Food and Writing

What a person eats reveals a great deal about them. This is probably why the TV show “Iron Chef” used a quote by French epicurean Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.”

Food is also an important indicator of place, time and culture. Therefore, writers can’t afford to be sloppy when it comes to literary diet. Readers are ready to cry foul when they spot a food-based blunder. For example, a friend recently complained about a scene in a novel where the main character, supposedly a New Orleans native, prepared coffee. Herself a native, she claimed no one in the Big Easy would make coffee that way.

I recently went through a delightful BBC TV series called “Supersizers.” During the course of each episode, the hosts, Giles Coren and Sue Perkins, would spend a week living and dining according to the customs of a given time period. Done with tongue-in-cheek humor, the hosts were nonetheless quite serious about being authentic, particularly in terms of cuisine.

I highly recommend this series to readers and writers of historical fiction. It’s easy to glamorize the past, but it’s the elements of realism that make a story come to life. One awful reality the Supersizers had to face was not drinking water for a week. Instead, they had to subsist on wine and beer. Imagine that. Now, write about it.

“Supersizers” is available on Hulu Plus with a paid subscription. You can also find several episodes on the Supersizers YouTube Channel.

Today on Amazon, I found a free-for-now book about First Century food. It looks really interesting, great for readers and writers interested in that time period.

  At Table with the Lord – Foods of the First Century by E. G. Lewis
Relying upon the Bible and extensive research for his popular Seeds of Christianity™ Series, E. G. Lewis presents an interesting and informative study on foods, cooking and day-to-day life in the early Christian era. All major food groups are covered with specific chapters on Spices & Herbs, Fruits & Nuts, Grains, Vegetables, Salad Greens, Fish & Fowl, Meat, Milk & Cheese, Sweets and Sweeteners, and even one on What They Didn’t Have. Includes bonus chapters on Aviculture, Apiculture, Ancient Beers and Wines, Olive Oil, Manna, the Gladiator’s Diet and lots of Recipes you can try at home.

Description provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found this book via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

This freebie is a limited time offer and there is no guarantee it will still be free when you click on the link. Grab it sooner rather than later.

Food and Romance

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a freebies list. I haven’t downloaded much, either. I’ve been reading actual, physical books. *gasp!* I blame it on my trip to San Francisco, where I spent some quality time in the most excellent Borderlands Books. If you love speculative fiction and are in San Francisco, you’ve got to go to this bookstore. You can thank me later.

Now that my Kindle has had a chance to cool off, I decided to check out the Amazon freebies. I found lots of new stuff, which is always nice. Several yummy-looking, free-for-now cookbooks caught my eye, particularly one based on the “Hunger Games” trilogy.

I also noticed that Harlequin is releasing ten free romance novels on April 1. Hopefully, they’re not fooling with us. LOL! *cough* Anyway, keep in mind that when you click the link, you will have “bought” the book, but it won’t download until April 1.

All these books are listed below. Enjoy! And have a great weekend.

  The Unofficial Recipes of The Hunger Games
Savor the post-apocalyptic world of Panem one dish at a time with The Unofficial Recipes of The Hunger Games. Offering 187 recipes, this cookbook serves fans an authentic taste of the Hunger Games trilogy, whether foraged for in the impoverished District 12 or devoured at the lavish banquets of the Capitol.

  The Parthenon Cookbook: Great Mediterranean Recipes from the Heart of Chicago’s Greektown by Camille Stagg
This collection of terrific Greek recipes, from old favorites to unique house specialties, is also a tribute to the oldest restaurant in Chicago’s fabled Greektown, a landmark innovator of legendary dishes like saganaki and the first gyros in Chicago. Filled with colorful history and lush photographs, the book features 40 of the restaurant’s most popular recipes from all courses, appetizers to desserts. They include Feta a la Soto, Marathon Salad with Shrimp, Moussaka, Sokolatina, and more. In addition, Greek wine pairings are included as well as full Greek dinner menus with tips for entertaining.

  1,001 Low-Fat Vegetarian Recipes by Sue Spitler
This new edition of 1,001 Low-Fat Vegetarian Recipes is completely revised to reflect current food trends and cooking preferences. The introduction will adhere to American Heart Association guidelines and will include the new FDA nutritional guidelines, with comments on the importance of exercise as part of a total healthy lifestyle. In general, recipes will be easier and faster to prepare with fewer ingredients and more concise cooking methods. Recipes that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less will be identified throughout the book with an “express veg” icon. The “super foods” that boast high nutritional, antioxidant, and phytochemical qualities will be emphasized in recipes—blueberries, kiwi, pomegranate juice, melons, citrus fruit, edamame, leafy dark greens, broccoli, butternut squash, carrots, beets, tomatoes, bell peppers, beans and legumes, nuts, flax and hemp seeds, whole grains, and soy and dairy products.

