My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman: Kanelbullar


One of the internet book clubs I am a part of read Fredrik Backman’s book, My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry this month. I have a love for Backman. I have read A Man Called Ove and Us Against You and have loved them very much. He still has several others that I need to get, but so far, this one has been my favorite. Originally written in Swedish, the translation does not get in the way. Rated 4.05 stars at the time of this entry, I gave the book 5 stars.

Elsa is a little girl who has a very close relationship to her grandmother. Granny tells her fantastical stories and is quite a character. After Granny dies of cancer, she leaves essentially a scavenger hunt for Elsa. This hunt explains the fantasies her grandmother filled her head with and let her explore the intricacies of the people around her and the connections they had to her grandmother and to each other. This book had me crying at points and laughing at others. I think it’s a must read.

Though not a food related book, there are food references. And many more food references in this book than there were in Us Against You.

  • Ice cream
  • Chocolate
  • Kebab
  • Coffee
  • Cookies
  • Cinnamon buns
  • Eggs
  • Protein bars
  • Ben and Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk ice cream
  • Hamburgers
  • Salad
  • Soup
  • Sponge cake mix
  • Fresh baked bread
  • Sweet cake
  • Chocolate Cake
  • Sausages
  • Pizza
  • Mulled wine
  • Chocolate Santas
  • Veggie burgers without a tomato
  • Meringues and pasta gratin with Bearnaise sauce
  • Peanut cake
  • Creme brulees
“And then they play Monopoly and eat cinnamon buns and talk about who’d win a fight between Harry Potter and Spider-Man. Bloody pathetic discussion, of course, thinks Elsa. But Granny likes nattering on about these types of things because she’s too immature to understand that Harry Potter would have crushed Spider-Man.
Granny gets some more cinnamon buns from large paper bags under another pillow. Not that she has to hide the cinnamon buns from Elsa’s mum the way she has to hide the beer from Elsa’s mum, but she likes keeping them together because she likes eating them together. Beer and cinnamon buns is Granny’s favorite snack.”

As per the above quote, beer and cinnamon buns were Granny’s favorite snack. And since Granny is such an integral figure in this book, it only seemed appropriate to run with the cinnamon buns for this book. My stepdaughter was at our house this weekend and we have become a tradition of baking on the weekends she’s with us. We’ve done cupcakes, cookies, and now cinnamon buns. I explained to her, as I will to you, that these are not American cinnamon rolls. As you know, an American cinnamon roll is a pastry that is initially rolled into a jelly roll, sliced, and then baked. The Swedish cinnamon bun, or kanelbullar, is a pastry that is cut into strips and then tied into rolled knots and then baked. They are similar, though the kanelbullar is a lot more buttery and fluffy and does not have frosting on top.

The reason I opted for the kanelbullar as opposed to the cinnamon roll I know is because this book, written by Backman, was originally written in Swedish. I figured it was probably more likely that Granny was enjoying Swedish cinnamon buns as opposed to cinnamon rolls. Maybe I should have enjoyed it with a mug of beer.


Kanelbullar (aka Cinnamon Buns)



1 cup milk, lukewarm
1/3 cup sugar, divided
2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast (or 1 package)
3 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 egg, room temperature
5 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature


8 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp vanilla extract


1 egg
1 tbsp water
sugar, to taste



  1. Mix together the milk, 1 tbsp sugar, and the yeast in a small bowl. Let sit for 15 minutes, until frothy.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together the flour, salt, cardamom, and remaining sugar.
  3. Add the milk mixture and the egg to the dry ingredients. Mix on low for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium and mix for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the butter a little at a time, waiting until fully incorporated to add the next piece. Do this while mixing for 7 minutes.
  6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm, non-drafty area. Let the dough rise for 45 minutes to an hour to rise.


