Friday, October 25, 2013

Guest Judge Announced for Animal, Vegetable, Miracle Round

I hope everyone is enjoying tucking into their copies of our current Cook the Books title, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life" by Barbara Kingsolver, Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver. I am delighted to announce that the Guest Judge for this round will be Andrea Meyers, a popular blogger, whose seasonal recipes and food photography are really spectacular.

Some of you may be familiar with or have participated in her great blog event, Grow Your Own, which featured posts about foods which were locally harvested, foraged, hunted or fished, which is precisely the subject of our featured book. Grow Your Own ran for four wonderful years and you can peruse the archive of roundups at the GYO link here. Andrea has a new feature on her blog, The Farm Project, which highlights the local farms in her neck of the woods, northern Virginia, which you may also want to check out.

As a reminder, the deadline for posts that discuss our book and highlight a dish inspired from its pages is November 25, 2013. Let me know that you have published your Cook the Books post by leaving a comment here or at the previous CTB post or by sending me an email at oldsaratogabooks atgmail dot com.

Happy reading!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Our October/November 2013 Book Pick: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle!

The next book selection for the Cook the Books Club is "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life", written by Barbara Kingsolver, her husband Steven L. Hopp, and her two daughters, Camille and Lily, after they relocated from Tucson, Arizona to their new farmstead in Kentucky. The Kingsolver/Hopp family decided on a year-long experiment in which they would try to only buy food from their local community or raise it or grow it themselves.

As a longtime Kingsolver fiction fan, I made sure to get my hands on a copy of this book shortly after it was originally published in 2007. I sped through it then, and wrote down lots of notes and dog-eared a bunch of pages of cheesemaking, recipes, turkey-rearing and horticultural tips. I wanted to share this book with others who may not have dipped into it and also thought it would be interesting to re-read this book to see not only how I could renew my efforts to eat more locally-grown foods, but to see how influential it has been on the locavore and farmer's market movements.

As always, anyone can join us in reading and blogging about this book by the November 25, 2013 deadline. There are no requirements to sign up or log in to Cook the Books. You just need to cuddle up with our featured book, blog up your thoughts and cook up something inspired by its prose. Oh, and just let me know that you did so by leaving a comment below.

Can't wait to see what you think about this great book!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Baker's Daughter: Two Protagonists deserve Two Winners!

Hi guys!  Thank you so much for reading and cooking/baking along with my selection, The Baker's Daughter by Sarah McCoy.  And I'm so excited that Sarah agreed to be our judge for this round.  Sarah told me that she had so much fun with all of the entries.  Here is what Sarah had to say, and he choice for the WINNER(s) of this round...
judging and winner of cook the books: The Baker's Daughter by Sarah McCoy

Dearest Cook the Book Clubbers,

A glimpse into my world: I sat down to judge this smorgasbord of entries 
with a hot cup of tea on the first truly fall morning in El Paso. 
There’s a nip in the air, which is as rare and magical in the desert as 
finding Bavarian treats. Additionally, my husband (Doc B) has just 
returned from deployment in Afghanistan. All this to say, I was in 
tremendous spirits to start! Yet somehow, you made me smile even 
more—and stoked my appetite to boot. Thank you all for these remarkable 
recipes, photos, and most significantly, the intimate and deeply 
thoughtful posts you wrote. I was moved by the family stories The 
Baker’s Daughter and its recipes called to mind in your own lives. Such 
an honor to have you as readers, bakers, and new friends.

Now, to the judging, which was no easy task considering I printed off 
every recipe to put in my family cookbook binder. With Doc B home now 
and his penchant for German foods, I can’t wait to try all of these in 
my own kitchen. Now, given that The Baker’s Daughter is a 
historical-contemporary hybrid novel with two protagonists, I thought it 
befitting that I’d have TWO winners. Here they are, in no particular 

The Not So Cheesy Kitchen’s Zimt-Rosinen Schnecken (Cinnamon Raisin 
Rolls). This post masterfully provided not only an insightful summary of 
the book and a fascinating personal story (her grandfather’s Goering 
tale had me both laughing and wincing), but also awareness to food 
allergies. As an author diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2001, I’m a 
staunch proponent for wholesome eating and being proactive in one’s 
individual health. As the axiom goes: we are what we eat. And I believe 
that applies to both our bodies and imaginations! So I’m thrilled that 
The Not So Cheesy Kitchen gobbled my novel and baked a health-conscious 
recipe based on it. Bravo, Bea, my wonderful baking reader!

