Author Archives: lydias

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Recipes from Fiction Books That I Want to Try

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

Honestly, it’s been years since I read a book that included actual recipes in it, But I do love stories that describe food, especially when they goes in great detail about it.

All of these dishes seem simple enough to reverse engineer recipes for, so I figured that’s close enough for this week’s prompt. 🙂

A strawberry tart with whole, fresh strawberries piled on top of it. Tarts from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:

In the next moment, her eyes fell on the White Rabbit that was serving the court as a herald and was reading the accusation that the Knave of Hearts had stolen the Queen’s tarts. In the middle of the court, a large platter of tarts was on display.”

(In my imagination, they’re strawberry tarts!)

Roasted potatoes from The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett:

“Dickon made the stimulating discovery […] there was a deep little hollow where you could build a sort of tiny oven with stones and roast potatoes and eggs in it. […] Very hot potatoes with salt and fresh butter in them were fit for a woodland king—besides being deliciously satisfying.”

 

A blueberry pie sitting on a wooden cutting board Blueberry Pie from Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White:

The children ran for the kitchen. ‘Just in time for a piece of blueberry pie,’ said Mrs. Zuckerman.

Clam Chowder from Moby-Dick

“However, a warm savory steam from the kitchen served to belie the apparently cheerless prospect before us. But when that smoking chowder came in, the mystery was delightfully explained. Oh, sweet friends! hearken to me. It was made of small juicy clams, scarcely bigger than hazel nuts, mixed with pounded ship biscuit, and salted pork cut up into little flakes; the whole enriched with butter, and plentifully seasoned with pepper and salt.”

This entire amazing meal from Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg:

“Idgie and Ruth had set a place for him at a table. He sat down to a plate of fried chicken, black-eyed peas, turnip greens, fried green tomatoes, cornbread, and iced tea.

Is anyone else hungry now?

Top Ten Tuesday:What I’m Thankful for

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Last year I used the Thanksgiving prompt to discuss Native American authors and books. This year I decided to share some of the things I’m grateful for.

Answer #6 mentions Covid-19, so feel free to skip it if that’s a sensitive topic for you. I’m sending virtual hugs to everyone who has had their heart broken by this awful illness this year.

1. Canadian Healthcare

I grew up in the United States in a family that sometimes struggled to pay medical (and other) bills, so it blew my mind to immigrate to a country where you can make an appointment with your family doctor (or even a specialist) without ever having worry about how you’ll afford to pay for that visit.

Canada definitely isn’t a perfect country, but I love the fact that everyone here has the ability to get that suspicious mole/lump checked out or find out that they have high blood pressure/diabetes/other chronic health conditions before those diagnoses balloon into something life-threatening and very difficult to treat. I wish everyone on Earth had this same access to decent medical care.

Drawing of the phrase Happy Thanksgiving on a wooden sign. The sign has some leaves flanking it and a pile of squash, tomatoes, and pumpkins sitting below it. 2. Jana, Top Ten Tuesday, and You

Thank you, Jana, for hosting Top Ten Tuesday. I’ve met so many wonderful people through this blog hop, and I’m grateful for all of you.

3. A Quiet, Warm, Safe Place to Live 

4. A Kitchen Filled With Food

5. Clean Clothes and Comfortable Shoes

There are far too many people in this world whose basic needs aren’t being met. I do what I can to help them and only wish I could do more.

6. My Parents Surviving Covid-19

Both of my parents caught Covid-19 this year. I am so grateful that they are still around. May next year bring a vaccine that will grind this illness to a halt.

7. The Internet 

How many of you remember what life was like before most people had access to the Internet? I do, and I’m glad we have ways to digitally reach out to one another during this pandemic. Life would be much sadder and more isolated if we were all stuck at home without it.

8. Humorous Pet Videos and Gifs

This list needs something silly on it.