  The Apple Cookbook by Hillbilly Housewife
“An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away” I’m sure you’ve heard that saying a time or two. Apples are a great fruit that’s not only healthy, but also very versatile and frugal. I can almost always find some great apples on sale at the store. Occasionally we’ll also buy a big box of apples from a local orchard and store them for use in the winter. Apples keep well in a dry, cool place, but with all the cooking and baking, the never last very long at our house. In this apple cookbook, you’ll find recipes that range from sweet to savory.

Harlequin Free Books (pre-order now, will download April 1)

Descriptions provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

Doctor Who Cookbook

Free Today on Amazon

I was hoping this would come up free again and it has! Today’s awesome freebie is a Doctor Who-themed cookbook. I found the link on the awesome site, Dining Downloads, so mega thanks to them.

If you love the Doctor, grab this now. Last time it was free, I wrote a post, clicked on the link in preview, and it was full price again. Yep, the freebies can go that fast, so don’t wait!

Dining With The Doctor: The Unauthorized Whovian Cookbook  Dining With The Doctor: The Unauthorized Whovian Cookbook by Chris-Rachael Oseland
Hello, sweetie. Your taste buds are about to take a wibbly wobbly, timey wimey adventure through the 2005 Doctor Who reboot. Megafan and food writer Chris-Rachael Oseland spent a year rewatching all of series one through six and experimenting in her kitchen to bring you a fresh recipe for every single episode. This book is a treat for any Whovian who wants to offer more than a plate of fish fingers and a bowl of custard at your next viewing party. Want to host an elegant dinner party to show off your new Tardis corset? Start the evening with a Two Streams Garden Cocktail followed by Baked Hath, Marble Cucumber Circuits with Vesuvian Fire Dipping Sauce, Professor Yana’s Gluten Neutrino Map Binder, Slitheen Eggs, and some of Kazran’s Night Sky Fog Cups for dessert.

Descriptions provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found this book via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

This freebie is a limited time offer and there is no guarantee it will still be free when you click on the link. Grab it sooner rather than later.

Healthy and Delicious

Free Today on Amazon

I love food, especially when it occupies the wonderful strata of tastes good and is good for you. I’m not interested in dieting, but I am concerned about how much processed food is in my diet, and how the ingredients in that food affect my health.

Just so you know, this post has nothing to do with New Year’s resolutions on losing weight. A friend recently had a health scare that was related to high cholesterol. This got me thinking about what changes I can make to my diet without sacrificing taste.

My husband and I bought a three-tiered steamer and began experimenting with steaming our food rather than baking or frying. We had mixed results, some good, some gloop. We’ve replaced butter with olive oil or canola oil in many recipes, and that’s turned out quite well.

And, of course, I searched through the Kindle cookbook collection. I’ve found two books that I consider real gems. Neither one is free, but both have great recipes.

One is a short eBook that contains a base recipe for making your own instant oatmeal mix. You might think the price ($1.99) is too much, but for me, it’s been worth its weight in digital gold. I’ve always loved the idea of instant oatmeal, but hated the processed ingredients and the waste of those little bags. Instead, I use the base recipe and have fun at Whole Foods going through the bins and deciding what will go in my oatmeal. Yes, it’s time consuming, messy and more expensive than buying a box off the shelf, but it also tastes a lot better.

The other is a vegan cookie recipe book. It’s informative, funny and has color photos guaranteed to make your mouth water. Download it to a tablet if you can. Most of the recipes have ingredients you can find in your pantry or easily pick up at the local supermarket. Best of all, the cookies are delish! The author, Kelly Peloza, has a blog on vegan cooking and living that makes for good reading.

Today, I found a couple of free-for-now cookbooks that look interesting. My only complaint is that both use the word “skinny” in their titles. Skinny is such a loaded word, but the recipes looked promising so I grabbed them and listed them below.

Here’s to healthy living and tasty eating!

  The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur by Kelly Peloza
Not Free. $0.99
Kelly Peloza started experimenting with vegan baking as a high school student, blogging about her vegan adventures all the while. Her amazing recipes and gorgeous photos drew a crowd of eager readers who have been begging her for a cookbook ever since. Now an energetic, spunky college student, her book is finally ready for her anxious audience. From double peanut butter sandwich cookies and coconut caramel butter cookies to raspberry almond cookies and inside out peppermint patties, these delicious and imaginative recipes are sure to inspire bakers of all ages.

