Monthly Archives: February 2021

Outlander Kitchen: To the New World and Back Again: The Second Official Outlander Companion Cookbook by Theresa Carle-Sanders

Outlander Kitchen: To the New World and Back Again: The Second Official Outlander Companion Cookbook by Theresa Carle-Sanders

Carle-Sanders, Theresa. Outlander Kitchen: To the New World and Back Again: The Second Official Outlander Companion Cookbook. Delacorte, 2020. ISBN 978-1984855152 352 pp. $35


Arranged by type of dish (appetizer, entree, salad, dessert, beverage), the second companion cookbook to the popular historical fiction series Outlander, each recipe opens with a quote from any of the popular books by Diana Gabaldon that referencing a meal, dish or ingredients, and then the chef’s interpretation of the dish, with notes on how it was modernized and tips for accommodating gluten-free, dairy-free and meat-free preferences. The recipes begin and end with basic recipes you might incorporate into other dishes (Mayonnaise, Simple Syrup, Preserved Lemons) and closes with condiments and preserves (Rachel Murray’s Dill Pickles, Prepared Horseradish, Brandied Peaches) for

Origins of the dishes range from Native America (Young Ian’s Grilled Succotash) to classic French (Coq au Vin, John Grey’s Yorkshire Pudding) to Spain (Ropa Vieja) to Scotland (Scotch Broth), to England (Shirred Eggs in Butter), Cuba (Cuban Black Beans and Rice, Cassava Bread) to American (Cornbread, Johnnycake, Savannah Clam Chowder, Beans Baked with Bacon and Onion). The photos are mouth-watering, the ingredients easily accessible, and the dishes are all things I’d like to eat. I can’t wait to try the mushroom pate (which combines green lentils, walnuts and button mushrooms for a savory, umani, “meaty” spread) and an easy GF Press in Crust of oat and rice flours with oil or melted butter.

In many cases, the entries have some historical context, like an explanation of typical plants in the new world or the shift to a hog and hominy (pigs and corn diet), and suggested food pairings that reference other recipes in the book. The volume concludes with an essay about eighteenth century diet and cookery in the Highlands and the New World, that touches on locally grown and sourced versus imported delicacies; the rarity of sugar; the practice of keeping kitchen gardens; diet variations by class; the typical layout of a croft versus a castle kitchen; food security; and cooking equipment.

The Pantry Notes at the beginning explain substitutions, conversions for international kitchens and a legend for defining the type of recipe, which might be GF (gluten-free) or VGN (vegan) as written; the notes for further adaption are at the end of recipe, giving a wonderful feeling of inclusion to each dish. I’m nominally kosher, so I skimmed the section on pork, but it’s nice to see that I could make dishes that contain meat and dairy by substituting oil for butter or a cream made from nuts and seeds for sweet or savory cream.

An introduction from Herself endorses the book and wishes bon appetit! (in Gaelic, of course) to the readers, while the author’s introduction explains how her blog and cookbooks came to be. The index is mostly an alphabetical listing of dishes (not ingredients) but makes it easy to quickly find all the vegan or gluten-free recipes/adaptations.

With recipes for Mushroom Catsup, Mocktapus with Tomatoes and Olives, and Vegan Sausage Rolls (no fake meat!), the book has appeal to foodies and hipsters, and also contains family dinner options (Chicken & Cornmeal Stew, Broccoli Sallet with Radishes and Vinegar, Herb Roasted Salmon). I can only assume that all the herring recipes were in Volume One, and my only disappointment is there is no whiskey in the Scotch broth, but that’s my silly expectation, and not a reflection of how it’s actually made.

Great purchase for large libraries, cookbook collectors, or fans of all things Jamie and Claire.

The Pick-Up: A Music Festival Meet-Cute by Miranda Kenneally

The Pick-Up: A Music Festival Meet-Cute by Miranda Kenneally

Kenneally, Miranda. The Pick-Up: A Music Festival Meet-Cute. Sourcebooks, 2021. ISBN 978-1492684169 304 pp. $10.99


When Mari and TJ, both visiting Chicago for the weekend to attend the Lollapalooza music festival, meet by chance on an Uber-like share, they are not looking for love. Shy graffiti-artist TJ never scores with girls, and Mari, still struggling to cope with her parent’s divorce, doesn’t want to be in any relationship and face the risk of hurting someone else. Their attraction is quick–hearts on fire–and they agree to hang out, get separated, reconnect, and are unsure whether this is a weekend fling or Something More. Meanwhile, Mari needs to come clean about her increasingly abusive mother and her anger over her dad’s affair, while TJ needs to stop comparing himself to his super cool brother and come into his own. The two teens find a safe space to confide in and support one another.

Supporting characters, like bro Tyler and Mari’s friend Austin and stepsister Sierra are fully realized. Mom, Dad, and Leah, more peripheral, have less body. Kenneally lands lightly on topics like abuse and affairs, but highlights consent and mutual pleasure in relationships very strongly. The ending is neatly wrapped up in this quick and satisfying YA read.

I got a free pre-pub copy of #ThePick-Up from #NetGalley.