  1. Place the filling ingredients together in a bowl. Mix together with a fork,  making sure to smash the butter into the sugar and spices.
  2. Turn the dough out on a work surface sprinkled with flour. Roll the dough into a 24″x15″ rectangle.
  3. Spread the filling onto the dough rectangle, making sure to bring the filling all the way out to the edges.
  4. Fold the dough as you would a tri-fold letter. Starting on the short side, fold the dough over a third. Then fold the dough on the other side so that it slightly covers the first folded over piece. Transfer the dough to a cutting board and let sit in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  5. After 15 minutes, transfer the dough back to your work station. Roll out the dough slightly. Using a ruler and starting on the short side, cut strips of dough that are 2 centimeters wide.
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. With each strip of dough, you are going to wrap the dough around your hand several times and then bring the end over the top of the bun and under one of the loops. I realize I am not describing this clearly at all. Watch this gif from Fix Feast Flair to see the process. Place each bun on the baking sheet. Cover with plastic and let sit in a warm, non-drafty area for 30 minutes. They should rise more.
  7. Preheat the oven to 400.
  8. Combine the egg and water to make an egg wash. Brush the egg wash over each of the buns. Sprinkle with sugar.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the baking sheet.
  • Makes 12 buns

This recipe is being shared with Foodies Read


The Calligraphers Daughter by Eugenia Kim: Cucumber Kimchi


I decided it was time to read another book for the Year of The Asian Reading Challenge. I have many books of my my bookshelf written by Asian authors, so I pulled one randomly off and decided it was the next reading choice. Rated a 3.81 on goodreads at the time of this post, I rated the book 3 stars. The reason I gave it the rating I did was because I found the beginning very slow. I almost put it down several times, but when I pushed myself through it further, it did get better and I began to care more about all the characters in this story.

Set in Korea during the early twentieth-century, this historical fiction book details the life of Najin, daughter of a renowned calligrapher. Najin was raised in a very privileged lifestyle, though political upheaval between Korea and Japan disturbed her once cushy life. The story very much describes the struggle between the traditional Korean cultures that her father wishes to maintain and the more modern way Najin wishes to live her life.

There were plenty of food references in this book:

  • Fancy rice cakes
  • Broth with peas
  • Rice porridge drizzled with honey
  • Taffy and kelp chips dusted with sugar
  • Gimchi
  • Rice balls rolled into crushed sesame or red bean powder
  • Fiddlehead ferns in a tangy salad
  • Breakfast of porridge and sauteed greens
  • Dried fish
  • Buns stuffed with sweet bean paste or dates, rice cakes that were rolled in green, red, or beige pulverized peas
  • Yellow melon slices and sweet rice tea
  • Warm sugary freshly baked goods
  • Jajang sauce
  • Pancakes made of eggs, meal, chopped scallions, and squash
  • Rice, spring greens, winter radish, gimchi, mashed soybean flavored with pork belly, and egg pancakes with wild leeks
  • Pear slices
  • Sweet black bean sauce over a steaming bowl of noodles
  • Southern strawberries and apricots
  • Buckwheat noodles with garlic and hot pepper
  • Spiced anchovies on young lettuce leaves sprinkled with steamed bean sprouts with vinegar and soy sauce
  • Dried plums
  • Steamed barley and broth with tender wild leeks and tofu
  • Tiny dumplings, steamed balls of fish, rice rolled in seaweed, and a perfect persimmon
  • Cold noodle soup with chopped vegetables
  • Boiled eggs, steamed buns, and dried mackerel
  • Punch and fancy sandwiches
  • Clear soup, millet, gimchi, steamed bean sprouts, and dried fish in pepper sauce
  • Seaweed soup
  • Hot dogs, vegetables, pastries, beef and mashed potatoes with gravy
  • Country ham or fried chicken
  • Soybean soup
  • Millet with cabbage leaves on top and a shank of salted fish
  • Squash blossom soup
  • Salads of cucumber gimchi and squash pickled in chilies
  • Fish bone soup and millet

With the many mentions of gimchi, also known as kimchi, I decided that was where this book was taking me. The first time gimchi comes up in the book is when Najin realizes it’s gimchi-making season and she isn’t home to help. The last mention of it comes during a much harder time in Najin’s life – she thinks of the gimchi in a memory, of hunting for for fruit to use in salads and gimchi.

