Friday, July 24, 2009

EAT, Pray, Love

I used to have both a book blog and a food blog...but I couldn't keep up with both of them and do them justice (and now I have a garden blog and a walking blog and a photo blog, but I am meandering), so I gave up my book blog. You can look at it here if you want.
Since I don't have an outlet to talk about my books anymore, I will BREAK OUT once in a while and talk about them here, if you don't mind.

Last night my book club (one of them) met, and we had a nice evening of discussion and food. This particular book club comes with dinner/supper too. We were treated to a nice chicken pasta salad and bruschetta and tiamisu (which was wonderful... but I had to laugh when Wendy described it as being "labor intensive". I've never thought of tiramisu as "labor intensive", perhaps a long process, but not hard to do. Whatever she did tho, it was great.
I did not take pictures. I left my camera in my car. Up until last night, I was not sure that this group of friends "The Lit Wits" "got me." I thought perhaps they would think me odd when I whipped out my camera and snapped away--AT FOOD.
Last night was the final barrier, I reached a comfort zone and now it's "no holds barred". (I am hoping that is the correct phrase. All I need is an English teacher to read this blog and shutter at my incorrect usage of "quotation marks" and bad grammar. I know it already, so please, PLEASE, don't tell me )

Back to my book club meeting. The Lit Wits (that's our name) read "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert. Mixed reviews by the Lit Wits, but everyone LOVED the first part of the book which was "Eat" when Gilbert wrote about her time in Rome and all the great food she tasted.
She talked of Rome and food with such a passion that it made me want to be Italian, not just go to Rome, but actually BE Italian and experience life and food the Italian way. This led to me to wonder and I began to think of Love and Romance and Passion, in regards to food and travel, which led me to question which city really is the most romantic city in the world?
Paris has always been "the city of love", correct? But Rome....Rome......Rome just seems full of romance.
Which one do you think it is? Which one is the most romantic? Paris or Rome?

That question was asked last night.....well, a version of that question....if you could travel to a destination and live there for a year, where would it be? (Gilbert, the author, traveled to 3 countries in the course of a year and lived them and wrote about them)
I was kind of being a smart ass last night and I said Cyprus because it is the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love and Beauty!
I was trying to show off my sophistication or my awareness of traveling abroad (which I have never done, but I read a lot about it...ha ha ha) , or a better description would be my knowledge of trivial things. Things that are not important. But really, I've always had this affection for the Greek Gods, so why not travel to where they lived and breathed?

Just so you don't think "yeah, Debbie, sure you have always liked Greek Mythology" here is a picture of my bedroom wall.....filled with Goddesses.

A close up of Aphrodite herself.

And yes, there is a "nude" Goddess there.... Diana the Huntress (or Artemis, depending on either Greek or Roman Mythology). One of the three "virgin" goddesses.....

....and hanging from the bookshelf is a lace scarf.... I'm trying to make Donna from My Tasty Treasures proud.

Do you think Cyprus/the Greek Isles are as romantic and either Paris or Rome? What is the most romantic city?
I'm totally off track here for a "food blog", so in honor of Paris, the City of Love, I made FRENCH TOAST.

When I first got back from Connecticut (seeing my beautiful grand babies), I lay around like a sloth for a couple of days (jet lag AND "twin" baby-night feeding lag), and during this slothfulness of mine, I watched the Food Network the whole time, and Nigella came on one morning...Nigella Express.

Let me digress a bit here.... I'll veer off of romance and talk about sensuality. Sensuality; it's romance's 2nd cousin once removed, isn't it? Nigella makes food seem sensual!! Does anyone besides me and my husband ever notice this? She describes food in a very sensual way...and I'm not even sure her food is that great, but she makes it seem so by describing its "plumb loveliness" or "the glorious juiciness that squirts into your mouth" (I sound like Donna of My Tasty Treasures now. LOL That of course is a compliment to Donna )

And speaking of Donna from My Tasty Treasures...she gave me an award and a shout out! This was during my time away, and then it suffered thru my slothfulness afterwards. Donna had to "remind" me that she gave me an award.

I went and checked it out....she said such nice things about me.

Thanks Donna. Donna's blog My Tasty Treasures is one of my most favorite. Read it and then you'll understand why I compared her to Nigella. Sensual.

So there I sat, in my jammies in the middle of the afternoon (I'm exaggerating, because if anyone watches the Nigella, you know she comes on early Saturday mornings, but "in my jammies early Saturday morning" does not have the same ring of slothfulness to it) when Nigella made some "Yummy, gloriously, lip-smacking, Sensual French Toast". She made it sound like you HAD TO HAVE IT NOW, OR YOUR SENSUALITY WOULD BE LOST FOREVER. would never know the gratification of slowly, inserting that sweet, sticky, soft, crispy morsel in your mouth, if you didn't do it right now! She made her French Toast sound like it would wet your physical appetite and you would want more and more........ I began to "lust" after French Toast. Forget the Handy Man, give me French Toast!
So I got up the next morning and made some. And then I was over my slothfulness.

Nigella described her French toast as being just like a donut, because she put vanilla in the custard. I've done that for years, but I've never thought of it as a "donut" type of French Toast, but I guess it can be.
Growing up, my mother did not use vanilla or cinnamon in the custard, but I do. We like the cinnamon. I also don't like French Toast with little, thinly sliced, store bought white bread.
I like either French Bread or Texas Toast...big thick slices of bread.
But Nigella did something I've never done.... once the French bread was done, she tossed it with a fine white sugar.
It was good that way, I liked it....the Handy Man, hmmm, he likes things "as they always were."

I don't really have a recipe for "French Toast". Does anybody really?
I use mostly eggs, with a big splash of half and half or milk (whatever you have), a capfull of real vanilla extract and a shake or two of cinnamon.

Just eyeball your ingredients...depending on how many your are serving.

I used Texas Toast this time. I let it soak for a minute before turning.

And I did use a little bit of butter and oil. I know you can do it on a non-stick skillet WITHOUT the butter and oil, but I just like that little bit of crisper crust the butter gives. And it adds some taste, I'm sure. Butter equals good.

You cook one side until it looks about like this and then you flip it. A couple minutes each side.

If you want it exactly like Nigella does it, you take it off the hot pan and dredge it in sugar.

Mmmmmm.....sugar and butter. I could probably eat it just like this.

But a little bit of strawberry syrup is good too!

Conclusion? It was good French Toast. But as sensual as some other things? Not really.
Paris or Rome? Which is it? Or, go out on a limb and tell me your most romantic city.


Karen said...

"plumb loveliness" or "the glorious juiciness that squirts into your mouth"

Oh, my. I don't need french toast... I need a cigarette.


~Jess said...

I don't know if you have, but I recommend reading A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle...the whole book is about the food in Northern Italy.

Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

I read Eat, Pray, Love last year and I adored it. The movie version is coming out next yr starring Julie Roberts. I hope they don't ruin the book. I'd pick Greece too, even tho I'm Sicilian (Shhh don't tell my Dad, lol)

Donna-FFW said...

Hahaha.. Love your post. Lace scarf, nice touch. Your innuendos were wonderful. Thank you for your kind words.

I have bever added vanilla for my French Toast, Ill try that next time.

teresa said...

i have that book on my list, it looks good! do you get on it's a great website for readers.

the french toast looks mouthwatering!

Katy ~ said...

I read the book a while back and have lukewarm feelings about it. Did love all the food discussion though (no big surprise LOL).

I use vanilla in my French toast as well. Love French toast!

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