  Make Your Own Instant Oatmeal Mix by Beckett McKay
Not Free. $1.99
With people’s burgeoning interest in taking back control of their family’s food supply, learning how to do things themselves (like they used to do in the old days!) is an important first step. In the “Wait, What?? I Can Do That?” e-book series, Beckett McKay will detail how to make your own pantry staples and other necessities, show you how you can cut out the mass manufacturing middle man, and put the ingredients in your family’s diet back in your own hands.

  Naturally Skinny: 100 Organic Recipes Under 350 Calories by Samantha Brown
Free Today
Many recipes might be under 350 calories, but are they also completely organic and absolutely delicious? The recipes are clearly laid out with an ingredient list, step-by-step instructions, the number of servings, the calories per serving, the total fat per serving and a clever description that will entice you to prepare it. This comprehensive collection of 100 appetizing organic recipes will keep you and your family satisfied and healthy for a lifetime to come.

  Skinny Pizza by Barbara Grunes
Free Today
Starting with easy-to-make (and store) recipes for basic crusts and sauces, Skinny Pizzas shows you how easy it is to top pizzas with fresh, low-fat, high-fiber vegetables, dairy products, fruits, poultry, meat, and fish–everything from zucchini and pears to smoked salmon. From hearty one-dish meals to pizza snacks, appetizers, party dishes, and even desserts–all slimmed down for today’s healthful lifestyle–home cooks can feel good about serving pizza any time and for any occasion.

Descriptions provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Movie?

Free Today on Amazon

On New Year’s Day, it was still quite cold here on the Colorado front range. Perfect weather to settle down for a long afternoon matinee at the movie theater. I’ve been hankering to see “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” since I saw the first trailer almost a year ago.

Hobbit Poster

I loved it! With the minor caveat that it was too long. Certain scenes were padded or added to the original story that didn’t need to be there. At the same time, there were certain additions that I very much enjoyed. For me, “The Hobbit” is a familiar story and these additions made it more of an unexpected journey.  No worries, no spoilers. Seeing for yourself is highly recommended.

If you’ve already seen the movie, you might want to check out this article on The Daily Beast: ‘The Hobbit’: 19 Changes from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Novel to Peter Jackson’s Movie. It’s interesting reading, though I don’t agree with some of what’s written. In particular (not a spoiler), I’ve read here and elsewhere that Thorin Oakenshield is portrayed as more noble in the movie than he is in the novel. I disagree. I’ve always viewed Thorin as a noble warrior prince. I reread “The Hobbit” in December and stand by my opinion.

“The Hobbit” is available in digital format, though not for free or even cheap. It can be picked up on Amazon for $7.29, which is still less than the new paperback version. If you don’t want to spend that much, you might want to look for an old copy in a used bookstore, though they might be a little harder to find since the movie came out.

If you’ve read “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, you may be interested in today’s freebie, a reader and teacher’s guide to these books, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

In honor of Hobbits and their love of food, particularly breakfast, I’ve also included two free-for-now breakfast cookbooks. I’ve already had my first breakfast. Perhaps it’s time to start planning my second breakfast. Bilbo would surely approve. 🙂

Addendum

Today, January 3, I found two more free-for-now Hobbit-related books that look interesting, so I added them here. One of the breakfast cookbooks is no longer free, so I posted it’s price.

  The Hobbit: 50 Secrets and Little-known Facts by Stephenie Rowling
Whether you are just becoming aware of The Hobbit for the first time or are a lifelong Tolkien enthusiast, chances are that there are a few things you could learn about The Hobbit. The rich history of the book, the professor who wrote it and the talented director, actors and cinematic wizards bringing it to life are full of little twists and turns and fascinating tidbits. This book will leave you much more knowledgeable about Tolkien, the Lord of the Rings and the charming children’s tale that has captured imaginations for three quarters of a century.

  The Hobbit Movie: An Unexpected Journey – An Interactive Games Quiz Book
Hobbit movie 2012 is a blockbuster movie that hits the theaters and is taking the world by storm. The concept behind the Hobbit movie is the prequel to the famous Lord of the Rings trilogy. The unique setting in the Hobbit movie is a fantasy land where a variety of different creatures exist and try to gain power over the world. Our unique Interactive Games quiz book looks at the new Hobbit movie and gives you trivia questions to test your knowledge.

