Sunday, May 15, 2016

A Fork in the Road + Baath for Foodie Reads 2016

April was a ridiculously unproductive month for me in regards to the Foodie Reads 2016 Challenge. So, I'm trying to make up for it this month. Case in point: after the crazy, overscheduled day I had yesterday, I didn't get out of bed until I finished a book today.

Well, that's not completely true. I did get out of bed to make a cup of tea and put a baath (coconut cake from Goa) in the oven. Then, I crawled back under the covers and made everyone leave me alone until I was finished.

On the Page...
A Fork in the Road: Tales of Food, Pleasure, & Discovery on the Road edited by James Oseland* was my book of choice this morning. It's been on my nightstand for a few weeks. I rarely read short stories, but, for the life of me, I can't imagine why not. These pieces were outstanding. I was actually inspired to dig up a few short pieces that I wrote when I lived in Rome. I just might have to share those - along with some recipes - soon.

Many of the contributors' names were familiar to me - Curtis Stone, Madhur Jaffrey, Frances Mayes, Martin Yan, Michael Pollan, and Carla Hall - just to name a few. But some were not - Giles Coren, Annabel Langbein, and Ma Thanegi, for example - and I was grateful for the brief bio of each contributor at the beginning of the piece.

Most of the contributors' pieces details their discovery of food. Good food. Or they might discuss how they embarked on their culinary trajectory. In any case, this book is filled with life-altering food experiences.

In Curtis Stone's "An Italian Education," I found myself missing Italy tremendously. He writes, "It makes perfect sense that the slow-food movement began in Italy. That relaxed, leisurely philosophy to cooking permeated everything they did. Except perhaps driving." He credits his time in Franciavilla, Calabria with teaching him everything about why he wanted to cook.

Francine Prose had me longing for cassoulet after reading her "We'll Have the Cassoulet." She shares, "Every bean was a masterpiece. The chunks of sausage were sublime. I thought I'd known something about duck confit, but until now I'd known nothing. I'd been a cassoulet virgin."

Joe Dunthorne wrote about sanguinaccio in Sardinia. Fuchsia Dunlop chased the tail of Chiuchow cooking. And Alan Richman, in "Omar Sharif Slept Here," lamented Cairo cuisine. "I can't understand how a people whose civilization predates all others couldn't come up with tastier food," he writes.

It's impossible to pick a favorite piece because they were all so fantastic. Seriously. If you have any inclination towards food writing, this is a must read.

On the Plate...
This cake isn't mentioned in any of the pieces, but, inspired by my Black Tahini Baath cake, I whipped up this version so I could continue to read and not spend time in front of the stove making breakfast. And, after I emerged from my room, the kitchen elves were positively gleeful. "We get to have breakfast cake today!!" Yes.

Coconut Cake from Goa

  • 1/2 C butter, softened
  • 1 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1 T tahini
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 C whole milk yogurt
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1 C coconut flour
  • 1 C gluten-free flour
  • 1 C sweet white rice flour
  • 1 C sliced almonds
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 2 C coconut milk
  • 1/4 C black sesame seeds (or use a mixture of white and black sesame seeds)

Line the bottom of a pan with parchment paper. Grease the sides with butter and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes on a medium speed. Add in the tahini and beat until combined, approximately 1-2 minutes.

Add one egg at a time and beat until completely combined. Add in the yogurt and vanilla.

Gently whisk in the flours, almonds, baking soda, and the black sesame seeds. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Smooth the surface with spatula, then sprinkle the rest of the sesame seeds over the top.

Bake until the center is firm to the touch, approximately 45 to 50 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes in the cake pan. Run a knife around the edges of the baked cake, unmold and allow to cool to room temperature before serving. Cut into generous slices as it's not too sweet.

*This blog currently has a partnership with in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to and search for the item of your choice.

Here's what everyone else read in May 2016: here.


  1. I want my cake and to eat it too, especially when it sounds this delicous.

  2. This sounds like a wonderful book. I don't read many short stories either. I have a hard time getting into them.

  3. This sounds like a great book! I'm going to have to hunt down a copy!


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