Thursday, August 4, 2016

What I've Been Reading: Pancakes, Espionage, and Burgers

Pancakes in Paris: Living the American Dream in FrancePANCAKES IN PARIS
Living the American Dream in France
by Craig Carlson

This was a really enjoyable memoir. Craig Carlson is living the dream with his Breakfast in America diner in Paris, but getting there required a heckuva lot of determination. First there was his dysfunctional family upbringing. Then there were the continual obstacles from acquiring backers to maneuvering the French legal system to overcoming the myriad headaches of running a restaurant in a foreign country. It is to Carlson's credit that he took a licking and kept on ticking ... and that he tells us about it in a sweet, humorous, wry style that never drags you into the doldrums. He made me think of Dory in Finding Nemo, "Just keep swimming." Surely that is the attitude he himself had to cultivate to overcome everything in his way.

I found his story greatly inspiring and gave it to my husband to read, knowing he'd be interested in the intricacies and insanity of French business. What is interesting is that as he reads, we have begun bringing up Pancakes in Paris to each other as a reminder that tenacity counts, that there is joy to be found in hard times, and that the connections in life can surprise you. And also that, if nothing else, even on our worst days at least we're not dealing with French business regulations.

Book provided by NetGalley. Opinions provided by me.

Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School, #1)ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE
by Gail Carriger

It's one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It's quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.
What a delightful book, especially as read by Moira Quirk. I was put onto this series by Jenny and Rose's conversation at Reading Envy.

Steampunk, vampires and werewolves are all part of this world, although the focus is really on the adventurous and unladylike Sophronia's adventures at finishing school. That's where one learns deception, espionage, and "the other sort" of finishing. Combining that idea with true Victorian sensibilities leaves lots of room for humor and Gail Carriger is masterful at the understatement which leaves one snorting with laughter (however unladylike that is).

I really cracked up when Sophronia has to go on the lam, steeling herself to the fact that her ankles are visible to all the world. And I now know how to disarm a werewolf using my two best petticoats. So there is that.

A lot of fun and I can't wait for the second book to get to my local library branch.

The Bob's Burgers Burger Book: Real Recipes for Joke BurgersTHE BOB'S BURGERS BURGER BOOK
Real Recipes for Joke Burgers
by Loren Bouchard

One of the delights every week on Bob's Burgers is seeing what the Burger of the Day is. They are all wonderfully punny and also give you a little insight into Bob, that frustrated, creative gourmet. Leave it to a blogger to begin coming up with actual burger recipes and then to the Bob's Burgers team to turn them into a cookbook.

Granted, I haven't tried any of the recipes yet, but a surprising number of them made my mouth water. There is an extraordinary amount of care put into this book, which many might think is a throw away marketing effort.

There's new art adapted to the burgers. There are jokes worked into introductions and the recipes themselves, which make it sound as if you're in the kitchen with Bob or the family. There are the recipes themselves, overseen and reworked by two culinary folks to be sure all the kinks are worked out.

All in all it both entertains and promises delicious meals to come.

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