Reader and Educator Guide to "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings"  Reader and Educator Guide to “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings”
The Reader and Educator Guide to “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” is an enlightening and thorough, exclusively digital companion to these masterpieces of fantastical literature. Readers will get the chance to look deeper into the events and lives of the characters from these epic tales. What motivates these hobbits and men? What makes the elves tick and the dwarves sing? Educators will be guided with lesson plans that will challenge their students and give them a better understanding of why these books are so important, even over half-a-century later. The Reader and Educator Guide to “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” will shed new light on these iconic works while engaging and entertaining both teachers and their students.

Circle Of Friends 25 Breakfast & Brunch Recipes  Circle Of Friends 25 Breakfast & Brunch Recipes by Gooseberry Patch
Make your mornings bright with these tried & true recipes for mouthwatering breakfasts and brunches…from Cranberry-Pumpkin Waffles and Scrumptious French Toast to Old-Fashioned Baked Eggs and Sausage Breakfast Bake, there’s sure to be something for everyone!

30 Easy Breakfast Recipes - Including Egg Recipes, Omelette Recipes, Pancake Recipes, Waffle Recipes and More (Breakfast I...  30 Easy Breakfast Recipes by Pamela Kazmierczak
No Longer Free. Now $2.99.
If you are looking for a good variety of quick breakfast recipes this might be the cookbook for you. Sometimes serving a great breakfast seems harder than it really is, but there are so many different recipes available that you can serve and prepare quickly. We hope you enjoy this volume – 30 Easy Breakfast Recipes – Including Egg Recipes, Omelette Recipes, Pancake Recipes, Waffle Recipes and More! There are a variety of recipes inside including egg breakfast recipes, crepe recipes, recipes for homemade pancakes and so much more!

Descriptions provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Free Today on Amazon

It snowed on Christmas Eve, literally that evening, dumping about four inches on us by the next morning, but, hey, white Christmas! So, no complaints. We’ve had little snow since on the front range, but frigid weather has settled over us. It hasn’t warmed up past 20 degrees Fahrenheit since December 24.

Christmas morning. It looks almost the same three days later.

Christmas morning. It looks almost the same three days later.

Fortunately, we bought tons of food in preparation and have happily hunkered down with Argentine empanadas and my husband’s Cantonese steamed chicken. Yum. While keeping the cranky, housebound cat company, we watched an entire Danish detective series, “The Eagle.” It’s about a special unit that investigates cross border crimes. The protagonist is half-Icelandic, so he’s a fish out of Nordic water, so to speak. It was pretty good! You can find all three seasons on both Netflix and Hulu.

By now, the fridge is empty and we need to do some grocery shopping. I was thinking I’d like to make soup. While I was perusing the Kindle freebies, I noticed two recipe books for soup. Score! I’ve also added a book that was previously listed for those who missed it the first time. “The Complete Sherlock Holmes”, i.e., all the short stories and novels, is being offered for free by Simon and Schuster. Seriously, you don’t want to miss this.

If you’re where it’s cold, stay warm. If you’re where it’s warm, enjoy!

The Complete Sherlock Holmes  The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
The complete collection of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes tales, both long and short, compiled together for the first time by Simon & Schuster for free! This fantastic collection is accompanied by an exciting new introduction from Robert Ryan, a writer who’s own book has been fully endorsed by the Conan Doyle Estate. A big Holmes fan himself, he will undoubtedly provide a fascinating new look at the detective and his bizarre ability to read both people and objects, in order to discover who dunnit.

Simply Delicious Soups  Simply Delicious Soups by Royce Anderson
Soup is the quintessential comfort food. It is one of the most basic food dishes, easy to make and almost infinite in form. Start with a flavorful stock then add meat and or vegetables. Season with your favorite spices and let the mixture simmer. Soon your house fills with a delicious smell that promises a wonderful treat just for you. Warm and hearty soups are the perfect answer to a cold winter night. Or beat the heat of summer with a chilled soup. A perfect change of pace without heating up the kitchen.

Delicious Soup Recipes (Delicious Recipes)  Delicious Soup Recipes by June Kessler
In today’s fast track world; I forgot about soup for a while and recently I found my soup recipes and have been busy making soups for my family a few times a week. Now that strawberry season is here my grand children are really enjoying the chilled strawberry soups they seem to awaken their appetites, soup is also a good way for my grand kids to eat their fruits and vegetables they need in their diet. Also I love the aroma from the simmering soup that lingers in the kitchen all day. On a hot Texas summers day there is nothing like a chilled cream soup to cool you down . or a hot beefy soup on a cold night. Soups are very versatile they can be the main meal an appetizer, or served with a sandwich, which is much healthier than potato chips or French fries. You deserve delicious wholesome and nutritious soup.