Humorous animal content brings so much joy to my life. When my parents were sick earlier this year, I relied heavily on stuff like compilation videos of cute baby rabbits  to distract me while we waited for updates about their health.

Purple, blue, and yellow overlapping bubbles. The largest bubble is purple and has the word Thank You written on it. 9. Front Line Workers

I deeply appreciate all of you. Thank you for working so hard to keep everyone healthy, safe, and stocked up on all of the necessities of life like food and medicine.

You are the true heroes of 2020.

10. Exercise 

A good workout does wonders for my mind and body!

11. Dairy-Free Treats

2020 has felt like it lasted a decade, so I’m sneaking one last item onto my list.

I love the fact that there has been a surge of companies offering dairy-free ice cream, cookies, chocolate bars, and more. These items used to be much harder to find, so it’s marvellous to have such a big selection of them now when I want a treat.

Thanksgiving Dishes I Can’t Cook

American Thanksgiving is only a few days away, so I thought I’d go a little off-topic and share something that wouldn’t normally fit into the scope of this blog.

I’m a perfectly serviceable baker and cook. The food I whip up isn’t fancy and it won’t appear on the cover of any magazine, but it tastes good and gets the job done 99% of the time.

As far as that other 1% goes, keep reading.

 The Pie Mystery

close-up photo of a fruit pie with a lattice crustI grew up in a family filled with people who made amazing pies.

Sometimes I’d help them work the dough or put the filling into the pie before baking.

Shortly after I got married, I decided to start making pies on my own. They’re such a delicious end to Thanksgiving dinner.

Unfortunately, the crust on my first pie burned. This trend has continued with every pie I’ve attempted to make since then no matter which tips and tricks I use to protect the crust while the filling firms up.

It’s gotten to the point where I will buy a nice pie for Thanksgiving without an ounce of remorse for not serving something homemade for dessert.

The Revenge of the Cornish Game Hens

close-up shot of roasted birdI live in a small household, so roasting a full turkey would create far more leftovers than our stomachs or our freezer could hope to handle.

One year I thought I might roast some Cornish game hens for Thanksgiving instead of a too-large turkey.

I followed the instructions of the recipe I found online perfectly. I even set timers to baste the birds so they’d be nice and juicy.

When the buzzer sounded on our oven, I opened it and checked the internal temperature of one of them. It was a little lower than the recipe said it should be, so I left it in a while longer.

When I took them out, they seemed to be hot enough to safely consume according to our meat thermometer.

It only took a few bites for my spouse and I to realize they weren’t fully cooked. We weren’t sure what the rules were about reheating half-cooked birds and so didn’t eat any more of them.

We were lucky not to get sick from that experience! Ever since then, I’ve shied away from roasting full birds of any size. It feels safer to only roast pieces of them instead.

Now that you know my two deepest Thanksgiving secrets, which Thanksgiving foods do you have trouble making?

In Pursuit of Justice: A Review of The Gest of Robyn Hode & Little Joan According to Alaina of Dale

Book cover for The Gest of Robyn Hode & Little Joan According to Alaina of Dale by T J Therien. Image on cover is of an arrow with a green background. Title:The Gest of Robyn Hode & Little Joan According to Alaina of Dale

Author: T J Therien

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: May 30, 2019

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical

Length: 83 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 3 Stars

Blurb:

The story as you know it is a lie. Discover the true origins of the Robin Hood legend in this fast paced Novella that takes our titular character back to the roots of the early ballads.

Review:

Content warning: violence, murder, and attempted rape. I will not be discussing these things in my review.

Everyone deserves justice.

I appreciated how courageous many of the characters were, especially when it came to fourteen-year-old Robyn and Wilma, the woman who saved her from a pretty dangerous situation in one of the earliest chapters. The era they lived in definitely wasn’t a kind one for women or anyone living on the margins of society for reasons I’ll leave up to other readers to discover for themselves. It was cool to see them look out for one another in an environment where drawing attention to oneself could have so many negative repercussions.