I didn’t know that kimchi considered really any Korean pickled vegetable. I have only ever had kimchi made with Napa cabbage. I thought that kimchi only referred to that. But I was wrong and learned that through this book and this cooking project. Kimchi, according to wikipedia, is any salted and Korean pickled vegetable. Since there was a specific mention to cucumber gimchi in this book, I decided that is what I would make.

It came out perfectly spicy, not too spicy for my mouth, but spicy enough to make my nose run.


Cucumber Kimchi


1 lb cucumber
1 tbsp salt
1 carrot
1 oz chives
2 tbsp chili flakes
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp grated red apple
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp minced ginger


  1. Divide each cucumber into three pieces. Then cut each third of the cucumber into four pieces. Cut lengthwise so that you have an approximately 2-inch long cucumber piece.
  2. Sprinkle the salt over the cucumber and place in a large bowl. Mix together so the salt is covering all of the cucumber. Set aside for 20 minutes.
  3. While the cucumber is sitting, julienne the carrot and chop the chives.
  4. Mix together the chili flakes, garlic, red apple, honey, fish sauce, and ginger together in a small bowl.
  5. Once 20 minutes has passed. wipe any remaining salt off of the cucumber. Transfer to a new clean bowl. Mix together with the sauce, carrots, and chives.
  6. Transfer to a glass jar with a lid. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 12 hours before eating.

This recipe is being shared with Foodies Read and The Year of the Asian Reading Challenge.


I am still on track for the Philippine tarsier badge for #YARC2019.



The Time It Snowed In Puerto Rico by Sarah McCoy: Mango Piraguas


I found a new community recently that I wanted to participate in – it’s called Eat The World. Over at Eat The World, each month, recipes are cooked from a country from somewhere on this planet. I’m crunching Eat The World together with my own reading challenges so I can participate. This month, the folks at Eat The World explored Puerto Rican cuisine.

I read The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico by Sarah McCoy for my part in this challenge. Rated 3.32 stars on goodreads, I gave it 5 stars. Sarah McCoy is also the author of The Baker’s Daughter. A gifted historical fiction writer, McCoy, in this novel, tells the story of Verdita in a coming-of-age tale. Set against the backdrop of Puerto Rico attempting to gain statehood in the ’60s, Verdita has big dreams of visiting the American mainland. She struggles with many of the same things a young girl deals with when growing up: her relationship with her parents, her idea of her own moral compass, and her experiences with sexual desires.

Though not a food heavy novel, there were enough references to work with:

  • Piraguas with passionfruit syrup
  • Cafe con leche
  • Sesame seed bars
  • Asopao soup
  • Mixta of arroz con pollo with olive oil and cilantro sofrito
  • Pan de agua
  • Dulces de ajonjoli, batata, coco-leche, and naranja
  • Sweet-and-sour chicken thighs
  • Butter sandwiches fried in pork grease
  • Fried chicken
  • Hamburguesas Americanas
  • Besitos de coco macaroons
  • Sopa de leche
  • Tamarind piragua
  • Big Boy (the restaurant)
  • Rice and beans
  • Creamy tembleque
  • Coquito
  • Pasteles and roasted pork
  • Arroz con dulce and fried plaintains
  • Oreos
  • Tostones
  • Passionfruit jelly
  • Esbeche and pickled fish
  • Chicharrones
  • Sorullo de maiz
  • Pizza
  • Peanut butter
  • Funche
  • Sweetened cornmeal

Some of this, I knew what it was. But the truth is, many I did not. I know arroz is rice. I did not know what arroz de dulce was before this. It’s essentially rice pudding. I was very satisfied with this book choice, because it really opened up a ton of possibilities of new recipes I could try. I decided that for this book, I would do something sweet. And given the book opens with piraguas and closes again with it, the choice seemed appropriate.