Kahakai Kitchen’s Milk & Honey Reisbrei (Rice Pudding) with a 
Bienenstich ("Bee Sting"). This entry had me licking my laptop screen. 
The photographs could’ve been the cover art for a gourmet magazine. 
Stunningly scrumptious! And just like one of my favorite foodie 
subscriptions, the images were only the visual accouterments to an 
amazing write-up. I was so impressed by Deb’s poetic book capsule, her 
intuitive review and use of literary quotes to explain how the novel 
inspired her to create her dish. It stung me to tears of happy 
appreciation! Doc B looked over my shoulder at the reisbrei and said, 
“That might have to be breakfast tomorrow!” It won his Guten Appetite 
prize too.

Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to everyone who participated! 
I’m so honored to have been invited on Cook the Books and even more 
elated that you all enjoyed my novel so much. Currently, I’m finishing 
up my third book for Crown. Another historical-contemporary hybrid. This 
time in West Virginia: 2013 and 1860 Civil War. And I wouldn’t be me if 
I didn’t include historical food love and recipes! That will be hitting 
shelves in Summer 2015. Until then, happy cooking and I’ll be popping by 
all of your blogs for inspiration. Let's definitely stay in touch on 
Twitter and Facebook, my friends!

Yours truly, Sarah

The Baker's Daughter WINNERS for Cook the Books
Congratulations to Bea and Deb!  This was actually Bea's first time joining us - how awesome is that!?  Now, if only we could all actually meet up to discuss our books and eat our food in person...

Be sure to drop by Sarah's facebook fan page as she will be sharing her experience with Cook the Books and some of our creations over there soon!  Thanks again, Sarah.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Baker's Daughter: ROUNDUP

As one of the hosts of Cook the Books Club, I have the privilege of choosing our reading selection every fourth time.  This is not a task that I take lightly. I know that people are going to spend their coveted free time with whatever I chose - and I want them to enjoy themselves!  I always hope that they are able to draw some positive inspiration from what they've read and bring it to fruition in the kitchen.

My latest selection was The Baker's Daughter by Sarah McCoy.  I've mentioned numerous times that it is one of my favorite foodie reads.  The world of early rising and always being enveloped in the comforting scent of dough is something that I find irresistible.

For the most part, the other participants seemed to enjoy this book, as well.  Some maybe not as much as I did...but hey, that's what makes the world go round, is it not?

But no matter their views on the story or the characters, everybody baked/cooked up something mouthwatering in their kitchen.  Mission accomplished.  Plus, I like to hear others thoughts on a story...the angle at which they approach it.  Our life experiences really do shape how we perceive the world (and the stories that make them up).

Please take a look at all of the dishes submitted for this round of The Baker's Daughter (click on the name of the dish to see each participant's post, and why they were inspired to make what they made):

dish inspired by the book: Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte
who: Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla

who: Beate from The Not So Cheesy Kitchen

dish inspired by the book: Soft Pretzels
who: Elizabeth from The Law Student's Cookbook

who: Simona from Briciole

dish inspired by the book: Texas (or Oklahoma) Ovenbaked Beans
who: Debra at Eliot's Eats

dish inspired by the book: Gluten-Free Rye Bread
who: Rachel from The Crispy Cook

dish inspired by the book: Thomasplitzchen Buns (Fruit Spirals)
who: Claudia at Honey from Rock

who: Deb at Kahakai Kitchen

dish inspired by the book: Thomasplitzchen Buns
who: Abbhirami from Soulful Creations

dish inspired by the book: Pretzel Rolls
who: Ana from Sweet Almond Tree

who: Heather from girlichef

And now I leave the daunting task of choosing a winner for this round to the lovely author of The Baker's Daughter - Sarah McCoy.  I can't wait to hear what you think of the inspiration everybody drew from your book! After Sarah's had time to read through the submissions and pick a winner, I will post an announcement.

Until then, grab a copy of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver, and start reading.  Rachel is hosting the next (current) round of Cook the Books with this title; entries will be due November 25.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links.