Thursday, February 28, 2013

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Guest L.Leander, Author of Inzared

The year is 1854.  Inzared Romanoff (better known as Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders) is entertaining a guest at her campsite in the woods.  There is a bright red and yellow Gypsy wagon called a Vardo parked nearby and a big black horse grazes in the meadow.  Inzared is a great cook and pretty good talker too.  Let’s eavesdrop on the conversation: 

Squirrel Stew and Dumplings

“Hi, my name is Inzared Romanoff.  Wasn’t always that way – grew up Bertha Maude Anderson but never was too fond of that name.  Always sounded plain and I wanted something fancy.  Was raised on a poor dirt farm in the Appalachian hills of North Carolina.  Dreamed of travelin’ and seein’ the world someday and now I have.”

“You see, in 1849 the circus came to Brower’s Gap, the town about three hours down the mountain – the place we traded and sold our eggs to the local storekeep.  Whole band of Gypsy circus performers came in and we got tickets to the show.  Never saw anythin’ so amazin’ in my life.  ‘Course, I was only sixteen at the time.”

“Sorry, I’m gettin’ away from the subject.  Do that a lot.  Pull up a chair to the campfire.  We’d love to have you stay for supper.  Timmon, that’s my boy, was out huntin’ earlier and came back with a couple of squirrels.  He’s already got ‘em dressed.   I make one of the tastiest stews around – my Ma taught me.  Here, let me show you how it’s done.”

“Here, you can help me take some of the meat off the bones.  Been boilin’ the squirrel for about an hour.  Should be tender by now.  Start on this here pan and be sure you get all the little bones out.  I’ll mix up the dumplin's.”

“Good job.  Put the meat back in the pot, won’t you?  There should be plenty of liquid but if it looks too low you can add a little water from that pitcher over yonder.   Looks good.  Now, I’ve been mixin’ flour and a little milk with a pinch of salt and some lard.  If they’re over mixed they get soggy and tough.  There, that should be just right.  See?  You just drop a big ole spoonful into the boilin’ stew and cover the pan.  After about a half hour or so it’ll be done and ready to eat.”

“Want to help me make a cobbler?  Emily found an apple tree and brought them back this morning.  You can help me peel the apples.  I’ll mix up the rest.  Oh, I forgot to tell you, stoke up that fire under the pot so the stew keeps boilin’.  Thanks.  Ok, now where were we?  Oh yes, I make a mighty fine cobbler.  A little butter, some salt and flour, baking powder and soda – but the secret is buttermilk.  I’ll make the dough.  Drop the apples in the bottom and stir in the sugar and butter.  There, that’s fine.  I’ll just add the dough on top and we’ll put a cover on it.  It goes on the side of the fire that’s burnin’ steady but not too high.  We’ll leave it there about an hour and we can have a pot of fresh coffee and the cobbler for dessert.”

“Don’t that smell good?  Makes your mouth water.  Let’s get some plates and utensils out.  The kids should be back shortly, I can hear ‘em laughin’ out yonder.  We don’t get much company for dinner.  Nice to have you here.  Where’d you say you were from again?  Never had squirrel stew?  Well, I’ll be.  You’ve got a real treat in store.  And I can guarantee you’ll love the apple pie too.”

“Just in case you want to make some squirrel stew of your own I’m goin’ to share it with you – and the fruit pie receipt too.  Y’all can come back any time – I sure enjoy the company.”

Squirrel Stew:,1848,157173-250195,00.html

Thanks for stopping by to share you food for thought, L! 

L.Leander is an author, freelancer and award-winning songwriter.  Her first novel, Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders was published in June of 2012.  The second book in the series, Inzared, The Fortune Teller is slated for publication in early 2013.  The author has also published a short non-fiction series titled 13 Extreme Tips for Writers, targeted to the beginning writer.

Ms. Leander manages a blog titled L.Leander’s Reviews and Interviews that offers book promotion to Indie Authors.  The author currently resides between Wisconsin and Mexico.

You can find L. Leander and her books here:

INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders by L.Leander

Video Trailer for INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders:

13 Extreme Tips to Self Publishing by L.Leander

13 Extreme Tips to Marketing an eBook by L.Leander

L.Leander’s Website:

L.Leander’s Reviews and Interviews:



Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Toastworthy Teen - Logan Robinson

 Logan Robinson, Pancreatic Cancer Awareness

Many people don’t know that not only is pancreatic cancer the 5th deadliest cancer in the U.S., but that it’s also the only one in that top 5 whose death rate has seen no significant decline in the past decade.

13-year-old Logan Robinson knew the tragedy of this all too well, having lost her father to the disease when he was only 33 years old. She also knew that when “people found out about breast cancer and raised awareness, that’s how all the funding for research got started.”

Putting that knowledge together with an eye-catching idea, Logan approached the CEO of a major furniture chain with a store in her hometown and asked him to dye the water in the Monroeville store’s large outdoor fountain purple to bring attention to National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness month. 

I think the best part of the story is the response from the company’s president:
“We loved the fact that [it] was suggested by a young person. It shows you that with a good idea, it doesn’t matter how young or old you are.” So true. :)

For more information on pancreatic cancer, here’s one great resource:

Do you know a toast-worthy teen you’d like to see featured here at BWATE? 

Comment below with your email address so we can get a post together!

Friday, February 22, 2013

FOODFIC: The Selection - Kiera Cass

I always read the back cover flap to *meet* the author whose book I’m about to read. Kiera Cass both looked fun and engaged me with her bio…until she declared her love of cake. Uh-oh. Everyone who knows me also knows how unkindly I feel toward cake (sorry, cake; it’s not you, it’s me). Suddenly the gorgeous cover gown looked too much like an elaborate pastry and it occurred to me that every meal beneath it could revolve around petit fours and other cloying confections. In other words, I began to worry it would all be just too sweet.

I shouldn’t have.

This actually turned out to be the 3rd book of the past year that I read in one sitting. It’d even be fair (and bad punning) to say I devoured it.

Not unlike America Singer, the story’s 16-year-old heroine who finds the food at the grand palace of Illea to be the best part of the Selection experience. Of course, that might have something to do with her tier-5 upbringing where food was almost a luxury for the family and they’d at times had to choose between electricity and groceries. Or perhaps it’s that America has no interest in the contest which she’s been brought to the palace to participate in – the one boasting a grand prize of marriage to Prince Maxon – because she’s still in love with a boy back home. Or maybe, just maybe, the palace steak is just that good – in America’s words, “so juicy, so tender, so flavorable. I wanted to ask someone if this wasn’t the best steak they’d ever had.”

What’s not to love about a dish (and book) like that? ;)