Okay, it is, but it's not a review review,
this is more of a love letter, to this book, My Nepenthe.
Dear My Nepenthe, I fell in love with you the first time I read about you in Sunset Magazine, Sunset called you a valentine to one of the most beautiful places to eat in the world- Nepenthe Restaurant in California's Big Sur.
We were planning a road trip up through Big Sur and I made a mental note to stop at one of my favorite places on the coast, Nepenthe. This time to purchase a copy of you for my own. Not giving too much thought to the future, we passed by on our way north, reasoning we'd have plenty of time on the way home to stop. It turns out, we did, almost three hours time before The Phoenix was to open that Sunday morning. Of course we didn't have to wait, I could have added you to my Amazon cart or gone to my favorite local bookseller. But I could see you in the window.
You were beautiful.
So, we waited. And now your mine. You are everything I love about a book, the content being the obvious start, but... there is the extraordinary feel of your pages, what kind of paper is that your wearing? I carry you around all day, taking peeks inside, teasing out all your treasures. There are many, indeed. Recipes, family history, photos, oh so many gorgeous photos.
I can't remember the last time I had such a crush on a book.
Romney Steele the author of My Nepenthe has much to be proud of. I am proud of her and I don't know her.
I hope she won't mind if I quote her...
"My Nepenthe is a story about food, family, and the culture of place, and how it all unfolds around the table and why that matters."
Would you like to fall in love with My Nepenthe too? All you have to do is leave a comment telling me you don't think I'm crazy for falling in love with a book, or, just leave me a comment and I'll choose a winner (pull a name out of a hat or some such fair thing).
Before you go, a recipe from my lovely, um Romney's lovely book,
Pumpkin Spice Cake
(Bohemian Wedding Cake)
1 cup whole-wheat flour (not pastry flour)
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin puree (about 1 3/4 cups)
1/4 cup molasses
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
Sour Creme Frosting
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
About 2 cups confectioners' sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan, knocking out any excess flour.
For the cake, combine the whole-wheat flour, white flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, stir together the oil and brown sugar, mixing well. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla. Mix in the pumpkin puree and then the molasses. Stir in the dry ingredients, mixing until thoroughly incorporated. Stir in the raisins and walnuts.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake about 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes, then invert and cool completely.
For the frosting, mix the cream cheese, sour cream, and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth. Sift in the confectioners' sugar and mix well. It should be thinner than a typical cream cheese frosting.
Place the cake on a cake plate. Spread a thin layer of frosting on top and all over the side. Freeze any leftover frosting, or reserve for muffins or cupcakes.p.s. Romney will be in Santa Barbara on December 3rd, for her book. I'll try to have it signed for the lucky winner. Good Luck!