Piragua is a Puerto Rican shaved ice desert. It is what I think of as a snowcone. Piraguas are shaped into pyramid shapes and are covered in fruit-flavored syrups. In this book, Verdita describes the ice shavings like snow. The piraguas are in fact the snow in Puerto Rico this book title references.

This perfect summertime desert for a hot day, these mango versions brought the Puerto Rican island flavors into my desert home. I pulled out my handy and trusty and rarely tried to shape my shaved ice into little pyramids. But alas, that was trickier than I expected. And the desert heat began melting the ice whenever I touched it, so my pyramids didn’t make it standing up. But even without the pyramid shape of the ice, the treat was delicious and refreshing. I think Verdita would approve.


Mango Piraguas


Shaved ice
1 mango
2 cups sugar
2 cups water


  1. Place the mango and water into a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Combine the mango mixture with the sugar in a pot over medium heat. Simmer until the sugar has dissolved into the mango water.
  3. Allow to cool. Transfer into an airtight container and put in the fridge until all the way cooled.
  4. Shape shaved ice into a pyramid shape in a dish. Pour the syrup over the top.


Check out all the wonderful Puerto Rican dishes prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us!

April – Home Sweet Homestead: Chuletas Guisadas: Puerto Rican Stewed Pork Chops
Sue: Sofrito Rice
Sharanya Palanisshami: Marrallo
Pandemonium Noshery: Pernil – Puerto Rican Crispy Roast Pork
Simply Inspired Meals: Epcot Frozen Torched Cherry Colada
Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Empanadillas de Carne
Evelyne: Pastelon, a Puerto Rican Plantain Lasagna
Margaret at Kitchen Frau: Classic Pina Colada Recipe
Amy: Arroz con Tocino (Puerto Rican Rice with Bacon)
House of Nash Eats: Patacones or Tostones (Fried Green Plantains)
Elizabeth at Literature and Limes: Mango Piraguas
A Day in the Life on the Farm: Pinchos


I’m also sharing this recipe with Foodies Read and Weekend Cooking.

Blood Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton: Harissa Roasted Eggplant and Shrimp


I read Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton to participate in the June/July event at Cook The Books. Gabrielle Hamilton is a chef who owns the restaurant Prune in NYC. This book was rated 3.73 stars on goodreads at the time I made this post. I rated it 2 stars.

Hamilton’s book is a disjointed memoir. She brings us through her life and references food throughout, from childhood to adolescence to adulthood – showing us how she became the chef she is today. I have no doubt that Hamilton is a great chef. I did not think she was a great writer. While I am always intrigued in learning about a person, learning how they tick, Hamilton did a poor job getting me to care at all about her story. Parts seemed out of order. Other parts involved huge sidetracks. And truthfully, I found Hamilton irritating.

What the book does have though are food references:

  • Spring lamb roast
  • Dark, briny, wrinkled olives, small birds we would have liked as pets, and cheeses that might well bear Leginnaire-disease
  • Salade nicoise and soup vicyssoise
  • Lime bean salad and the asparagus vinaigrette and the all-butter shortcakes
  • Choux paste eclair swans
  • Pomegranates, pistachios
  • Spiced wine and pigeon pies
  • Yellow peaches and apples
  • Sausages
  • Fresh peas
  • Chocolate-covered graham crackers
  • Italian meat hoagies
  • Tastykake iced fruit pie
  • Sweet Italian sausage sandwich
  • Lime bean and mushroom salad with red onion and oregano
  • Cornicons and hard salami and radishes
  • Pasitsio and moussaka
  • Shirley Temples
  • Pop-tars and frozen French bread pizza
  • Tangerines with preserved lemons and cardamom pods
  • Leftover ratatoulle
  • Sardines on Triscuits with sliced shallots and mayonnaise
  • Dijon mustard and milk over chicken breast
  • Gorgeous tall cakes
  • Seafood chimichanga
  • Egg-on-a-roll sandwich
  • Chili and chili burgers and beer
  • Stir-fry and tempeh and tofu
  • Eggs and hashbrowns
  • Hamburger patties and turkey club sandwiches
  • Scrapple, souse, double-yolk eggs, and funnel cake
  • Buche de noel, studded with perfect meringue mushrooms
  • Rosemary aioli, harissa hummus, white bean puree
  • Smoked salmon and cream cheese pinwheel
  • Bruschetta
  • Hors d’oeuvres shooters
  • Grilled salmon filet on a bed of leek compote with preserved lemon relish
  • Mini-muffins, mini-scones, and mini-quiches
  • White Russians
  • Goat cheese in phyllo dough purses
  • Jerk marinade
  • Corn and beans and mashed potatoes
  • Lentils and lamb leg and fennel salad and roasted cherry tomatoes with bread crumbs
  • Plain spaghetti and plain chicken
  • Tater tots and baked chicken
  • Stinky Vietnamese fish sauce for vegetarian spring rolls
  • Chilled mussels on the half shell with vinaigrette
  • Boney duck wings coated in toasted sesame seeds with curly bitter endive
  • Cold poached sea bass
  • Butterflied and grilled lobsters basted with smoked paprika butter
  • Malted date and a scoop of sweet cream ice cream
  • Bowl of micro-greens lightly dressed with aged balsamic and garnished with toasted pumpkin seeds and roasted apricots
  • Baby artichoke ragout
  • Cerviche and Israeli couscous and mushroom duxelle and robbiola cheese
  • Cold smoked chicken in apricot glaze and sirloin strips in molasses black pepper sauce
  • Miniature ham-on-cheddar biscuits
  • Duck proscuitto
  • Filet mignon with horseradish cream and super chunky brownies
  • Pounded veal breast with a blueberry-Frangelico sauce topped with prosciutto, Parmesan, and pine nuts
  • Pho, lemongrass ice cream, macadamia nut tartlets with lime curds, cocnut creams, and passion fruit syrups
  • Shrimp club sandwich on chipotle challah
  • Posole
  • Pumpernickel bread
  • Crepes
  • Italian wedding soup
  • Eggs benedict
  • Sour cream and caraway omelettes
  • Onion tart
  • Pot roast
  • Rye cracker omelette with fried duck skin
  • Rabbit legs in vinegar sauce
  • Beautiful ravioli
  • Prosciutto and arugula sandwiches
  • Negroni
  • Roasted chicken with garlic and rosemary and Dijon mustard and lemons
  • Biscotti
  • Orecchiette and minchiareddhi
  • Red gelatin with whipped cream
  • Tortellini with prosciutto and butter
  • Stuffed and baked tomatoes, cooked with turkey leg with oranges
  • Mortadella sandwich
  • Fried eggplant and boiled beans and boiled zucchini and giuncata cheese
  • Grilled whole fish stuffed with fennel fronds
  • Mozzarella pizza
  • Fried bechamel
  • Peanut butter sandwich
  • CUrried goat
  • Broccoli rabe with pepperoncini and braised rabbit
  • Lobster roll
  • Mojitos
  • Ocotpus with potatoes and onions and a few chilis
  • Eggplant roasted with harissa and caraway. Eggplant smoked with garlic and lemon and parsley. Eggplant fried with eggs and bread crumbs. Eggplant quickly pickled in red wine vinegar and green onions.

The only part of the book I really enjoyed was the part where Gabrielle spends time in Italy with her now ex-husband’s family. Every summer Gabrielle, her husband, and their children go to Italy to see her husband’s family. He was born and raised there, so there is a lot of family in the area. They stay with his mother. It is the only part of the book where I felt any sort of spark or any sort of excitement or any true sense of emotion from the author.

