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21 March 2011

Barefoot In Paris: Easy French Food You Can Make At Home, Ina Garten

I love French cuisine, and Ina Garten's 'Barefoot Contessa' is one of my favorite shows on Food Network.  I came across this cookbook while browsing the food section of my local library.

Cooking is one of my hobbies.  I love to make new dishes, and at 238 pages, Barefoot In Paris seemed a manageable guide to take on French food.  The cookbook is loaded with colorful photos, showcasing everything from finished dishes in great presentations to recommended kitchen equipment.  I enjoyed the stories throughout the text explaining where the recipe originated from and how Contessa has changed them.  A section on table setting was very helpful for using flowers, carrying a theme, and creating a relaxing atmosphere. 

Many of Ina's favorite dishes are very easy to prepare and use only a few ingredients.  In my mind, French cooking always loomed ahead as the ACME of ability (that I was absolutely NOT ready for), but after working through a number of the featured recipes, my confidence has grown by bounds.  Zucchini Gratin, Tomato Rice Pilaf, and Creme Anglaise are some of the dishes I've successfully made.  I attempted Boef Bourguignon, which was good, but honestly, this Broad thought it was not better than a pot roast slow cooked in my dutch over (and which only takes 10 minutes to throw on - and an occasional stir). 

There are a number of recipes I intend to test before returning it to the library.  Moroccan Couscous, Vegetable Tian, Elephant Ears, and a French Toast dessert make the list, as do Brioche bread, sauteed scallops, and a roasted lamb dish that makes my mouth water from looking at the picture. 

Barefoot In Paris is wonderfully done, and I would recommend it as a good choice for an introduction to French food and cooking.

12 March 2011

Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier

Eerie Suspense on the English Coast.......
Published in 1938 originally, Rebecca is one of those timeless novels worth re-reading.  Set mainly in England at the Manderlay estate on the coast, the story is presented in the first person by the young and impressionable new Mrs. Maxim De Winter.  Shy and plain, she internalizes every glance and spoken word, believing that she stands in the shadow of Rebecca, Maxim's first wife and the epitome of everything she, herself, is not.  Her journey, eerie and charged with the whisper of hidden, dark secrets, brings her to the revelation that self pre-occupation borne from insecurity leads one to blindness of the truth that is before us always.

Du Maurier's Rebecca is better today than when I read it as an adolescent.  The story winds slowly, twisting and turning through the labyrinth of impressions and lasting effects left behind by the departed from this world.  It contrasts the self doubt and awkwardness of youth and the vain debauchery of the beautifully young; the fear of the unknown to the horror of understanding.  It also exposes the effects of hidden hatred and the equally devastating consequences of hidden love.

At a certain point in the novel, I wanted to shake the backward, mousy Mrs. De Winter.  I wanted her to stake her claim on Maxim's heart and over Manderlay, but I patiently read on.  My reward was worth the wait, for when her strength was necessary, she delivered, drawing not on righteous indignation, but on depth of love, commitment, and the confidence and security that overflows at the certainty of being loved - of knowing where one belongs. 

The love affair between Maxim and his new bride is not the passionate perfection found in many modern novels.  It is the rending of the masks worn in hope of self preservation, the risk of placing one's self in the power of another, the hope of second chances.  There is a strong feeling of melancholy throughout the novel that this Broad admits I wouldn't welcome in all my reading, but it worked beautifully in Rebecca.

09 March 2011

Book Happy!

The fabulous Marie Treanor, author of the Awakened By Blood Series, sent the Brazen Broads a copy of her new novel, Blood Sin, the sequel to Blood On Silk, and we're giddy with anticipation to read it.  Blood Sin is due out in early April, and we'll be blogging about it just in time for its release, so look for that review and other gushing about the book then. 

Also, we'll be having Marie guest post here at the Brazen Broads Book Bash on April 19th, so keep your eyes peeled for that.  For any readers who haven't read her first Awakened By Blood novel, be sure to visit our review of Blood On Silk and for our interview with her, visit here.

05 March 2011

The Roots of Obama's Rage, Dinesh D'Souza

A Man's Actions Reveal His Ideology......
Dinesh D'Souza, president of King's College in New York City, former White House domestic policy analyst, and research scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, seeks to reveal the motivation behind the man, Barack Obama, President of the United States, in his latest book, The Roots of Obama's Rage. 

In the realm of politics, Obama is hailed as savior, accused of being a socialist, ridiculed as an idiot, and praised as a man of peace.  But who is Barack Obama?  D'Souza argues that none of these labels accurately depict the man behind the presidency.  Tracing Obama's life from early childhood on, D'Souza explores the profound impact the abandonment by his father had on Barack Obama, the journey that led him to Kenya, and the family there that introduced him to the man his father was.  The author then follows other significant relationships that shaped the young Obama along with educational and social influences. 

Using Obama's own words from the books, papers, and speeches he has offered, D'Souza uncovers the anti colonialist ideology which is the true passion of Barack Obama, an ideology adopted from the experiences of his father and revealed through his current actions as President of the United States of America.  D'Souza explains why Obama's policies are designed to weaken America's economy and military might, why a nuclear Iran is not unacceptable to the Obama administration, that our president views America as a rogue nation in need of censuring, and why America's super-power status is abhorrent to our elected leader. 

To fully understand the motives and subsequent implications of Barack Obama's policies, this Broad has compiled a list of books (find it below) taken from the works cited section of the book, which define and expound upon anti colonialism.  While not required to glean insight from D'Souza's book, they will add knowledge of the ideology itself and how and why it developed.  The Roots of Obama's Rage was quite interesting.  It is not a 'conservative bashing' of our president.  Rather, it is a journey into the heart and mind of one of the most powerful men in the world.  Whether one agrees with Barack Obama's plans or policies for our nation or not, we have a responsibility to know and understand them and the global effects they will produce.

Recommended Reading: (Includes books defining the topic and contrasting the ideology)
1)  Neocolonialism:  The Last Stage of Imperialism, Kwame Nkrumah
2)  American Exceptionalism, Seymour Martin Lipset
3)  Culture and Imperialism, Edward Said
4)  Shoal of Time, Gavan Daws
5)  Suffering Without Bitterness, Jomo Kenyatta
6)  Asia and Western Dominance, K.M. Panikar
7)  Writings of Frank Marshall Davis, Tidwell 
8)  The Colonizer and The Colonized, Albert Memmi
9)  Knowledge and Politics, Roberto Mangabeira Unger
10) Black and White, Shiva Naipaul
11) Rules For Radicals, Saul Alinsky
12) The Wretched of the Earth, Frantz Fanton
13) The End of Influence, Stephen Cohen and Bradford Long
14) The Post American World, Fareed Zakarla
15) Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism, Lenin
16) Orientalism, Edward Said
17) White Supremacy, George Fredrickson
18) Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flack Catchers, Tom Wolfe
~ This is in no way a complete list, but rather a place to start.  Watch for future reviews on selected titles from the list, as this Broad has decided to tackle a few!~


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