I got so hungry reading this book

The main point of Sourdough is: don’t obsess over technology, which is alienating and takes you out of the real world. Instead, obsess over food, which brings people together.

There’s probably something intelligent to say about the intersection of the two – after all, one of the subplots is about how the main character is using a robotic arm to help her make bread, and another character is using genetic sequencing to create the perfect super-food. The technology + food equation seems to work better when the technology is supporting the food, not when it’s an end in and of itself. But also, the food will be just fine without it.

Or maybe you could enjoy a sweet story about a young woman finding her way in the world and not worry about technology and food and underlying meaning. That would work too.

Crepes make delicious snacks

Gluten-free bread is expensive, and flavor is always kind of a crapshoot. It’s never really going to taste exactly like bread and different flours taste different. I like the bread I make from scratch.

But here’s the thing: making bread from scratch takes forever. Even (especially?) gluten-free bread. I’ve got a good recipe – that’s another post though.

So a couple of weekends ago, I was craving peanut butter. Normally, I’ll cut up an apple or cut a celery stalk and have some peanut butter. That was not going to work this time, because it turns out that I was craving a peanut butter sandwich. And of course – no bread in the house. (There’s almost never GF bread in the house.) Peanut butter tastes terrible on corn tortillas – don’t try it, just trust me – and so what to do?

The answer, my friends, is crepes. Crepes are quick to make, quick to cook, easy to eat (I had one with peanut butter while I was finishing cooking the batch, thus sating my craving), and then you have extra crepes around! At least for a bit until everyone else eats them. They go fast.

Gluten-Free Crepes

5.5oz ATK GF flour blend
1.5t sugar
0.25t salt
1.5c milk (the recipe calls for whole, we never have whole in the house, 1% works fine)
2 large eggs
2T unsalted butter, melted & cooled

Start heating a 10″ nonstick skillet over medium heat. We actually have a crepe pan, so if you have one, please use it instead. A skillet is a fine substitute and not having a crepe pan should not stop you.

Whisk the dry ingredients (which includes the sugar this time!) into a medium bowl. Mix the wet ingredients into another bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, whisk until all the lumps are gone.**

Once the pan is heated, pour about 0.25c of batter into the pan and swirl to get a thin, even layer of batter. (This is easily the hardest part of making crepes, and your first crepe is often kind of a mess. It’s ok, even if it looks bad, it makes a nice snack while you’re cooking the rest of them.)

Cook the crepe without moving until the edges are brown (about a minute). Gently slide a spatula around and under the crepe, loosening and then trying to flip. Cook until second side is lightly spotted – only about 30 seconds or so. Then transfer to a waiting plate. Repeat until your batter is done, placing one crepe on top of another.

This is the crepe recipe from America’s Test Kitchen’s How to Be Gluten-Free, which is a cookbook I HIGHLY recommend if you’re a gluten-free person like myself.

** Aside: I often mix the wet ingredients together in to a 4c pyrex measuring cup and then put the dry into the wet, to make the batter easier to pour into the pan.

Skippable bits and infidelity

rich people problems by Kevin Kwan

I never really understood Elmore Leonard’s writing advice: Try to leave out the parts people will skip. As a reader, I don’t skip parts of books; sometimes they’re slow and maybe I’ll skim some, but fully skipping has always seemed like a recipe for misunderstanding.

But Rich People Problems has skippable parts. The bits with Eddie. The bits with Kitty. They’re two characters who are so venal – they just grate on me. They’re funny in small doses, but a little bit goes a long way. There is FAR too much of them in this book. I ran an eye over those parts as I turned the page, so I didn’t miss any major plot points.

Otherwise, I think this is a fun, fine book. It’s made me want to visit Singapore and eat all the food there. It even explores many different types of infidelity, without doing it in an in-your-face, overly intellectual kind of way. (Does that make it trashy? Maybe.)

Recommended, if you liked the first two.

How to make mistakes

Sweetbitter

Sweetbitter is about a girl who moves to New York City to become a high-end waitress. This is a behind-the-scenes book about what it’s like to work in that world, and if you’ve read anything by Anthony Bourdain, you’ll already know the milieu this takes place in.

But it’s fiction, and it’s about a girl growing up. She’s finished college, and this is her path in life. It’s about her figuring out, if not her place in the world, the place she doesn’t want to be. There are stupid decisions about men, stupid decisions about friends, and stupid decisions about ingesting certain illicit substances. But many – most? – of us have made similar dumb decisions. The guy who is a bad idea but so hot. The friend who seems so sophisticated, but is emotionally stuck in a weird place. And you’ve never had too much to drink? I don’t think so.

I personally enjoyed this story because it was sensual without being over-the-top. It’s important to be good at your job. Tess’ job is knowing about food and wine – which makes for maybe some overeating whilst reading.

I like cooking. I like eating. I like savoring things, and I sometimes forget that in my overly busy, trying to be efficient world. Sweetbitter reminded me that savoring is a Good Thing.

Recommended.