During one of Gabrielle’s Italian trips, she takes the lead in cooking. Alda, her mother-in-law, has gotten old and frail. So Gabrielle takes it on herself to feed the family. She goes to the local market square and is disappointed that the only thing she can find is eggplant. She makes tons of different eggplant varieties, from roasted to fried to pickled and smoked. I decided to make something inspired by the eggplant with harissa and caraway she described. And I added shrimp, to make it a full meal. I served it over cauliflower rice. Perfect and keto.

IMG_1803.JPGHarissa Roasted Eggplant and Shrimp


1 large eggplant, cut into 1 inch chunks
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbsp harissa
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp salt
12 oz shrimp, deveined and shelled
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped mint


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, harissa, 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin, and half the salt. Pour it on top of the eggplant and toss together. Spread on a baking sheet so they do not overlap.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes.
  4. Combine the shrimp, lemon zest, 1/2 tsp cumin, the remaining salt, and pepper. Spread on another baking sheet.
  5. After 20 minutes, turn the eggplant 180 degrees. Place the shrimp in the oven also. Bake for 7 minutes.
  6. Remove the eggplant and the shrimp. Toss together in a bowl with the lemon juice and mint.

Serves 4.

Besides Cook The Books, I’m also sharing this with Foodies Read.

Buttermilk Graffiti by Edward Lee: Keto Jagerschnitzel

That last book got me off my game. I told you I rated it a 1. And then it got hard to get back into the swing of reading. I was reading Buttermilk Graffiti for Cook The Books Club, but I missed the due date by 2 weeks. Great work! But between this book and the Emily Giffin book I just finished (probably coming tomorrow), I am back! Rated a 4.03 on goodreads, I gave the book 4 stars. 

Edward Lee is a famous chef. He has published the cookbook Smoke and Pickles, which I need to pick up for myself. Lee is of Korean heritage, born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He currently lives in Kentucky and finds way to blend the food that reminds him of his youth with southern flavors.

Buttermilk Graffiti is not a cookbook, though it does include some recipes. It is a story about what Edward Lee has learned about the food of America, the immigrants that brought certain flavors to certain places, and the combinations of cultures. I usually make a list of all of the food in a cookbook, but I won’t be doing that in this post – there is food mentioned in nearly every paragraph. But he includes recipes for:

  • Beignets
  • Amok Trey
  • Pork Lab with Fried Egg on Popcorn Bread
  • Lagman Soup 
  • Russian Pickled Watermelon
  • Lamb Arayes
  • Hummus
  • Mango Fries
  • Chicken “Vaca Frita” with Coconut Rice and Mojo Sauce
  • Slaw Dogs
  • Fried Pork Chops with Miso Creamed Corn and Pickle Juice Gravy
  • Cabbage Rolls
  • Beef Tartare-Stuffed Deviled Eggs with Caviar 
  • Octopus Stir Fry
  • Salt-Roasted Sweet Potatoes 
  • Seared Beef Rib Eye with Prunes, Almonds, and Bourbon Washed Butter
  • Budae Jjigae with Fried Bologna
  • Pickled Salmon
  • Vietnamese Crepes 
  • Bourbon Nuoc Cham-Roasted Oysters
  • Pollo A La Brasa
  • Green Fried Rice with Chicken, Cilantro, and Aji Sauce
  • Beef Skewers with Cashews, Curry, and Black Pepper
  • Spicy Tomato Braised Chicken with Turmeric and Cashew
  • Hasenpfeffer
  • Roast Butternut Squash Schnitzel
  • Beef Tongue Pastrami
  • Beef Tongue Sandwich
  • Lacy Cornbread with Rhubarb Jam

The chapter called German Mustard really spoke to me on a personal level. Lee contemplates why there hasn’t been more of an abundance of German-inspired cuisine in the US. There are several reasons he points out: 

  1. Americans see the food as unappetizing.
  2. The food requires an “ambassador” to introduce it to America. 
  3. German food never recovered from the negative perceptions of Germans during WWII.
  4. We’ve already appropriated German food through sausage, pretzels, etc. 
  5. There has not been a large German immigration into the US in years.

