Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the tag “food”

And Now For Something Different in Playing Tag…

SFarnell tagged me and I’m both perplexed and delighted about it. I know that reading is right up there with feeding the mind and soul, yet I hadn’t quite made the connection that books can be considered food. The idea of this book tag is match a book to a pastry delicacy. That’s the delighted part. The perplexed part is that I am not much of a pastry foodie and only know a couple of the menu selections. Well, let’s just give it a whirl, anyway, shall we?

Here are the delicacies I do not know, so it’s hard to relate a book to something I’ve not actually tasted and so I will offer a possibility with no extra description (I would appreciate enlightenment of what these pastry treats are all about!):

Vol-au-vent: Name a book that you thought would be amazing but fell flat
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Pain au chocolat: Name a book that you thought would be one thing but turned out to be something else
I perked up at chocolat, but I am unsure how anything with chocolate in it can be anything else but tasty

Profiterole: Name a book or series that doesn’t get enough attention.
Quite clueless on this one, though I will offer the Thursday Next books by Jasper Fforde. They are hysterical.

Croquembouche: Name a book or series that’s extremely complex.
Pleading clueless once again as to the pastry–maybe C.S. Lewis’ Perelanda series? Lots of allegory going on.

Napoleon: Name a movie or TV show based off a book that you liked better than the book itself.
Oh my, I need to get out more. Napoleon had a pastry named after him? Umm, I did find the movie version of The African Queen to be much more satisfying in its conclusion. Plus I’m a Bogey and Katie Hepburn fan.

Empanada: Name a book that was bittersweet.
Finally one I’ve heard of, but mine wasn’t bittersweet. I would nominate just about any Dickens novel for this.

Kolompeh: Name a book or series that takes place somewhere other than your home country.
I can’t even pronounce it! How about Anne of Green Gables–love just about anything that’s British in setting.

Pate a Choux: Name one food from a book or series that you would like to try.
Nope, not trying anything that sounds like pate (I know what it’s made out of–thank you very much).

These I know! and can easily match them up to books.

Croissant: Name a popular book or series that everyone (including you) loves.

53367The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

I didn’t discover this series until high school and I simply devoured it. Having become a devoted fan of the books, I was thrilled when a new adaptation came out (not the old BBC puppety try, thank you) I loved the first movie, and was sad when they stopped at only the third installment. Lewis presents such a grounded, yet fantasyic tale of magic and allegory. I can’t wait to introduce the books to my grandkiddo. This series seems to be part of most everyone’s childhood.

Macaroon: Name a book that was hard to get through but worth it at the end.


Henry James is not my favorite author, due to his long descriptions and the over-the-top drama that the heroines face. Truthfully, I only read the novel because it was on the AP Literature list and I had inherited 90 copies of them from the former teacher, so I wanted to see if I would offer it in class. I shall not. Was it worth it? I stuck with it only because I hoped she would show some gumption and stand up for herself. No spoilers. You’ll have to find out for yourself.

Now I will tag the following five bloggers whom I believe will have fun with this venture into delicacies and reading:

Jilanne Hoffmann

Vanessa-Jane Chapman

Britt Skrabanek


Sarah Loudin Thomas

Now, I’m not sure what happens from here…read, eat, tag?

No obligations to partake, yet, if you happen to be able to describe these pastry wonderfuls to me, I would be both enlightened and appreciative.

Road Trip Reflections

It’s been about a week since I’ve been back from my Road Trip. Along the way I jotted notes and here’s what I came up with:

Reader Board: “without ice cream all would be darkness and chaos”

Rest stop bathroom poster: “no one should force you to work”–immigrant worker rights poster

Parking lot: one legged-seagull and a choir of grackles.

Dairy Queen: girl to grandpa–“how do they get the swirl on top of cone?”

Wireless Connect Option:
Drunkengiantgrogshop; dishonestdon–what neighborhood have I stopped in?

Window Shopping: seen on bib–“these fools have turned my super cape backwards.”

Coffee Shoppe: eclectic chairs and tables, tall ceilings, bookcase of children’s books, windowed playroom with dress up clothes, chalkboard walls, train set, kitchenette hutch. A brood of children frolicking while moms and dads read, deviced, paperworked. Lovely chocolate chip cookies too.

At the park: full out barbeques and families on a Saturday night


Any guesses what this deliciousness might be? Oooh, yummers. Dark chocolate wrapped around cheesecake with raspberry crème garnish sauce. Note the in-house signature chocolates decorating the sides. Caloric penance.

