Monthly Archives: April 2012
WAITING: The True Confessions of a Waitress by Debra Ginsberg is a fun read. If you enjoyed books such as Waiter Rant and Kitchen Confidential, this is in a similar style. It’s a memoir, it has good stories and graphic portrayals of customers and wait staff at their very worst. Interpersonal relationships are examined and you will find (to some folk’s horror) the things which happen in the kitchen behind the scenes are really, really things you hope are products of her creative license.
It’s funny, there are also sad parts and I guarantee you will never dine in a fine establishment again without scrutinizing the food and craning for a glimpse of the kitchen if it’s a possibility. The detail is great and you can visualize the scenes in the restaurants, you can see her trying to get that cork out of the wine bottle, feel the frustration, take in the scene as a table of customers keep her running just because they can.
From this book I made a vermicelli dish with olive-oiled sauteed vegetables. See that at Squirrel Head manor.
I am placing this review on Goodreads
Mr. Willy Wonka, the eccentric owner of the greatest chocolate factory in the world, has decided to open the doors of his factory to five lucky children and their parents. In order to choose who will enter the factory, Mr. Wonka has five golden tickets hidden inside the wrappers of five of his famous chocolate bars.
The newspapers descend on each of the winners of the golden tickets. Augustus Gloop, a fat child whose only hobby is eating, gets the first ticket.
The second ticket is “won” by Veruca Salt. Veruca is a spoiled obnoxious child and is only in possession of one of the winning tickets because her rich father employed his factory of peanut shellers to unwrap chocolate bars until they found a ticket. That’s not very fair, is it?
Third ticket is discovered by Violet Beauregarde as she takes a break from gum chewing. She is trying to set a world record for gum chewing – lofty goal indeed.
Ticket #4 belongs to Mike Teavee, a boy who is obsessed with television. Get the play on words with his last name? Teavee = TV
The last ticket is found just the day before the tour of the chocolate factory is scheduled and it’s found by our unlikely hero – Charlie Bucket. Charlie is very poor and he lives in a drafty shack with his parents and both sets of grandparents. . There are just two rooms and the grandparents share the only bed while Charlie and his parents sleep on mattresses on the floor. They barely have enough food to fed the lot of them and then, Charlie’s father loses his job. It looks as if they will starve to death.
Fortuitously, Charlie finds a dollar one day, just sitting near the roadside in the snow. To celebrate his good fortune he purchases two chocolate bars. The same sort he gets once a year on his birthday. In the second chocolate bar he finds the last golden ticket. The very next day the five children, accompanied by their parents and Charlie accompanied by his grandfather, line up at the gates of the factory. There is much fanfare over these children getting a tour of the factory as no one has been inside for many many years.
As all the children except Charlie are insufferable brats and never listen to anyone’s instructions – thus..they suffer appropriate consequences to their poor behavior. I enjoyed that very much. The Oompa-Loompas would sing songs about each spoiled child as each suffered their punishments, noting in song all the shortcomings of their behavior. How awesome is that!
Near the end of the book all four of the bad children are sent home and Charlie “wins” the tour. A great prize it is too as what he’s won is ownership of Willie Wonka’s factory.
My Cook the Book’s submission is posted with recipe and photos at Squirrel Head Manor as well as Goodreads.
The story teller here is Sophie Applebaum. First chapter starts with 12 year old Sophie describing her experience going to a bat mitzvah for the “perfect” Rebecca who is a friend of the family. You learn Sophie has with two brothers, a father who is a judge by profession and a mother who worries about what other people think. You start to get the character development and personalities of the brothers and parents right away.
It’s not an extraordinary coming of age story but an honest depiction of this family unit and how they interact with one another for years. The book starts when Sophie is 12 and by the time it’s ended, I am guessing she is about 37+/- It’s not gooey chick-lit. It’s not a romance. Nor is it drama. Some of the scenes with her brothers are described in realistic detail. Their conversations are peppered with teasing, loyalty and concern which many siblings go through in their adult relationships with one another. Not riveting but believable…..and that’s what kept me reading this book. It was believable.
There are a few chapters in which you get a more intimate glimpse of what’s going on in her mother’s head. Things you don’t want to think about with your own mother. There is a close friendship which is left by the wayside, a casualty of adult jealousy regarding a man. Scenarios which are not dynamic but things that actually happen to some of us.
In my opinion it ends rather abruptly but I came away with the impression Sophie finally realized she doesn’t always need to be on the hunt for the perfect mate. Life is what it is. It’s rarely the exciting car-chase, romance of a century, families coming together in perfect harmony experiences. It just isn’t.
I enjoyed it and I would certainly read more by Melissa Bank.
Basic plain food came to mind when she described any meals she shared with her family and boyfriends. So…pork chops baked with caramelized onions and sage. I have made this before and I will direct you to my original post for the recipe at Squirrel Head Manor HERE
Game of Thrones is the first book in George R. R. Martin’s Fire and Ice series.
It’s a mixture of fantasy, mystery, sword fighting, romance and battles. You can’t compare it to Lord of the Rings but the storylines are just as epic. There are decades long summers and the approaching winter (which some of the younger characters have never experienced) will last decades. The title “game of thrones” is mentioned quite a few times within the book as you read about the kings, queens and knights who are battling to control and be monarchs. I really like how each chapter starts with a character and you read about things from their point of view.
My favorite characters are Arya and Eddard. When Lord Stark of Winterfell accepts the offer to become the King’s hand and heads south, no amount of honesty and heroics and keep things from going way out of control.
This is such a good book that I don’t want to put any spoilers up here if you have not read it. I have been studiously avoiding reading reviews or talking to anyone who may give away any of the plot. There are surprises to be sure.
A roasted bird is mentioned more than once in this book. You never, ever, need to twist my arm for a roasted chicken meal so…….perfect choice.
I am linking this to Library Thing and Goodreads.
Game of Thrones on HBO (I have not viewed the series yet but have heard it’s amazing)