I don’t know why German food isn’t more known in the US. My favorite restaurant growing up was a schnitzel restaurant in San Francisco. It was eventually bought and unfortunately the flavors from the new owners didn’t compare to the food I had loved. But I did spend my 21st birthday there with my family. I had a big beer and a weinerschnitzel. 

My mom was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is full German by blood, but our family has been in America since the mid-1800s. My grandpa was raised on a farm in Wisconsin where they exclusively spoke German in the home. When my grandpa moved out of the house he joined the military during WWII and stopped speaking German. He did not teach it to anyone in the family. My grandmother’s family did not speak German at all either, though I’m unsure when they dropped the language and switched to English exclusively. 

This chapter spoke to me, because I got it. My maternal side of the family may not identify as being German anymore, but there is still a lot of German influence in the food and in the culture. German flavors make me feel like home. My grandma made German food. My mom made German food. I make German food. It’s the food that reminds me of home.

But like Lee shows throughout his book, sometimes cultures combine and bring changes to the food. As he shared a squash schnitzel, I made a schnitzel I can eat with my diet. Pork rinds provide a great crunchy breading to a keto breaded meat. This schnitzel may not be exactly what I ate as a child, but the flavors are all there.


Keto Jagerschnitzel


4 pork chops
1 egg
1 tbsp heavy cream
4 oz crushed pork rinds
1 packet gelatin
1 cup beef broth
2 tbsp butter
3 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
7 oz mushrooms
3 cloves shallots
3 garlic cloves
2 tbsp white wine
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Whisk the egg and heavy cream together. 
  3. Pound your pork chop so it’s very thin. Dredge the pork chop in the egg and then coat with the crushed pork rinds.
  4. Bake the pork chop for 24 minutes, flipping half way through.
  5. While the pork chops are cooking, work on the sauce. Place the gelatin and beef broth together in a bowl and set aside.
  6. Melt 1 tbsp butter in a skillet and add the bacon. Cook for 3 minutes. 
  7. Add the mushrooms and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
  8. Add the remaining butter and the shallots and cook until the shallots are tender, about 3 minutes.
  9. Add the garlic, white wine, and lemon juice and cook until the sauce is as thick as you’d like.
  10. Remove the pork chops from the oven and place the sauce on top.

Serves 4.

This recipe is being shared with Foodies Read, Novel Food, and Year of the Asian Reading Challenge. 

I am still on track for the Philippine tarsier badge for #YARC2019.



I Owe You Own by Sophie Kinsella: Margaritas

As of the date of this post, I Owe You One by Sophia Kinsella is rated 3.57 stars on goodreads. I confess, I only rated it 1 star out of 5. This book falls outside of my general comfort zone of books and was read because of an online book club I’m a part of. Usually the books chosen are way more in my wheelhouse. I had read Kinsella in the past and was hopeful, because I found her quite hilarious in The Undomesticated Goddess. I don’t know how she dropped the ball so hard, but I really really disliked this book.

Fixie Farr is a fixer as she is nicknamed. When there’s something wrong, she must fix it, even to her own detriment. Fixie, along with every other character in this book, has fatal character flaws that make them frankly all around unlikable. Fixie just annoyed me. Everything she did was just frankly, stupid. While at the beginning of the book I was cheering for her, midway through I wanted to drop her. She’s not someone I would socialize with. She just seems difficult, as does everyone in this book.

