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Ingrid

Ingrid has 9 articles published.

From a very early age I have read cookbooks like novels– curled up on the couch perusing recipe after recipe, scanning images of plated food that tell a story of their own. Even when immersing myself in a novel, I find I am more drawn to those in which culinary delights play an integral role in the lives of the characters. I am certain that this literary devotion to food, and the passion my parents helped instill in me for quality ingredients and companionable cooking are what led me to begin a professional cooking career as a young adult.

What to feed the book club: Past life in Germany inspires the Reuben sandwich

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In The Pieces We Keep (Kensington, 2013), Kristina McMorris tells a modern story with a connection to the past. Twenty-first century widowed single mother Audra must get to the bottom of what’s troubling her young son, Jack. From night terrors to eerie drawings that his schoolteacher doesn’t approve of, the boy’s life seems fraught with turmoil. But when Audra suspects that her son may be having memories from a past life, her suspicions cause even more trouble for her small family. Audra discovers connections between Jack’s memories and the WWII-era relationship of London-based Vivian and her former lover, Isaac. As a German Jew, Isaac is determined that his family be rescued at the outbreak of the war; he abandons Vivian, who flees…

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Pecan brownies for the soul

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The love affair of Myra Sims and Gabriel Catts will break your heart. And Claybird Catts will steal it. Janis Owens’s three novels centering on the life of Myra—who has a past more tragic than most, and a present she just can’t seem to hold on to—are beautifully haunting. My Brother Michael is told from Gabriel Catts’s perspective, but puts the reader smack dab in the middle of events concerning Myra Sims, while in Myra Sims, the title character tells her own story. The Schooling of Claybird Catts completes the trilogy, and is told from Myra’s son Claybird’s point of view. As Gabriel agonizes over his desire for Myra in My Brother Michael, the draw of pecan brownies by the…

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What would Hemingway eat? A menu for a Moveable Feast

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I realized, as I worked my way through Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, that he titled it so because his time in Paris was an ongoing banquet of social activities, incessant writing, and literal feasting and imbibing from one café to the next. It was also most apparent to me that, though he had already fallen into the arms of another woman when he wrote this memoir, he had truly loved his first wife, Hadley. Regret filters through when he speaks of their tender years together. So much so that I wondered if writing it could have been his way of telling her of his regret. But above all, as a gastronaut, I found the descriptions of food and drink…

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Chickens and the Civil War: a roasted dinner from A LIFE FOR NANCY—THE DAUGHTER OF FRANKIE SILVER

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Lean times are common for Nancy and her children as they struggle to survive in Danita Stoudemire and Riley Henry’s historical novel, A Life for Nancy—The Daughter of Frankie Silver (Bookstand Publishing, 2012). But when winter hits their rural Appalachian community in the midst of the Civil War, life becomes unbearable in the cabin where they all fight to exist. Two days before Christmas, however, Nancy—the daughter of the only woman in Burke County, North Carolina to be hanged for murder—finds a dead chicken lying on the ground outside. She decides to pluck the pitiful bird and bring it inside to share with her children for Christmas dinner. A small store of root vegetables and other sturdy produce remains buried…

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Sweet celebration: creating Leela’s four-layer coconut cake from Karen Spears Zacharias’s MOTHER OF RAIN

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Life was anything but a party for Maizee Hurd in Karen Spears Zacharias’s novel, Mother of Rain (Mercer Univ. Press, 2013). From the voices urging her to do unspeakable things, to the loss of her loving husband at Normandy, it seemed as if poor Maizee was doomed to a life of heartache the moment she found her mother lying dead in the garden behind her childhood home. For this reason, it was her son, Rain’s, first birthday cake that I knew I wanted to try to recreate as I worked my way through Maizee’s tragic story. The cake, and the party his community organized to celebrate his young life, unfortunately seemed to symbolize the end of what had been a relatively…

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Friendship in Appalachia: Sweet Tea Rosemary Grilled Chicken inspired by Kathryn Magendie’s SWEETIE

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Shy and scientific-minded Melissa is the polar opposite of Sweetie, who finds magic in all she sees and possesses boundless energy and courage. In Sweetie (Bell Bridge Books, 2010), Kathryn Magendie chronicles the adventures and tragedies of these two girlhood friends as they come of age. Melissa’s mother simply doesn’t know what to make of her daughter’s new friend who seems to pop in and out of the thicket near their mountain community on a whim. Wondering about the girl’s seeming lack of supervision, never able to grasp the fact that her name is Sweetie not “Sweet Tea,” Melissa’s mother is unsure if her daughter should continue her friendship with the unusual girl. The devotion Sweetie and Melissa feel for each other, however, outweighs…

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Catching stories and fried corn

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Danger approaches 16-year-old Shelly Parker’s doorstep in Black Mountain, North Carolina, so she takes off for Georgia’s Lowcountry in Ann Hite’s The Storycatcher (Gallery Books, September 2013). The Appalachian girl—urged by the spirits who dwell in the shadows and forests surrounding her small mountain community to take precautions to avoid the disaster that is imminent—will see and experience things in the island village of Darien that she never imagined. One thing she is familiar with, from her life as the daughter of a serving woman, is fried corn. At the request of her hostess, she sets to work preparing it in the kitchen of her home-away-from-home, just the way her mother, Nada, taught her. I was curious, when I read this portion…

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Silky Chicken Liver Pâté for Sleeping Beauty

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Although inspired by the popular Sleeping Beauty tale, the heroine in Elizabeth Blackwell’s While Beauty Slept is not Princess Rose but Elise, her guardian. Though she may, in fact, have royal blood, the extravagant life of ladies of the court is only attained by Elise after an arduous existence as a peasant. Food for Elise in her former life has been scarce, therefore, mealtimes for staff of the castle in which she obtains a position as Queen Lenore’s personal assistant are to the young maid as awe-inspiring as the tapestries that hang in the great hall, or the luxurious fabrics that adorn the queen’s bedchamber. The bounty she enjoys within the fortress walls, the sights and smells I imagined as…

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Book Club Recipe: The Girl You Left Behind

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Meeting with your book club this month to discuss THE GIRL YOU LEFT BEHIND? Try making this amazing dish inspired by the novel. Chou Farci It’s sausage meat, some vegetables and herbs, wrapped in cabbage leaves and poached in stock.” When Sophie asks the Kommandant in The Girl You Left Behind if there are any dishes he would prefer her to cook, he answers that the meal she served to him and his men that same evening is one they would enjoy having again in the near future. She describes to him how she prepares the meal that is called Chou Farci.” I was so inspired by her explanation that I wanted to find out what was so special about…

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