Descriptions provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

Christmas Trees, Books and Recipes

Free Today on Amazon

Due to my San Francisco holiday, I didn’t put up the Christmas tree until December 19. It was a snowy day and as I hung the ornaments, I listened to the holiday music I’d been studiously avoiding since before Thanksgiving. It was an enjoyable way to spend a cold, dark afternoon.

I’ve always been one to put up the tree later in the season. If I put it up too early, it becomes part of the furniture and by the middle of December I barely notice it’s there. Traditionally, Christmas trees weren’t put up until close to Christmas, sometimes not until Christmas Eve. Here’s an interesting article on when to put up and take down the tree.

Here’s our tree after I finished decorating.

Oh Christmas Tree

A fake – err – renewable tree from Target.

I love interesting, fun, creative ornaments. Here’s a video of my favorite one. Turn up the sound to hear the holiday message from a certain Vulcan.

A lot of people have both Monday and Tuesday off this year, and are doubtless enjoying the long holiday weekend. If you’re looking for something to read or some holiday cooking inspiration, I’ve got a nice variety of Amazon freebies listed below.

However you celebrate, have a happy and joyous holiday season!

Hell's Christmas  Hell’s Christmas by Cynthia P. Willow
Monika Hell seemed to have it all. She was gorgeous, owned a nice condo, an expensive car, an endless wardrobe, and had a great job as a store manager in the mall. But, she was mean, miserable, and worst of all, hated Christmas. Kidnapped from the mall parking lot on Christmas Eve, her life is turned upside down. Now, on Christmas morning, she finds herself in a freezing alley with nothing but the tattered clothes on her back. With no identification, no money, and no one willing to help, Monika is forced to start all over. Could losing everything she’d worked for all her life lead her to find what’s been missing all along?

Rain and Revelation  Rain and Revelation by Therese Pautz
On the rugged, rain and windswept coast of Ireland, twenty-year-old Eliza Conroy’s predictable life is shattered when she returns home to find her mother bathing in her own blood. Eliza sets out to understand the events leading up to that fateful day and discovers that she has been deceived her entire life by those she loves and trusts the most. What she uncovers threatens to destroy her family and tight knit community and Eliza is forced to choose between the cost of speaking the truth and remaining silent.

Dear Santa...... A CHRISTMAS STORY  Dear Santa…… A CHRISTMAS STORY by Jay Frankston
This is a true story about a Jewish man bringing magical joy to children in a big city at Christmas time. Perhaps you have already read this story in Reader’s Digest or Chicken Soup for the Soul. Even so, you will enjoy reading it over and over again. This little book has been translated into 15 different languages.

Christmas in Pennsylvania: 50th Anniversary Edition  Christmas in Pennsylvania: 50th Anniversary Edition by Alfred L. Shoemaker
Originally published in 1959 and written by one of the seminal figures in American folklife studies, this classic work examines the folk origins of Christmas in the Keystone State. Composed of interviews and contemporary newspaper reports, it records holiday traditions from the eighteenth century through the early twentieth century, including mummers, Christ-Kindel and Kriss Kringle, Christmas trees and trimming, Belsnickels, the Philadelphia carnival of horns, Moravian pyramids and putzes, Pittsburgh firecracker celebrations, and holiday treats. Now with full-color images, this edition includes Don Yoder’s new expanded afterword on recent research of Christmas customs and a selection of traditional recipes.

COOKING CHRISTMAS! (Donnas@Home)  COOKING CHRISTMAS! by Donna Stafford-Skare
“HELP! It’s my turn to cook CHRISTMAS DINNER” Sound familiar? If so, HELP is at hand! COOKING CHRISTMAS, has most everything you will need to put together a deliciously, memorable meal! From Recipes, Menus, In-depth instructions, Wine suggestions, Required cooking utensils (and the best ways to get them), food staples, Safety measures, AND SO MUCH MORE! As a BONUS, we have also included a Prime Rib NEW YEARS Dinner, with all the trimmings, and again, explicit instructions. If you are a Novice cook, then this book will quite likely become your CHRISTMAS & NEW YEARS MANUAL! If you simply need a reminder, or your adult kids could use a little help, then COOKING CHRISTMAS is for you as well! HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Katharine's Mouth Watering Christmas Recipe  Katharine’s Mouth Watering Christmas Recipe by Katharine Koe
Prepare a memorable Christmas dinner with Katharine’s Mouth Watering Christmas Recipe. These are simple Christmas recipes that are packed with flavor and down-home goodness. They are easy Christmas recipes to make and all will become favorites of your family.

Descriptions provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.