The best way to handle a book I dislike is to get drunk, yeah? But there was some other food mentioned in the book as well:

  • Olive oils
  • Flaky pastries
  • Sausage rolls, waldorf salad, apple pie
  • Mint tea
  • Coffee and cookie
  • Double chocolate chip muffin
  • Cupcakes
  • Pomegranate salad dressing
  • Rissotto
  • Profitoroles
  • Japanese food
  • Steak
  • Bolognese
  • Seafood and sangria
  • Swiss rolls
  • Jams and jellies
  • Victoria sponge and carrot cake
  • Lamb hot pot
  • Limy cocktails
  • Christmas cake
  • Gingerbread house
  • Hot chocolate
  • Linguine with clams
  • Pancakes, waffles, and toast
  • Panini
  • Homemade fudge
  • Rich tea biscuit
  • Lamb casserole

Like I said, the only way to cope with Fixie Farr is through alcohol. Fixie finds herself at a cocktail party with her brother and other pretentious folks, gulping down limy cocktails, when she bumps into Seb. Just for a quick rundown, Seb is the man who owes Fixie one after she saves his laptop from impending waterlogged doom at a coffee shop. She gets super drunk while gulping these cocktails, something I wish I was when I read this book. I’m on number three now.

And you know what? I didn’t even make a margarita from scratch. I bought a mix and poured the tequila in, because that’s about as much effort I was willing to put into this book.

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The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman: Honey Fig and Brie Ice Cream

Currently rated 4.12 stars on goodreads, I received a digital copy of this book (hence no picture of my food with the book) from firsttoread, which sadly will be defunct in July. I was asked to give an honest review of this book, which comes out in July 2019. I rated it 4 out of 5 stars.

This book was a light read and quite humorous and enjoyable. Nina Hill is a bookworm. She loves to read, she loves trivia, and she loves her cat. Her very predictable life is tossed about when she meets family she never knew existed and begins a relationship with a man she had no intention of dating initially. Nina has to learn to break away from her books a bit and push herself into sometimes uncomfortable dealings for the sake of making these new relationships work.

Food mentioned in this book included:

  • Pickles
  • Prickly pear soda
  • Popcorn and hot chocolate with mini marshmallows
  • Gluten-free bran muffins and chocolate croissants
  • Cake pops
  • Pesto panini
  • Lattes and chocolate eclairs
  • Croque madame
  • Broccoli
  • Juice
  • Hot dogs
  • Pistachios
  • Moons over my hammy and chicken and waffles
  • A salad from Chipotle
  • Lamb burgers with fresh mint
  • Pomegranate salad dressing
  • Chicken and canapes
  • Pocky
  • Picnic baskets of bread rolls and cheese and enormous bars of chocolate
  • Salted peanut butter with chocolate flecks ice cream
  • Blackberry crisp ice cream
  • Cotton candy, sno-cones, hot dog on a stick
  • Soup
  • Cinnamon raisin bagels
  • Banana bread
  • Cardamom, fig, and brie ice cream

I chose to make the last food that made its way into the story line. A massive food fight erupts over the closing of the beloved bookstore that Nina works at. A protester throws a ball of cardamom, fig, and brie ice cream and hits someone. Lemon juice and cayenne is sprayed about. More ice cream is thrown. Cupcakes are thrown. And then the cops shut the food fight down.

Justin wasn’t thrilled by me putting cheese in the ice cream. But it did add a nice savory dimension to a sweet treat. I really liked the addition, though I promised him I wouldn’t always add cheese to ice cream.

Honey Fig and Brie Ice Cream


2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup honey
3 oz brie, cut into cubes
1/2 cup fig jam


  1. In a sauce pan over medium heat, stir together the heavy cream, milk, and honey. Heat until the liquid is steaming, but do not let it boil.
  2. Remove from heat and add the cheese. Mix together and press the cheese pieces on the sides of the sauce pan to help it melt.
  3. Chill overnight in the refrigerator.
  4. Follow your ice cream maker instructions to churn the ice cream. In the KitchenAid I mixed it on setting 1 for 20 minutes.
  5. 30 seconds before your ice cream is complete, add the fig jam to the mixture.
  6. Remove from the ice cream mixture and freeze until firm.

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