Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Baguettes inspired by Passing Love by Jacqueline E. Luckett {book tour}


Passing Love

Author: Jacqueline E. Luckett
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; original edition
Source: TLC Book Tours
soft cover: 320 pages

"foodie" elements:  Yes, though not in the forefront.  I found them woven deliciously throughout the story.  Food is definitely a supporting factor.

random excerpt:  Instead, she'd bought cheese, bread, chicken rubbed with tarragon, and crispy roasted potatoes from a vendor on rue de Buci.  She didn't care that the food was so basic, so American.  She cared that she spoke French when she ordered and the man at the deli complimented her simple sentences.  Straightforward entertaining seemed appropriate.  (p.287)

summary/synopsis (from TLC):  Nicole-Marie Handy has loved all things French since she was a child. After the death of her best friend, determined to get out of her rut, she goes to Paris, leaving behind a marriage proposal. While there, Nicole chances upon an old photo of her father—lovingly inscribed, in his hand, to a woman Nicole has never heard of. What starts as a vacation quickly becomes an unexpected adventure.

Moving back and forth in time between the sparkling Paris of today and the jazz-fueled city filled with expatriates in the 1950s, PASSING LOVE is the story of two women dealing with lost love, secrets, and betrayal . . . and how the City of Light may hold all the answers.
my thoughts/review:  I found myself drawn in by Luckett's use of Paris in the past and Paris in the present.  Through the use of two points of view (Nicole and Ruby) as well as letters tucked seamlessly into the chapters from important supporting characters and interesting historical fiction, she lifted me out of my comfortable chair and onto the streets of Paris (both in the 1950's and modern-day).

I also enjoyed the journey of self-discovery for both Nicole and Ruby as one discovered family secrets brought on by the other.  There's not a family out there without their secrets, and I think that's what makes their story relate-able...even if you're secrets are not the same.

And of course, I loved Luckett's use of food as a trigger of memories-from-home, such as when Ruby and Arnett walk from the club to rue de Seine and the Hôtel La Louisiane where the "scent of down-home cooking leaked from the lobby and into the street -- beans and rice, mustard greens, and hot grease that had fried one too many chickens".  Or Ruby's remembrances of New Orleans and their "lima beans with rice and ham hocks big as fists".

Don't worry, she also weaves the food of Paris into the novel, such as Nicole's view into a tiny, crowded terrace and restaurant on the streets of Paris... "Baked goods perfumed the air...diners sipped wine and coffee, and lunched on salads and sandwiches dripping with gooey cheese.  A mother sipped a beer with one hand and, with the other, rocked her child crackled in a car seat atop the bar".

I would recommend this to those who enjoy novels about food, romance, historical fiction, black history, and/or Paris.  It was a well-written novel.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.

about the author:  After leaving the corporate world, Jacqueline took a creative writing class on a dare, from herself, and began writing short stories and poetry and never looked back. Her essay, “Traveling with Ghosts,” was included in Best Women’s Travel Writing 2011. She is the author of two novels, Passing Love and Searching for Tina Turner.

further info: website | blog | facebook | twitter

I wanted to make something inspired by Passing Love, so I decided on something that I can't help but think of when I think of France...a Baguette.  This was the passage that sealed it...

Nicole lit a third cigarette and puffed until she was cloaked in smoke.  She paced, fluffed sofa pillows, rearranged guidebooks on the bookshelf, set dishes in the kitchen, poured a glass of rosé, slathered cheese on a baguette, contemplated the screeching birds, possibly bats, flapping in the night sky. (p.124)
Baguette

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Keywords: bake bread vegan

Ingredients (1 baguette)
Instructions
Place dough onto a floured surface. Dust lightly with flour and have some more flour ready for your hands.

Working dough as little as possible, form into a 14-inch cylinder. Add more flour as needed. Smooth surface with your hands to get a soft skin that isn't sticky. Pinch seams together and pinch ends to a point.

Sprinkle a baking peel or cookie sheet without sides with a good amount of cornmeal and set cylinder of dough on top. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest at room temperature for 40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450° F after first 10 minutes of rise time. Place a baking stone in center of oven and a broiler pan on the bottom shelf.

Make three evenly spaced diagonal slahes, ~½" deep, across the baguette, using a serrated knife.

Working quickly, slide baguette off of peel and onto baking stone. Add HOT water to broiler pan (this is for steam) and quickly close the oven door.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until crust is golden (center of loaf will register at least 190° F). Cool on wire rack.

adapted from 200 Fast & Easy Artisan Breads
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WIN A COPY of PASSING LOVE
The publisher has graciously offered a copy of Passing Love to one of my readers.  If you'd like to win a copy, simply let me know in the comment section of this post.  Only those with shipping addresses in the USA or Canada are eligible to win.  Submissions due by 11:59 pm (Eastern) on Sunday, July 22.  I will draw a winner at random from those who entered.  Please make sure I have a way of contacting you!


Update (7/23/12): And the winner by random draw (numbered comments who wanted to win book in order received - my comments go bottom to top) is.... Cathy - Congratulations!


*I received a free copy of this book to review from the publisher.  All thoughts and opinions stated in this post are 100% mine.

I am sharing this post with:
Yeastspotting
BBD #52: French Bread hosted at Cindystar
BYOB 125 x 125 tlc-tour-host weekend cooking fr2button BBD #52 - French Bread