At The Table With...Erin Scott of Yummy Supper

Yummy Supper author Erin Scott dishes on her favorite foods and books. | www.paperplatesblog.com

Today we're getting to know Erin Scott, the Berkeley-based blogger behind Yummy Supper and author of a cookbook of the same name. Erin shares original, seasonal and truly recipes on her blog, which has a gluten-free focus because she is affected by Celiac Disease. Even people who don't necessarily avoid gluten — like me! — enjoy her recipes, though, because she emphasizes freshness right alongside deliciousness. I turn to Yummy Supper when I'm looking for something good for me but still indulgent. I hope you will too.

What is your all-time favorite book, and why?

Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. I love the rich, epic journey, the outlandish characters, and fantastical storytelling. I’m not sure how many times I’ve already read the book, but I’m happy every time I pick it up and lose myself to the story.

What meal do you love to cook, and why?

I definitely go through phases with my cooking depending on the seasons. This time of year all I want to do is makes soups and stews to warm my belly in the cooler months ahead. On the other hand, throughout the spring and summer, I can’t get enough salads. I’m a big fan of layering texture, color and flavor — and I love that both soups and salads allow for play and improvisation. Why not add a little lemon zest here or a sprinkling of chopped basil there? That kind of loose and easy cooking is my happy place.

What is your favorite food scene from a book, and why?

MFK Fisher's How To Cook a Wolf is pure brilliance. I LOVE that book - no one cuts through the BS about food better than Mary Francis. I particularly like what she has to say about letting kids eat with pleasure even if it doesn't follow the rules. 
"Let him choose his foods, not for what he likes as such, but for what goes with something else, in taste and in texture, and in general gastronomic excitement. It is not wicked sensuality.... for a little boy to prefer buttered toast with spinach for supper and a cinnamon bun with milk for lunch. It is the beginning of a sensitive and thoughtful system of deliberate choice, which as he grows will grow too, so that increasingly he will be able to choose for himself and to weigh values, not only sensual but spiritual....
The ability to choose what food you must eat, and knowingly, will make you able to choose other less transitory things with courage and finesse. A child should be encouraged, not discouraged as so many are, to look at what he eats, and think about it: the juxtapositions of color and flavor and texture... and indirectly the reasons why he is eating it and the results it will have on him...."
Amen to that.

Coffee or tea?

Coffeeeeeeeeee! I drink 2-3 cups of black coffee each and every morning. I love a good cup of tea as well, but I live for coffee.

What is the last book you abandoned, and why?

John Steinbeck's The Grapes of WrathEast of Eden is one of my favorite books and I’ve been having a Steinbeck craving lately, so I picked up a used copy of Grapes of Wrath when I was in Portland last month. I started to read it, loved the gorgeous language, but I just couldn’t take the dry, dusty heat of the book. With our own current drought, Indian summer, and my personal yearning for rain and coziness, Grapes of Wrath only intensified my own parched feeling. I just couldn’t take it!

Author you'd most like to meet for dinner, and your order?

Alice Waters. I'd love to eat a simple salad picked from her garden, eaten with our fingers.

Where do you go to find new recipes? 

My best recipes have come from allowing myself free, uninterrupted time in the kitchen. When I go to the farmers’ market with no agenda and pick whatever looks most delectable and fresh, bring those goodies home and let myself play… something delicious always emerges.

Where do you go to find new reads?

My friends and family. I’m terrible at sleuthing out new books, so I rely on friends to pass along books they enjoy.

Tell us about your blog — the inspiration for it, why you blog, and your favorite aspects.

Yummy Supper is my little corner of the web where I open my kitchen to readers. I share simple, seasonal, family-friendly recipes that happen to be gluten-free as well (though folks who don’t have an issue with gluten don’t even seem to notice and never complain about missing a thing.) Yummy Supper is also my place to play with food photography and styling. I love telling food stories through recipes and images.
I started Yummy Supper 6 years ago on a whim and had no idea it would lead to a career as a food and lifestyle photographer and cookbook author. What a strange and unexpected gift this blog has been!

What are your favorite blogs, and why?

There are so many blogs I enjoy and read on a regular basis. Here are a few of my favorites… Dash and Bella for Phyllis’s poignant and hilarious writing and delectable recipes and photos. Ashley Neese for her openhearted posts and fabulous quotes. Turntable Kitchen for their clever and always engaging mix of food, music and fantastic writing and photography.

Connect with Erin: Instagram | Twitter | Cookbook


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"Penpal" by Dathan Auerbach & Blood Orange Julius

Penpal is perfectly creepy. Enjoy it this Halloween with a twist on a childhood favorite, Blood Orange Julius.


