books

I Devour My Favorite Books

“Reading and eating are natural companions, and they’ve got a lot in common. Reading is consumption. Eating is consumption. Both are comforting, nourishing, restorative, relaxing, and mostly enjoyable. They can energize you or put you to sleep. Heavy books and heavy meals both require a period of intense digestion. Just as reading great novels can transport you to another time and place, meals — good and bad ones alike — can conjure scenes very far away from your kitchen table. Some of my favorite meals convey stories of origin and tradition; as a voracious reader, I devour my favorite books.” (Dina Fried, Food and Fiction)

The other day, as I scanned the library shelves for something new to read, I came across Heidi Julavits’ The Folded Clock which I judged entirely by the cover only and thus ended up issuing. Thankfully, the old adage proved utter bullcrap because this book, with its pretty blue patterned cover, is a, dare I say it, complete beauty! I love Heidi. I wish we could be friends. On second thought, her success would probably frighten me. This is because over the span of a couple pages,  I’ve become a huge fan of her writing. Why can’t I write like that? (I’m not fishing). Heidi’s prose is so human and so refreshing. You see, The Folded Clock is a diary which means we are given access to Heidi’s frank, funny, and surprisingly relatable musings. Her thoughts (often irrational) hit close to home for me. Unlike some authors I’ve read, Heidi isn’t pretending. She writes what her overworked mind (much like yours or mine) thinks.
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“I am a jack-of-all-trades. I edit and teach and at times desire to be a clothing designer or an artist (one who doesn’t draw or paint or sew) and I write everything but poetry and I am a mother and a social maniac and a misanthrope and a burgeoning self-help guru and a girl who wants to look pretty and a girl who wants to look sexy and a girl who wants to look girly and a woman in her middle forties who wishes not to look like anything at all, who wishes sometimes to vanish.” (Heidi Julavits, The Folded Clock: A Diary)
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The Importance of Food Presentation by me.
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I just wanted to say I liked The Berry Shop before it was this busy!
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Soroosh’s mom taught me this salad. I think it’s so tasty. Recently, I made it for my family and they also agreed.

1 pound boiled chicken, chopped small
3-4 large stalks of celery, chopped (leaves included)
1 cup red grapes, halved
½ cup roasted walnuts, chopped
handful of fresh mint, torn
2 gherkins, diced small
1 cup greek yoghurt
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix until just combined.
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My family’s favorite foodie place in all of NZ is ZAB Thai Food Takeaway (except for my dad since he can’t handle spicy food). Oh man, it’s so good. It’s so good that I considered not posting about it. You know, in case it gets super popular and it becomes not good anymore. #padthaigamestrong

Speaking of strong food games, HERE are 8 Japanese foodie Instagram’s y’all should follow!

Healthy Hot Cacao with a Holiday Reading List

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As berries and all-things-summer have recently occupied the majority of my blog space, I feel that is an appropriate time I do a post dedicated to my followers living in the Northern Hemisphere – where the world is cold and the berries are not born yet. I don’t know about you but I believe there are fewer pleasures in winter than a hot cup of aromatic hot chocolate. Add a snugly blanket and a good read and you’ve the perfect night in.

Instead of making my hot chocolates from sugary powders (available at your local supermarket) I make my variety using simple and wholesome ingredients. I like to add a little extra sumthin’ sumthin’ to mine but if you prefer a classic taste, simply omit the spices.

1 cup almond milk
2 tsp raw cacao powder*
pinch of cinnamon
some orange zest
1 tsp coconut sugar

Simply warm the milk, cacao powder, cinnamon and orange zest on medium heat.

Once hot, stir in the coconut sugar and serve.

*Raw cacao powder, dissimilar to processed cocoa powder contains a higher concentration of antioxidants than any other food we now know of! In addition to helping calm our nervous systems, and regulating our heart rate, cacao is a feel-good food as it boosts our mood producing phenylalanine – this is the same chemical our bodies produce when we’re in love! No wonder we’re gaga over chocolate!

Now, a million and one book bucket lists can be found over the internet: books to read before you die/reach the age of 30 (or is that the same thing?)/lose your eyesight/eat your breakfast etc. etc. And of course, everyone’s taste is different so I don’t really know why I’m doing this but, I’m thinking maybe food isn’t your thing (in which case what are you doing here?!) and I want to cater to a larger audience (I’m starting to doubt if I’ve any true followers) so I’ve complied a short reading list of my current favourites:

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Because every woman can see at least a little piece of themselves in Elizabeth Gilbert. Who hasn’t felt the pain of heartache? Of loneliness? Of depression? Who hasn’t felt fat? Unwanted? dysfunctional? In need of spirituality and order? Who doesn’t want to escape reality and run away to Italy to gorge in pizza margaritas and pastries? Who doesn’t want to find and fall in love and have the love reciprocated (this is important) with a mysteriously chiseled Brazilian man in Bali? Hands down, every woman needs to read this. No wonder it has sold over 8 million copies world wide. So incredibly packed with endless wisdom (Rumi, Hafiz, ancient proverbs and of course Elizabeth Gilbert’s own brilliance), this book is ingenious.

How To Be Parisian: Wherever You Are by Anne Berest, Caroline De Maigret, Audrey Diwan and Sophie Mas

This book is a collection of essays revolving around “French secrets” on everything from making your boyfriend jealous to the ideal way of approaching fashion, cooking, weddings and the gym. I opened it to the middle and was instantly smacked in the face with profundity and humour: “Never wear your glasses, especially if you’re nearsighted. That way, you won’t have to acknowledge people you know. You’ll have that aloof look, the one that seduces men (but annoys women because they see right through you).” Oh my goodness. How To Be Parisian is raw, real, insightful, contemporary and hilarious.

Why Men Love Bitches by Sherry Argov

Firstly, don’t let the frivolous title put you off. The “bitch” in this book is not to be taken too seriously. Rather, the title is an “endearing word for a woman who is polite but communicates directly with a man as humans do…”. This book was recommended to me by the most sweetest Irish girl. She claimed it was life-changing and to be honest I doubted her. No offence but aren’t the majority of these sort of books rubbish? Not this one! Instead of focusing on superficial elements such as what one should wear, what one should say or how one should style their hair in order to have a successful relationship, Argov empowers women. With such advice as “it is your attitude about yourself that a man will adopt” and “if the choice is between her dignity and having a relationship, the bitch will prioritise her dignity above all else”, this book is pure feminist gold. So what are you still doing here? Go read it!

Ah, dear me. All three books are aimed at women. Sorry boys. Seems I’ve failed at extending my audience… Unless you like to cook and be healthy then please stay and enjoy the hot chocolate. X