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I've been blogging over at Closing the Gap these days. Still me, and still delicious, come join me!



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.


raspberry syrup



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! :)


12 Comments

  1. You don't even want to know what book(s) I'm reading at the moment. I'm doing a PhD in art history, so I'm reading something like 15 books on turn of the century Euro art. But actually, I just came over to see what was happening. I don't think I've ever actually tried a recipe from a book like this, and by that I mean from a culinary memoir. But those crepes looks great, and it's fun to cook and read from the same book!

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  2. Glad you liked the book! Your crepes look amazing!! What a fun giveaway too! I am reading several cookbooks, of course! I just checked a bunch out from the library. The Weekend Baker is what I am stuck on now...I also started Breaking Dawn. I know I am behind! Thanks for the fun giveaway! All of the sets look fun!

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  3. i am currently reading Sins of the Assassin by Robert Ferrigno. my reading material has to be different from my hobbies or else my life would be overrun with yarn and food. :)

    i love sets 1 and 2, altho all the sets are adorable! since they're so tiny, what do you do with them? barbie doesn't eat, that's why she's so skinny!

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  4. Nice review Jen! I really appreciated all your commentary on your BYU experience and how it influenced your academic classes. I had a similar experience! The crepes are also lovely ;-) Thank you so much for the thoughtful package I got yesterday! It did make me squeel with delight and I loved everything. ;-) I'm excited to pass on the love on my blog. So your sharing more love? I'd feel guilty if you sent me more stuff but I do have to say I love set #5 and I'm sure Kenzie will be into Barbies soon enough that'll she make use of them. Pass them onto other people if others comment. (i feel lucky enough to have gotten in on the 'share the love'!)

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  5. I am currently reading The Robe by Lloyd Douglas. It took me a little while to get into it, but it's gotten really good and I can't wait to see what happens. I won't give anything away in case you haven't read it. For what it's worth, the next book on my list is The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory. And now that I know that you are close to BYU, I really am going to want to know where you get your ingredients, because I know that Smith's doesn't carry much that's great. :o)

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  6. This book is going on my christmas list I love cookbooks that tell a story.

    Currently I am not reading I am cleaning and knitting, though I have also been flipping thru quilting books and my cookbook collection.

    So what do you do with itty bitty pastries? Besides admire the artistry. Cause I gotta tell you my Barbies are not that pampered. The macaroon one might be the insperation I need to finaly make my own.

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  7. I am absolutely in love with number 7. I'm not sure why. Maybe because someday i hope to be an amazing dessert-maker...

    cooking has always been one of those things that i enjoy once i start it, but don't feel like i can put the effort into it. But i think i may try that book. If i have an emotional/spiritual connection, i think i'll be uplifted, rather than burdened by cooking...

    anyway, just my thoughts. Glad i found this giveaway before the deadline!! And your pass it forward came-- LOVE It! adorable bookmark, adorable card. and your handwriting is so cute. Thank you thank you thank you. I appreciate your friendship. I'll get it on my blog soon...

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  8. i think i figured out why i love #7. My mom and i are such big sweet tooths, and we love to get desserts to share. This reminds me of her, and the love she has for me, wanting to share good things in life. :)

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  9. and for a THIRD comment... i totally missed saying which book i'm reading! I actually just started Harry Potter book 1; i listen to it on CD while i edit photos and design albums. It's wonderful! And i'm reading a book called Good to Great about getting your business to become great. Insightful so far. :)

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  10. I was sucked in from FoodGawker with your wonderful picture of the currant tart. Looks yummy! Then I saw this item, and decided to jump in. I'm currently reading a biography of John Adams (the one they turned into a film). He's still one of my heros! I'm also in the middle of a book about Jack the Ripper. I forget the author's name (she'd be appalled, I'm sure, as she's a famous author of mysteries), but she's convinced the real killer was an artist of the period. She makes a fairly convincing argument, but the book isn't that well structured.

    Anyway, I've enjoyed very much what I've seen of your blog so far. As for the miniatures, they're all very cute -- how can someone pick just one!

    Thank you!

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  11. Ooooh I'm reading Terreur et Martyr, an analysis of the two recurring motives in the middle east conflict. I'd rather have a plaisir sucré if you ask me!!!
    The red currant tartlet is lovely by the way!

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  12. The book of Mormon, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Baby Words, The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands. I am getting my PhD in Domestic Engineering and am reading about 15 other books on Disney Princesses and other really great baby books...too many to tell!

    I know I'm late, but I still wanted to tell you!

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