"Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" by David Shafer & Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Cookies
Besides having one of the better titles I’ve seen recently, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot also shook me of some of my biases against novels with multiple narrators. When I read them, I feel like I’m playing favorites. There’s inevitably a narrator that I just don’t click with, whose chapters I find myself reading more quickly and with less care. As soon as I settle into one character’s head, I’m jolted into the next one’s psyche.
Not so with David Shafer’s debut novel. It’s darkly funny, completely timely, and keeps the action at an even pace with the characters’ development. The book follows three narrators: Leila, a frustrated aid worker in Myanmar; Leo, an aimless but endearing trust fund kid; and Mark, an accidental self-help guru who can’t solve his own problems. For the first quarter of the book, I could not imagine any way in which their worlds would come together.
The transitions between characters’ chapters didn’t seem jarring; Shafer acts like a master juggler, keeping all the balls in the air simultaneously. I read this book everywhere — on my commute, late at night when I should have been sleeping, curled up with coffee on a weekend morning — and was always able to dive right back in. I think you’ll find yourself similarly hooked.
There are three main characters in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, who at first seem disparate but whose lives later intersect. When I began the book, I couldn't imagine how these three people could ever end up together. I made these cookies with three ingredients, all of which are different, but which make for a complex, salty-sweet final product.
DARK CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER PRETZEL COOKIES
Makes about 4 dozen cookies
- 2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, plus 2 T; all softened
- 3/4 c. granulated sugar
- 3/4 c. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 c. chopped dark chocolate (or use chips)
- 1 c. peanut butter chips
- 2 c. chopped/broken pretzels (I used the small twist kind)
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Combine flour and baking soda in a small bowl, stir. Beat butter, two sugars and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl (I used a hand mixer) until creamy. Add eggs one by one, beating well after each. Beat in the flour mixture in batches. Stir in the chocolate, peanut butter chips and crushed up pretzels (I put the pretzels under a sheet of wax paper and broke them up by smashing them with a spoon). Spoon up by the tablespoon and drop onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or slightly golden. Cool on a wire rack.