This story had a large cast of characters that I had trouble keeping track of. There simply wasn’t enough room for me to get to know everyone well enough to immediately know who they were and how they were connected to everyone else when they popped up again after not being part of the plot for a while. It would have been nice to focus on a smaller number of folks and maybe save the rest for a sequel, if such a thing is in the works.

Some of my favorite scenes were the ones showing how Robyn, Wilma, and the other people who met up with them worked together to solve problems that seemed insurmountable. These weren’t the types of folks who the money or social connections to pull strings behind the scenes. Every bit of justice they hoped to seek would only come about through cooperation, a ton of hard work, and maybe a little luck as well. Those are exactly the sort of heroes I enjoy reading about.

Anyone who loves the original Robin Hood tales should check out The Gest of Robyn Hode & Little Joan According to Alaina of Dale.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Funniest Things That Have Happened To Me

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

Wooden sign with polka dots and the words "did you smile today?" written on it I can’t wait to read everyone else’s stories! This is one of those WWBC topics I’ve been looking forward to all year long.

Story #1

My extended family is interracial and multiracial. Various versions of this conversation have happened multiple times over the years, and I hope I always see the amusing side of them.

(Yes, I do share relevant details with medical professionals or friends. I simply choose not to explain the intricacies of my family tree to every nosy stranger in the world).

Them: Who’s that person?

Me: They’re my <cousin, etc.>

Them: But they’re Black! <Cuban, etc.>

Me: They sure are.

Them: Okay, I get it. You’re biracial.

Me: No, I’m Caucasian.

Them: Are you sure about that? I mean, you do have curly hair.

Me: Yes, white people have curly hair, too.

Them: So are they biracial then?

Me: Nope. (Well, not in most cases).

Them: I’m confused. Are they your real <cousin, etc.>?

Me: Yep.

(repeat ad infinitum).

 

Story #2

This happened at the end of an exhausting holiday shift right before Christmas at a retail job I had years ago. Normally, I would have been much more responsive, but my brain was fried from the long hours, rotating shift work that made it impossible to get enough sleep, and frantic workflow for retail workers in the weeks and months leading up to Christmas. This customer had been inspecting our pans for a few minutes before she waved me over.

Customer: Excuse me, do you sell adamantium* pans?

Me: Sorry, we don’t sell them.

Customer: Do you know where I can adamantium pans?

Me: I honestly have no idea!

*That is to say, the fictional metal alloy used to coat Wolverine’s skeleton and claws in Marvel comic books. (And I still have no idea what she meant or why anyone would want to make baking pans from that material if it really existed).

 

 

Story #3

The most recent story of them all. A few years ago, I noticed a weird-looking mole slowly growing bigger on my body and decided to ask my dermatologist to take a look at it.

The dermatologist asked me a few questions about the history of the mole and then brought out some specialized tools to peer more closely at it.

He was silent for a moment and then exclaimed, “your mole is bland!” It looked a little odd,  but it wasn’t cancerous like I’d feared it might be.

I still chuckle at this memory ever so often. My name is Lydia, bearer of bland moles. Ha!

Why I Bounce Between Soft Sci-Fi and Hard Sci-Fi

This is a response post to Louise’s Why I Prefer Soft Sci-Fi.  Let’s start this conversation off with some quick definitions. Hard sci-fi is a sub-genre of science fiction that focuses on hard sciences like physics, math, chemistry, or astronomy that ask and answer objective questions. That is to say, there is only one correct… Read More

Flickering Hope: A Review of Richard Rex & the Succubus of Whitechapel

Title: Richard Rex & the Succubus of Whitechapel Author: Seth Tucker Publisher: Self-Published Publication Date: January 25, 2013 Genres: Science Fiction, Horror, Paranormal, Historical Length: 27 pages Source: I received a free copy from the author. Rating: 5 Stars Blurb: A murder in Whitechapel is not uncommon, but the state of the body requires someone… Read More