When I was a child, we ate dinner together nearly every night. I did not necessarily love the whole ritual, especially when my mother made hamburger pie, covered with mashed potatoes, or when I was in trouble for one thing or another (which was a lot), but I can see from the angle that it was a good thing. Our kitchen was large and we ate there, gathered around the white melamine table with its painted edging of lacy gold leaves. We had assigned seats, mainly because my sister Merry is left-handed, but also because there was sometimes a scuffle over …
Raisin Nut Bread, made from a pate Viennoise starter, a little rye flour, and the liquide levain I’ve been working and working with. I also soaked the raisins in orange juice and a little bit of vanilla. Isn’t it beautiful? I know what I’ll be eating for breakfast tomorrow!
THE SECRET OF EVERYTHING is out today! To celebrate, a love song to breakfast.
PANCAKE KISSES, BACON HUGS
Why breakfast is the secret of everything
I suppose I should confess upfront that I am a morning person. I wake up cheery, chatty and at the very first fingers of sunlight creeping over the horizon. I know you find this annoying. I know you wish I’d stop humming under my breath as I crack eggs and start the coffee, but I can’t help it. I was born a singing lark. This does, however, offer benefits to all you blinking owls and sleepy headed in-betweens.
Once upon a time, I had …
12 days until the release of THE SECRET OF EVERYTHING (Tuesday, December 29), and to celebrate, here is another little giveaway.
The Secret of Everything is centered in a little town that has, quite by accident, become a center of food culture. One of the characters in the book is 8-year-old Natalie, who is very particular about food, but not in a traditionally child-like way. Natalie reveresfood–the flavors and smells, the combinations and the colors–and she hates it that hardly anyone takes her passion seriously. She is working her way, one menu item at a time, through the menu at The 100 Breakfasts Cafe (including the eggs Benedict and huevos rancheros, thankyouverymuch), and she has a passion for salt, and that passion weaves a thread throughout the story. Below is an excerpt to introduce you to one of my favorite characters ever, but first, the giveaway.
In the comments, post a story about a favorite food from your own childhood. Next Wednesday, I’ll choose a name and send you a Salt Sampler Collection that includes some of Natalie’s favorites, including Himalayan Pink Salt (pictured left), Fleur de Sel de Guérande, red Alaea Hawaiian, and two others. It was inspirational and delightful to explore the textures and flavors of these salts for the book, and I know some of you will enjoy it, too. (And I know we will enjoy your food stories, too!)
EXCERPT, from THE SECRET OF EVERYTHING, by Barbara O’Neal :
Before Natalie’s dad had to work on Saturday, rescuing somebody who wasn’t supposed to be climbing on the rocks anyway, they were all suppose to go on a picnic. Instead, they got stuck at Grandma’s, eating fish sticks and ketchup, and now they were going on a picnic today and it was hot, hot, hot.
Natalie sat in the shade beneath the tree in the plaza, holding her sister Hannah’s hand, waiting for her dad to come out of the drugstore with sunscreen. They had to walk to the lake, naturally, because nobody could ever just drive anywhere around here. Already her skin was prickly down her back. Her grandma said she should wear a hat, but Natalie just did not see how that would make a person cooler.
She would rather stay right here in the shade all day and read a book. Climb up into the tree, maybe, and then come down later and go into Le Fleur de Mer and look at salts from the Dead Sea, which she imagined was probably a desert, all glittery in the sunshine like diamonds even though it was big crystals of gray salt. The lady in there didn’t like Natalie to come in by herself, she said it was nothing that would interest a child, but she didn’t know Natalie. Or that she had her own salt cellar and was just waiting to find the right salt to put in it.
THE SECRET OF EVERYTHING will be out in 27 26 days! Reader feedback so far has been extraordinary (check out the comments at GoodReads.com), and I’m very excited for everyone to read Tessa’s story.
To celebrate, I’ll offering a some little contests and giveaways over the next few weeks. This is the first one. I am giving away FOUR free ARCs of THE SECRET OF EVERYTHING. As soon as I draw names, I’ll run to the post office and mail them out, so you will have it by next Friday.
Technically, I suppose, apple butter is smooth. I originally made this recipe last winter and pureed it afterward. Since, however, my main use for this particular condiment is in my morning oatmeal, I have found I much prefer it to be left chunky. Recipe is adapted from one I found at The Art of Homemaking.