Monday, May 11, 2020

Handmade Hearts to Feed a Cracker Addiction #FoodieReads


If you've following my blog recently, you'll know that I just bought an e-reader - read about that in The Paris Architect, Three Lives of a Roasted Chicken, and an E-Reader - and I'm warming up to it. Though I have had to figure out balancing the number of titles I'm allowed to have checked out to my Kindle Unlimited account, I might even say that I like the convenience of having books in the cloud instead of on my nightstand. Gasp.

And I will also readily admit that I added this book to my reading list simply because its cover is pretty! It All Comes Back to You by Beth Duke.* Gasp, again.

On the Page

Beautiful cover aside, this book actually inspired me to wince and cringe in response to the characters' actions. On the surface it's a relatively sweet tale of two women whose lives intersect because one is a caregiver at a retirement facility while the other is a resident. Sadly, I found the flashbacks somewhat contrived and silly and both main characters shallow and annoying. 

But what bothered me most is the same issue I have with the Netflix series You. That is not love, folks. Call it obsession; label it unhealthy. It's certainly not romantic. Whatever you want to call it, it's creepy and stalker-y. Yikes. And, for Violet, there was just flat-out abuse. Her husband beat her routinely, she hid the bruises, and she stayed in the marriage until he died. Let's not even talk about the twist of the actual stalker character. I won't spoil it because the popularity of these kinds of books and shows means that some people out there must enjoy these stories! But, I am not one of them.

At the end of it, this book would be a hybrid mystery-romance. The mystery aspects were passable, but if the author really believes those interactions are love, she needs help.

But there were numerous passages that involved food and drinks, especially in the tradition of Southern hospitality. "Violet consulted her Cartier watch and patted the pearls at her neck nervously. The Junior League’s placement committee would be meeting here in thirty minutes. She ran through a mental checklist: crackers, cheese ball, crab dip, mixed nuts, fruit salad, chicken salad, potato salad, deviled eggs, yeast rolls, centerpiece, napkins, plates, forks, crystal, sweet tea, wine, Cokes and Tabs...dessert. Oh lord—had Beatrice remembered the lemon icebox pies? She raced to the kitchen, heels clicking a frantic tattoo on the polished wood floor. Yes, thank goodness, the pies were on the top shelf" (pg. 130).

And, "she sauntered in and purchased the same fifth of bourbon, sugar cubes and maraschino cherries each week. Five o’clock every day she enjoyed a cocktail or two in her apartment. I was extended an open invitation but usually had to work through six-thirty unless I was working night shift, which made a visit impossible. By that point, Violet was entertaining gleefully in the dining room, sneaking salt onto tasteless chicken" (pg. 5).

One scene has Violet eating peach crumble while in a peach-colored negligee. Ronni is less sophisticated, suggesting to Rick that their romantic evening consist of "'You, me and a laptop.' I smiled. 'And case of Pop Tarts'" (pg. 120).

Handmade Heart Crackers

This recipe was inspired by this comment: “Some people are crack addicts and some are cracker addicts. I think you have a serious saltine and Goldfish problem, Ronni” (pg. 107). Yep. I'm right there with Ronni. When my kids were little, my husband joked that I must think Goldfish are a food group. No, they are just cute and convenient for little hands!

You can use any combination of flours to make up your 1-1/2 C total. I've done it with all-purpose flour, bread flour. Recently, I added rye flour to a cracker batch and really enjoyed it!

Note: I wasn't being ironic since I've already said I didn't think this book was a romance at all. Really, the first cookie cutter I grabbed out of the bin was a heart. That's all there was to that choice.

Ingredients 
makes approximately 3 dozen 2" cookies

  • 3/4 C pastry flour
  • 3/4 C white flour
  • 1 T organic granulated sugar
  • 1/2 t salt 
  • 4 T (1/2 stick) butter (unsalted, cut into small pieces)
  • 1/3 C water
  • 1 T fresh herbs (I used snipped chives)
Procedure

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

Put flours, sugar, salt, butter, and herbs in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to incorporate. With the blade running, add water and blend until a smooth dough form.


Divide the dough in half and place one half on a floured work surface. Roll the dough out between two sheets of wax or parchment paper. Make the dough as thin as you can. because the thinner the crackers are, the flakier and tastier they are.


Use a cookie cutter to cut the dough into 1-1/2" to 2" crackers. Re-roll any leftover dough until you've used it all. This batch made about 36 crackers.


Bake the crackers until crisp and lightly browned, approximately 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack before serving. They will harden as they cool.

*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com 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 Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.

Click to see what everyone else read in May 2020: here.

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