At the restaurant: a dessert so beautiful I actually took a photo

In the parking lot: grated fern, a statement of deeper naturalism versus industrialism that Keats, Byron, or any of the Romanticist poets would have found poignant.

Trapped Fern

This can be viewed as either a poignant expression of nature being trapped by encroaching society or how nature finds a way to bloom amidst the trappings of industrialization. Or–isn’t that weirdly cool?

On the highway: no way, amazing, sleek as a Woolworth counter grilled cheese sandwich on a pastel Bakelite plate, a blast from the past–an actual Greyhound bus sporting a “hundred years” sticker to boot.

image: What are your memories of Greyhound?

In the motel room: white noise box with ocean waves, complete with seagulls scree; forest dawn, crickets and birds quite charming,; rain pattering, too close to home; fan, buzzy hum. A novelty never before encountered and even available for purchase. Tried it on first night and grandkiddo, the one who needs a minimum of two-three books, some conversation, and a bit of snuggling was out within two minutes of being lulled by waves.

Return home: a road trip is not complete without road construction delay. At one section the two lane highway is down to one lane and nobody is moving. Not no way. Not no how. Behind a little red car which is behind a huge white truck, yet from strained sneak peeks the road looks clear ahead. The MEPA is quietly muttering for  the car ahead to edge around truck. Finally it does, and like a cork popping from a bottle, traffic started flowing again. The problem? The exit ramp so full it flowed onto road. No flagger directing traffic, construction crew absolutely  clueless to havoc below on highway.

Dinner stop: connection with youngest progeny for dinner. Roadside grazing produces guilt to eat lightly–salad bar. Yet when it’s $12.00 though all one can eat, I strive to get my  monetary satisfaction. It is possible to overdose on greenery, especially when artichoke hearts and curried chicken salad are involved.

Rolling in late to home some 6 hours later than the Google Maps prediction: truly there is no place like home


Summer Read n Eat Poetry

Food and summer.  Yup.

Besides barbecue, picnics, reunions, vacation binges, craft fair nibbling, beach concession splurges and the like, there is also food found in our reading.  Take poems, for example.

This is just to say by William Carlos Williams

Watermelons by Charles Simic

Peach Blossoms by Carl Sandburg

A Ballad of Nursery Rhyme by Robert Graves

Orchard by Hilda Doolittle

Plums, watermelons, berries, peaches, oh my. Time to browse the Farmer’s Market!

For more summer foodie poems try this delightful site: TasteArt

Trying the Tryptophan Diet (Photo credit: biggraham)

Post turkey day and after storing the leftovers in the fridg no one better better say, “Is there anything to eat?” I am learning that less is more as we get older.  By making less to eat at Thanksgiving there is more satisfaction and much more contentment.  It’s tradition to make my apple-custard pie and pumpkin pie. Who is the one eating it? Moi. The scale is snickering at how much weight I have regained since Wednesday.  Phooey.  The tryptophan diet isn’t for me, after all.

You see turkey contains tryptophan, which is what makes us sleepy after the big T-Day meal.  However, according to that isn’t entirely true.  I was hoping if I ate enough turkey I would fall into a long, deep sleep and when I woke up the pie, mashed potato casserole, stuffing and all the other holiday caloric wonderments would be consumed so I wouldn’t eat them. However, I have learned that pumpkin pie is healthy for you.  Good.  Now, I don’t feel so guilty for having it for breakfast.  Wait–doesn’t healthy mean low calorie?

On a more positive note of gain is my NaNo novel.  I am now at 44,000 words with a week to go.  I think I’m going to make it.  Vera needs to get serious and start her own NaNo novel instead of procrastinating and watching movies with Simone.

I so enjoyed having Friday off; it’s like having a double Saturday.  Instead of Black Friday shopping I picked up two more books at the library and a stack of movies.  No lesson planning tonight.  Just my tryptophan hangover and a relaxing evening ahead.

Pumpkin pie, from

Pumpkin pie, from Scrumptious and good for you! Pumpkin pie is loaded with a healthful phytonutrient called beta-carotene. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Die(t) Trying

Once upon a time, wasn’t really that long ago, there lived a woman who possessed  a healthy, if not robust appetite.  This robust appetite possessing woman could match pizza slices bite for bite with high school dates, defied the fatal fifteen during college days, and prevailed flabby Mum Tum after baby days; however, once our heroine entered the dratted, scurrilous midlife sector, weight gain became a nuisance.