Plausibility is the root of any good scary story, and Dathan Auerbach’s Penpal feels so plausible that it may have you wondering if the novel is technically non-fiction. 

The book is an expansion of short stories Auerbach posted on Reddit’s r/nosleep, a forum where “readers are to act as though everything is true and treat it as such in the comments.” (You can read the first chapter here.) The success of a posted story hinges on its realism, and the feedback Auerbach received was so positive that he launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to publish the novel. 

The narrator in Penpal begins by recounting seemingly innocuous events from his childhood. His language is simple and unembellished which lends to the story’s credibility. As he describes strange things that happened to him, the details are so subtle that they seem entirely possible. He could be describing your own childhood. 

And that’s when the novel starts to get creepy. The unusual events increase in frequency, eventually connecting until a bigger picture develops and the horror of what’s actually happening emerges. You come to the realization at the same time as the narrator, and it’s shocking. It’s like finding out that every wrong number, every stranger that spoke to you as a kid, your missing pet, an elementary school project gone awry, were all part of the same terrible plan. 

Auerbach does a fantastic job of getting into the mindset of a child. The fear of getting into trouble prevents the narrator from sharing things with his mother, and the unexplainable goes largely unquestioned because when you’re a kid, much of the adult world is a mystery anyway. Yet the feeling of something being off permeates the novel, staining even happy moments, keeping you on edge. 

Blood Orange Julius: The perfect Halloween drink. | www.paperplatesblog.com

Read Penpal at night. You won’t be able to put it down, you won’t sleep well and you’ll likely experience what the narrator does at the end of the novel - a childhood stained, an innocence lost. What follows is a recipe in that same vein - Orange Julius is a childhood mall classic, but this version is stained by blood oranges. It tastes almost the same, but it’s just slightly off. There’s something not quite right about it. 


BLOOD ORANGE JULIUS

Ingredients

  • 1 cup blood orange juice (4-5 oranges)
  • 1/2 cup milk or soy milk
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • crushed ice

Instructions

Place all ingredients in a blender except for the ice and blend until smooth. Pour over crushed ice. Feel uneasy. 


Blood Orange Julius: The perfect Halloween drink. | www.paperplatesblog.com
Blood Orange Julius: The perfect Halloween drink. | www.paperplatesblog.com

Get more Sarah by following her on Twitter and Instagram, and don't forget to check out her food blog, Delicious Chip.

The TBR List: Nick Dunne

Nick Dunne: The most polarizing character in "Gone Girl" | www.paperplatesblog.com

We saw Gone Girl. We loved it.

Everyone I know who's seen the movie — whether they've read the novel or not — has felt the same. Most of my friends agree that the movie did an excellent job capturing the tone and spirit of the book, although some scenes were (ahem) embellished and some details omitted. By and large, the Gone Girl movie is an excellent adaptation of the novel.

(Side note: Mariam did an awesome pairing of Gone Girl and blood orange caramels that I highly recommend you check out.)

The one point of contention I've encountered centers on Nick Dunne, one of the story's two central characters. His wife, Amy, is the titular girl who goes missing on their fifth wedding anniversary. Nick is immediately and widely suspected/accused of being the cause of her disappearance.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Did anyone else find that Nick was much more sympathetic in the movie than the book?

He admits he's not a good dude. We know this. Yet in the movie, I found myself forgiving him for his strange nonchalance about his missing wife, for his indiscretions. As my husband observed, "He had flaws, but they were really normal flaws that so many people have." The same cannot be said for Amy.

Maybe it's the Ben Affleck effect.

My take's a little different: Nick was a bad dude — a bad husband — who got stuck with an impressively vindictive wife whose crazy overshadowed his misdeeds. Amy definitely overreacted, but he still deserved some degree of punishment. Of course, Amy's way of teaching Nick a lesson was brilliant at best and psycho at worst.

That, I guess, is the limitation of film. Amy's overt revenge tactics come across brilliantly, but Nick's internal evil is mostly hidden away. You get a lot of Nick in this movie (a whole lot) but not enough to make you hate him. It doesn't kill the movie, but it's a loss.

At the end of Gone Girl the book, I felt like Nick and Amy deserved each other. At the end of Gone Girl the movie, I couldn't say the same.

(Photo adapted from Elen Nivrae)


LINKETY-SPLIT

- Kitchen shelving porn.

- Ready-to-eat cookie dough!

