Here it is, that long awaited book review,
and a giveaway.
Now; I'm an honest person, so I will warn you right now. I'm a much better cook than I am a book review-er. So don't expect much else than a blurb on what I got from the novel and my own opinion on whether I thought it was worth the time to read.
That said; I thought it was great, actually. :)
I received this book a few months ago from a Penguin Books publicist. I was excited that they thought I'd enjoy it (I did) and that they thought it'd be beneficial for them if I reviewed it on my blog. I sincerely hope that it is. Although if I hated the book I guess I wouldn't give a hoot either way. But I didn't hate it so, here it goes. :)
I have to admit that like Kathleen Flinn, I also dreamed of attending Le Cordon Bleu someday. Of course it never got much farther than buying a cookbook dawning it's name for three dollars from a woman's garage in Sacramento and learning all I could from it. Eventually my dreams changed, but my love for food and cooking has only increased.
Basically in reading this book, I've lived vicariously through Kat's experiences of following her own dreams to somewhat satiate my own former one.
It took me a while to finish this book. Not because it was uninteresting, but because I would find other things that seemed a little more important to finish at the time. Luckily, it was a book that was easy to pick up again and continue where you left off without having to go back and review everything you'd read before. Now, I'm about to go off on a tangent, but I promise it relates to the review.
One of my favorite things about attending BYU's dance program was that while I was learning methods, sciences and techniques of the art form, everything began to spill over and start showing up in my various general academic classes. I saw how religion related to how dance is a holistic experience, involving the spirit, body, and mind; how sciences in the biological world related to the composition and structure of dances; and that the patterns of history in the world connected to patterns in movement as well as societies and how dance reflected their beliefs, values, and norms. It was fascinating; and of everything I learned in the five years I attended, that was the culminating principle I came away with. You must find meaning in everything you experience and how they relate to each other.
In every chapter, Kat described an overlying principle that was originally taught and understood in relation to cooking and then she related it to her life experiences at the time. I think this was why it was easy to pick up the book each time without having to go back. There was continual progression. You would learn something new along with her and although the past was just as important, it was in the present moment that she found application. I loved that aspect of the story.
I also enjoyed her detailed descriptions of the skills she learned. I kept reading certain explanations of a cooking technique and thinking, "I'd better mark this spot for later". I also loved that with each chapter, a recipe followed relating to the chapters content.
As each experience unfolded and the story came to an end I was sad that it was over. I may be able to blame my hormone level at the moment, but I even welled up a little at the end. I made personal connections to her story recognizing similar experiences I had at BYU. I even had a professor that I was initially terrified of, but he ended up being my mentor and the one who supported me in a many decisions I was unsure of. I owe a lot to him and now love and appreciate him, even if I do think he's still a bit intimidating.
Overall I loved the book, and recommend it to anyone that has a passion for cooking and life. It really was like a recipe, all the ingredients (experiences) were good on their own, but put together, they're much more fulfilling and exciting.
Hub and I even tried the crêpe recipe from the book. They were delicious although I think I need help in figuring how to work my crêpe maker. Maybe I need a different recipe. After the first one (which was bubbly) the pan would cook the batter as I laid it in the dipping plate and then when I picked it up to flip over, the crêpe stayed in the plate instead of sticking to the maker! I ended up simply pouring the batter into a skillet. It was much easier and definitely more reliable.
Hub dipping his crêpe in strawberry fluff. He figures we share germs all the time anyway, so 'no big' right? I promise he doesn't do that when we have company.
Now for the giveaway. I wish I had another book to give, but I don't. And really I could give you my own, but you wouldn't want it because it's dog-eared, watermarked, and batter-stained. Well it is a cookbook as well as a novel!
Anyway, the giveaway is for these cute little Pierre Hermé miniature sets.
I entered a comment contest over at Veronica's Test Kitchen and won a set of these cute little miniatures. Thank you Veronica!
To be honest, I didn't really think they were going to be as small as they are. Seriously, they're tiny. And because of their size I'm amazed at the intricate detail they don! I picked out my favorite set (the one with the mask) and now I want to share the love, with you. I have six sets to give away so leave a comment and your wish is my command! If there are more than 6 commenters, I may do a little drawing for who gets them, or if there's not you might get two of these! Your barbies will be ecstatic.
Answer this question when you comment - What book are you reading at the moment?
This giveaway ends Thursday night (October 9th) at 9 PM my time, which is in the zone of "the bubble". :)
Oh, and tell me which set you like the best. You can pick any of them except for #4 and #8. Yeah I accidentally chopped open #8 before realizing all the little things are supposed to stay in their designated bags... whoops.
As for me, I'm off to read Cyrano!
STATUS UPDATE! hehe
We have wieners for the Pierre Hermé miniature set giveaway. I was so excited to see how many people actually entered. Nine individuals! I know it pale's in comparison to any of the giveaways that Pioneer Woman hosts, but I was totally stoked when I saw eleven comments for this post. Especially compared to the three from my first giveaway.
Anyway, to pick the winners randomly, I wrote the numbers (according to the order of commenting) on papers and had Hub pick them out of a... mouse cover. Baba gave it to us and it's so cute I can't get rid of it. It's not functional, especially because of the top hat. :) It really just sits on our printer. I think of him every time I see it though, and when I look at the picture of him and my uncle as children on my desktop.
Okay, okay. Here are the winners and what they're reading:
1. Andrea - 15 books on art history - wow!
3. Lan - Sins of the Assassin by Robert Ferrigno
4. Emalia - not sure, she didn't mention
6. Temperance - no book, but cleaning and knitting - fun :)
8. C - John Adams biography and a book about Jack the Ripper
9. Colloquial Cook - Terreur et Martyr - I want a plaisir sucré too!
If I don't have your address already, e-mail it to me and your minis will be on their way.
Thanks for playing! :)