For instance, our once quick metabolism inclined heroine found out the following:

1.  Thinking about cheesecake earned .5 lb on the scaleometer.

2.  Eating two bites of actual cheesecake added a full 1.5 lbs–sans any topping.

3.  The expression, “if I ate that slice of cake I might as well apply it to my hips” suddenly had real meaning, and actuality

4.  The rule of consuming calories in relationship to burning them became a science rather than a magazine article to simply pass over for something more interesting

5.  bikinis are not meant to be worn outside the confines of the backyard

Our heroine also found an increased interest in “success” stories that graced pages of national magazines and bestsellers.  An almost morbid fascination and momentary inspiration to also obtain “results not usual” would overcome her desires for Haagen-Daz, Dove Bars, and cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing.  That is, they would be tackled momentarily.

The truth, our heroine discovered, is that once born with the propensity to eat quantity, albeit not always quality, and not suffer for it, is a beastly habit to break.  Skinny jeans and crop tops were not initially the chief incentive.  It was the pursuit of gravity defiance that finally convinced said heroine to act responsibility towards food intake, because she noticed over the years body mass had begun sliding at an appalling rate.  Our heroine calculated at the rate of weight slide she would be the owner of hefty ankles by the time she reached retirement if the midsection weight slide were any indication of the future.

Hence, the DIET BOOK phase entered her life.  She would indeed enact the age-old saying, “Die(t) trying to lose weight.”

Books and magazine article began to lay about the house; yet, as these pound-shedding puntives increased in propensity in the library bag, the desired effects of weight dropping did not transpire on the bathroom scale.  This produced “major bummer syndrome” resulting in “what the flip?” rhetorical countersuit and freelance calorie consumption.  Midlife is not for sissies.

Studio publicity portrait of the American actr...

Studio publicity portrait of the American actress Elizabeth Taylor. Français : Portrait publicitaire pris en studio de l’actrice américaine Elizabeth Taylor. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is no totally happy ending for our heroine.  She has not dropped the desired twenty pounds (a compromise weight); however, she is much more wise in terms of menu and choice.  After all, it is a well-known fact that Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor were curvaceous and not svelte with power abs.  There is something to be said for padding.  The heroine learned to say sagaciously, “Why yes, I’ll have the sorbet, and could I have a box, please.”

Our heroine recommends the following diet books–not so much for the results attained, rather because the before and after photos of those who have actually adhered to the content’s regimes are impressive, and have proved useful in terms of thinking about exercise and caloric abstinence with more serious thought:

Sufficient Grace

Sufficient Grace by Darnell Arnoult

Listening to the voices in her head Gracie Hollman takes off her wedding ring, snips her credit cards, jumps in her car, and leaves everything behind.  Her husband Ed, a solid, everyday kind of guy who owns a tire shop, is at first concerned about her absence, thinking foul play at first, but the abandoned credit cards and wedding ring make him think she’s left him for another man.  He didn’t see that one coming, especially after thirty years of marriage

The story centers on Gracie and how her decision to leave everything behind causes a ripple through several families.  Each family, and each person will find that things have a way of working out because grace truly is sufficient.

Darnell Arnout has created a mesmerizing work which explores grief and healing with sensitivity, insight, and humor. Arnoult masterfully mixes together a variety of characters, who at first have separate stories, yet by the end of the book they are all connected.

One of Arnoult most distinguishable style attributes is taking the everyday and spotlighting it into something  of phenomenal clarity.    For instance, Mattie is becoming increasingly handicapped by her inability to get past her husband’s death. At her family’s insistence she begins to clean out his closet. During the process Mattie tries on her husband’s shoes, reminicsing about much she misses how their feet would lightly rest together at night when they slept.

p. 162:

Mattie will give up the clothes.  She can do that.  She’ll let Sammy put them in some bin and let some other needy soul have them.  but she needs to walk in Arty’s shoes for a while.  Feel her skin slide over the place where his feet have been.  Just for a while longer. She’s got to keep those feet.

This book gave me encouragement to take a batch of people and tumble them together to get a kaleidoscope of character mixing.  I also gained an insight on how levity lightens serious topics.  And food. Writing about food somehow makes painful stiuations like grief, discord, and mental duressl seem so much more palatable.

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