- Must. Visit. Turkey. #wanderlust

- In a literary map of the United States, Illinois is Native Son.

- Who wants to accompany me to Silicy to hunt some amazing cannoli?

- Yeah, I need to make these pistachio and dark chocolate rice krispie treats posthaste.

- I cannot believe that some cities are making it illegal to give food to the homeless. Shame.

- Mindy Kaling won't let anyone tell her she should be an outsider. On another note, her Diwali party looked amazing.

- Fast CoDesign killed it this week. Case in point: Read more novels. Electric kettle makeover. Snacks as design muses.

- I don't even like country music, but I am in love with this characterization of Friday Night Lights as one long country song.


Get more Amina by following PAPER/PLATES on Twitter and Instagram.

At The Table With...Joy of Joyous Reads

An interviewer with book blogger Joy of Joyous Reads | www.paperplatesblog.com

Today we're chatting with Joy, a mom, book blogger and Canadian. The tagline for Joy's blog, which is delightfully named Joyous Reads, is "Reviews. Recommendations. Rants." That's awesome because books can be a source of pleasure, but they can also make you crazy. I like a person who isn't afraid to rant. Joyous Reads covers a wide variety of books, and I really appreciate the number of female authors that appear on the site. Also, Joy is a self-proclaimed hoarder who often posts pictures of new additions to her book collection. As you'll see below, she has bookshelves to die for.

Read on to get to know Joy!

What is your all-time favorite book, and why?

This is a really tough question, but I’ll have to go with On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. This woman has a way of flaying me to pieces only to put my delicate pieces back together again. The problem is, I’m almost, always never the same person from when I started her book. Any book, of her book, for that matter.

What meal do you love to cook, and why?

Once upon a time, I’d endeavored to create a food/book blog. I think I only managed to cook, and post one recipe. But it’s one that I’m proud of: garlic shrimp scampi. You can’t really go wrong with pasta…unless you’re one of those, gluten intolerant folks. My family is not very receptive to any food containing seafood of any kind, but for some reason, they adore this!

What is your favorite food scene from a book, and why?

I can’t say I have any. From my immediate memory, I guess a scene from The Midnight Rose by Lucinda Riley where Lord Anthony finally showed his true madness whilst he was sharing a meal with Rebecca Bradley. Here, he proposed to the beautiful American actress, who looked uncannily like his grandmother, Violet. The creepy factor was definitely through the roof when he insisted that they were meant to be. The thing is, she’s only half his age, and there’s an allusion to Rebecca being poisoned (I feel there should be an ominous sound effect inserted here).  

Coffee or tea?

Iced coffee when I’m reading. Tea when I’m indulging on a scrumptious dessert.

What is the last book you abandoned, and why?

Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead. About halfway through the book, I realized that I was just going through the motions. It was a hefty sci-fi, which is not a favourite genre to begin with. But in an effort to expand my reading horizon, and since I was familiar with the author’s previous work, I thought I’d give it a go. Unfortunately, it was just not for me. I was unable to ascertain what the book was about even after quite a few chapters.
Color-packed bookshelves in the home of Joy, who blogs at Joyous Reads.

Color-packed bookshelves in the home of Joy, who blogs at Joyous Reads.

Author you'd most like to meet for dinner, and your order?

Leonard Cohen. I’ll order moon cake and tea.

Where do you go to find new recipes?

Dinners at my house are so predictable, it’s not even funny. Since my family is full of picky eaters, I tend to be unadventurous in the kitchen. But when an inspiration to cook something strikes, I find my recipes from Food Network (avant-garde, I know!).

Where do you go to find new reads?

Goodreads, book blogs, social media recommendations. I also follow Huffington Books. They have lists!

Tell us about your blog — the inspiration for it, why you blog, and your favorite aspects.

I’ve always been a reader. Unfortunately, no one around me reads as voraciously as I do. I was frustrated. Why can’t I talk to anyone about a book? Why do they laugh at me when they see me sniffling in a corner because of a book? I thought about joining a book club. But I’m not a social butterfly. I’m an introvert who most rather spend all her nights buried in a book. Four years ago, I found this book loving community in Goodreads. The more time I spend in there, the more I realized that there’s an alternative outlet for my thoughts.
I’ve been blogging ever since then.

What are your favorite blogs, and why?

Bookswept [ATTW] writes lovely reviews accompanied by wonderful pictures. It’s been an inspiration.
Bookshelf Porn shows pictures of the prettiest, awe-inspiring bookshelves.
A Guy’s Moleskine Notebook inspires me to write better book reviews.

Connect with Joy: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram


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