce. Take a couple of spoons of Harissa, which is a delicious Middle Eastern condiment you can buy at The Whole Foods. It is a blend of smoked chilies, garlic and spices like cumin and mint. What else will you use this for? Adding it to mayo on your leftover sandwich the next day will be revelatory to you, or a spoon some in a saucer of olive oil which makes a delightful dip for bread and raw veg. Trust me. Anyway, to this you add some lime zest, the juice of the zested lime and some honey (This is the breaking Vegan piece of the puzzle. Vegans don’t eat honey. If you were expecting bacon I am sorry I killed your dream). Whisk that baby up and give a taste. You should have a nice mix of hot, smoky, sweet and slightly floral from the lime. Adjust as necessary. When your sprouts are done, toss them in the amazing sauce and if you want to gild the lily sprinkle some pomegranate seeds over the top. You can serve this hot or room temp and it is delicious no matter what you decide to do. In fact, it has been known to be nibbled on the next morning before others can lay claim. But you didn’t hear that from me.
Have a happy Brown Buffet aka Thanksgiving and I will see you all the following week after the event I really look forward to: The Game. Go Bucks! Beat Meat Chicken!
This week we have sisters, a cruise, a commute, a trilogy, some brothers, more Cartel and excitement.
Pat T is listening. “Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi is one of the best audio books I have listened to this year! This novel is about two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, whose lives take very different trajectories when they leave their village in Ghana. Effia is married to an Englishman who lives in a castle and Esi is imprisoned in the dungeon beneath the castle, and sold off as a slave to be shipped to America. Their stories are like a kaleidoscope as we view the multi-generational layers: Effia in Ghana where the Fante and Asante nations have to deal with British Colonization and Esi with her descendants in America whose paths take them from slavery to the Civil War, all the way to present day Harlem. As a reader, it does become a bit confusing as you try to remember all the characters from both families, but that being said there are characters, like Quay and H, who are so human and unforgettable. A passage in the final chapter summarizes, what I think, is the essence of this novel, ‘what he wanted to capture with his project was the feeling of time, of having been a part of something that stretched so far back, was so impossibly large that it was easy to forget that she, he and everyone else existed in it - not apart from it, but inside of it.’”
Babs B is blaming The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware for her lack of sleep. “The launch of a boutiques cruise ship was meant to be the perfect trip for Lo Blacklock, a travel journalist for a luxury press. Lo is trying to recover from a traumatic home break-in that has left her on the verge of collapse. Except nothing goes as planned on this trip! Lo is woken in the night by screams and rushes to her window just in time to see a body being thrown overboard from the next door cabin. But the records show that no one ever checked into that cabin and no passengers are missing from the boat. Lo wonders. Has she made a terrible mistake or is she trapped on a boat with a killer and she is the only witness? I stayed up till the wee hours of the morning finishing this one and and it was definitely worth it!”
Jill M is new to this space! She can be found spreading her cheer and charm on the Welcome Desk as a Reader’s Advisor. Welcome Jill! We’re happy you’re here! She just finished Faithful by Alice Hoffman and here’s what she thought. “I love the opportunity during my commute to engage in something greater than traffic and Alice Hoffman’s latest book, Faithful filled that ticket! This engaging story allows the listener to share the emotional tribulations of a young girl from Long Island whose life is upended after a tragic car accident. Over the next ten years, Shelby Richmond comes to grips with guilt, love and loss as she regains her life. The narrator brings the listener back to that magical time of adolescent and all of its innate challenges. I look forward to reading more from this author.”
Virginia the Tall Cool Texan is excited about The Fate of the Tearling, Erika Johansen. “Rejoice fans of Erika Johansen’s Tearling series, the third and final installment, T**he Fate of the Tearling** is out next week and it is GREAT. With that being said, it is hard to write a review because I don’t want to give away any spoilers. Without providing too much detail, I can say the Tearling is still in turmoil; Queen Kelsea’s inner demons are doing overtime; there are flashbacks to answer many of your questions; and finally you cannot predict the ending. This book is full of surprises. For those of you who haven’t read the series and enjoy an epic fantasy novel with a strong female lead in a dystopian world, run don’t walk to pick up the first book, The Queen of the Tearling.”
Laura just finished a favorite of a lot of us on staff. “Truevine, by Beth Macy, is a true account about a double kidnapping at the turn of the century . Decades after the Civil War’s fight for the freedom of slaves, two young black brothers were kidnapped from the farm fields in their hometown of Truevine, Virginia, not because they were black, but because they were albino. The year was 1899, and it was well known that ‘freak hunters’ as they were called back then plied the country looking for star attractions to their circus side shows. Told that their mother was dead, George and Willie Muse never saw home again for decades. They traveled the country, known by the show names given to them: The Sheepheaded Cannibals from Educador or the Ambassadors from Mars to name a few. Macy’s research was thorough and vividly recreates the Jim Crow South and the fight Mother Muse had to get her boys back. The book is also a fascinating look into the early industrial age of America, when the middle class was growing and the circus, before radio and television, was the big attraction at the time.”
The Always Delightful Pat S is back on her Cartel Kick with The Far Empty by J. Todd Scott. “If you are looking for a cozy mystery, this isn’t for you . . . Set in Texas in a hole in the wall border town called Murfee, young teen Caleb comes to believe that his mother has been murdered by the local Sheriff, nicknamed the Judge, who happens to be his father. The new deputy, Chris Cherry, once the football hero of Murfee, comes to the same conclusion. But the town is run by the Judge, and the extent of his corruption, anyone’s guess. Scott sets the atmosphere from page one-the heat and dust creating a pall over every scene. It is a place where all hope has dried up and blown away. Told through the voices of Caleb, Cherry and several other town denizens, the story that unfolds is harsh and unsparing –and has this reader dying to find out how this will end. Readers who enjoyed Don Winslow s’ The Cartel won’t want to miss this one.”
What am I excited about? Well this week we purchased 25 simultaneous L**onely Planet travel guides from OverDrive so that you all can plan your next get-away. The excitement here for you all means that once you download the app onto your phone, you are one click away from instant gratification. Think about it. No waiting for your neighbor to return Discover Caribbean Islands as you plot your Hellidaze escape. Is the Christmas bonus not what you hoped? How about downloading Southeast Asia on a Shoestring?** Also no more fighting about a guide book! EVERYONE can have one. Imagine a vacation free from haggling. But People, if you drop your phone in a puddle in Paris that replacement is on you. Remember! We are never averse to the gifts of Taffy and Fudge upon your return.
DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from SUN with The Playlist and some final musings. What's good Pats? "This year I am hosting the clan for Thanksgiving. This is the new normal and I honestly love it. Sure, my house isn’t nearly big enough to host the 18-25 people who will be here, but somehow it works. All the tables in the house are pulled together creating one long runway lined with golden birds, perfectly buttered mashed potatoes and my grandmother’s recipe for stuffing and cranberry sauce. You can be sure I’ll have roasted Brussels sprouts at the ready and there will be pies. Oh, yes... There will be pies a plenty!
I am fortunate to have a family that loves hard and holds fast to each other when times are tough. This Thanksgiving, I wish you a table overflowing with love, family and music. I’ve pulled together a mellow playlist from my personal tunes for your dinner enjoyment. So focus on your own family time, I’ve got your music covered."