I'm such a sucker for a good New York City story.
I admit it. I'm mildly obsessed with what life in NYC must be like ... maybe that's the case for many of us relegated to life in the flyover states. A glimpse into family life, mothering, and business in the Big Apple first drew me in to Sarah Pinneo's newest release: Julia's Child: A Novel , but I soon found myself quite smitten with the story as it unfolded.
I've gotten to know Sarah through her generous offer to share some words with y'all through a few guest posts here. I knew she had a book releasing this year, but once I saw what the book was about, I knew I would be right up my alley.
The back cover describes Julia's Child as "A delectable comedy for every woman who's ever wondered if buying that six-dollar box of organic crackers makes her a hero or a sucker." Yep! That would be me. From the first few pages, I was under the story's spell.
Y'all know that I don't read a lot of fiction, so this was a much-needed change of pace for me. In its pages, Sarah introduces us to Julia Bailey - a mother of two in NYC whose dream of launching an organic and whole food line of baby and toddler food is finally taking off. Julia and her only other employee - a single mom named Marta - are a two-woman show working around-the-clock to bring Julia's vision to life.
After Marta bumps into a celebrity hostess of a popular morning show, Julia and her line of organic foods are featured on TV and the company takes off as Julia's home life begins to buckle under the strain.
I found myself immediately identifying with the character of Julia in so many ways. She's far from perfect - she sometimes curses in front of her children, she worries over selling out to corporations, and she struggles with how to handle food-dye nightmares like Halloween. She's an idealist, but she's an idealist who has to come to terms with the reality of the true cost of dreams coming true. Sarah really taps into the struggle of early motherhood that I know so many women will identify with in Julia's character - how much can you give to your dream and much must you save for your family?
The writing is so funny - plenty of clever turns on popular culture as well as gentle pokes at the world of crunchy living. One thing I truly appreciated is that the pacing is fast and the plot twists are unexpected. I think that's why I don't read fiction much - some of it moves a bit too slowly for me. Not the case at all with Julia's Child!
The most delicious feature of the book, however, is that through the chapters are sprinkled real food recipes like Squash-Carrot-Raisin Muffet Bread and whole wheat gingerbread playdough and Mac and Cheese with Plenty of Dairy. Also included is the recipe for Apple and Cheddar Muffets which I get to share with you today!
APPLE AND CHEDDAR MUFFET from Julia's Child
1 very large apple or 2 small ones
2 T. butter
2/3 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. cornmeal
2 T. granulated sugar
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 c. whole milk
1 c. sour cream
1 1/2 c. grated cheddar, divided
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Generously grease and flour 12 muffin cups.
Peel and core the apples and dice finely. If your toddler is helping, peel and slice an extra one to share. If you play your cards right, he or she will be busy eating the apple slices while you're measuring out the dry ingredients.
In a small skillet, melt the butter and saute the apple until tender and just beginning to brown, about 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, sour cream, and 1 cup of the cheese. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients; then add the apples and butter. Stir just to combine.
Spoon into prepared tin, and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until very brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffets comes out clean.
Cool for 10 minutes on a rack. Loosen muffets by ringing their edges with a plastic knife. Turn them gently onto a plate. Serve warm or room temperature.
And as another sweet treat, I get to give one copy of Julia's Child to one of you! (Open to US residents only. Sorry, international friends!)
All you have to do is leave me a comment. How about tell me your favorite thing to eat when you were a kid?
One comment will get you an entry. Giveaway ends February 15th.
Happy eating and happy reading, friends!
GIVEAWAY CLOSED! Winner is Robin. Congratulations!