Thursday, November 19, 2009

not a book review, yes, a giveaway

This is not a book review.

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).

And for heaven's sake, please go to here, here or here, for a proper review,(you will see that My Nepenthe won Best Regional Cookbook for 2009 by Epicurious). I told you, I am not a book reviewer. :)

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

pinch salt

1 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed

2 eggs

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!

♥ lori


  1. Oh yes, I love to fall in love! Of course #1 is never ever picked in a drawing but I will do this anyways...just because, falling in love with books is a beautiful thing and your name is Lori ann!

  2. Oh. Lovely. And the cake sounds divine too....YUMMMEEEEEEEEE. I hope you get to meet her, I have a feeling that you will.xx♥

  3. I meant to add, that I can actually feel the vibe of that beautiful place all the over here. Head is not screwed on tightly today. Sigh.

  4. Oh that recipe looks VERY good, so if the rest of the book is as delicious then I would love to be in the draw for a chance....thank you for being so generous with such a lovely book !

  5. That cake does sound delicious!
    I hope you get to meet her when she's in the area.

  6. Does the book come with a free trip to Big Sur Lori (he he). Hope smiles4u wins as she was the first comment♥ but then again......!

  7. If you feel up to posting MORE things to Botswana, do enter me into your lovely draw! I totally agree with you that books are entirely lovable, and both the book and the location seem to be a brilliant combination here :)

    Just been catching up, and loved your last post about the Christmas stockings - of course they will feel all that love, and they will be so excited to have special presents from so far away. They won't forget you, Lori!

    PS, the romantic getaway post was gorgeous, too x

  8. falling in love with a book?? well then call me crazy sister friend LOL cos i have a love affair with many a book, i adore them, they are after all gems are they not?
    This book sounds wonderful.
    But i like you even more <3
    Hope you are feeling more like your wonderful self.

  9. This is the first time I saw you wrote a recipe in an entry (or have I missed any before?)To me that's a sign that you're in love with the book. No, you're not crazy for falling in love with a book. I've been there too.

  10. That's a kind of passion I can relate too! Would love this!

  11. Love the review!! And Nepenthe - one of the most magical places on the planet, I'm sure of it. Even the name is magic.

  12. one of the greatest simple things in life is falling in love with a book... it will love you back unconditionally...cheers to loving a book! Sounds like this one is exceptional...

  13. It sounds beautiful Lori.


  14. Lori,
    Don't you just LOVE when you find a book that is so delicious that you just dont' want it to end?? Sounds like you just had that relationship yourself. : )

    I am going to bake that cake cause just reading the recipe had me smelling the yummy spice that is so Thanksgiving. Glad you crushed on this ...

  15. Hi Lori...
    there are thousands of blogs in blogland, but yours shines like a guiding star.
    I've just returned (last night) from an awesome country break and have really enjoyed catching up on your beautiful posts this morning.
    love to you
    Ribbon :)

  16. The boss says that the best thing about books is how they make your imagination take to new worlds, times and experiences.

    How can you not fall in love with something that can do that?

    Bit like a blog ;-)ad

  17. god, lori, i wish someone would write me a love letter this lovely and passionate and adoring!

    i would consider this the best review that could ever be written for a book! i am praying i win a copy and if i don't i'll buy one just because of your love affair.

    what ribbon said about your blog:
    ditto and likewise. i love your blog. i love you!

    thank you goddess for the gift of a good book and the gift of a good friend...


  18. Dear Lori,
    i haven't heard that before, I wish i had a book for everyone, but the draw will be fair! thank you for the sweet comment.
    Dear Natsy,
    I hope your right, it will be nice. Please take care. I'll write you.
    Hi Sally Anne,
    I think you'd love the book, it's really lovely. And yes, the recipes are wonderful.
    Hi Meagan,
    I hope so too. I love book signings, especially when you love the book so much.
    Hi Linda,
    I wish! I also wish I had a book for everyone!
    Thanks so much Karen,
    I sent it last monday, crossing my fingers it'll get there in time. I do wish I could see their faces!
    I'll put your name in the draw, no worries. ☺
    Dear Michelle,
    good. I confess then, I am in love with all my books. But this one is my new favorite. I am almost back to me. Thank goodness.Thank you so much for the wishes love.
    I think your right, I love to cook and reading cookbooks is a passion too. I don't know why I haven't written before. I'm glad to hear you feel the same, loving books so much.
    it's a gorgeous book, i'll put your name in the hat!
    I love the name, Nepenthe. Means no sorrow. One of the best places on the planet. Thanks.
    Northern Teacher,
    yes, i believe that is the truth. I've loved everyone I've had (still have my childhood ones). This one is very special, a keeper.
    It is dear Renee. It really is.
    that's it exactly, when it's so good you don't want it to end. I'll read a bit at a time, it's that kind of a book. Really special.
    i'm glad your back, and that you had a wonderful time. I'm humbly grateful for the kindness of your words.gosh.
    An English Shepherd,
    you have a very smart boss and you are a lovely puppy. Thank you.

  19. kj,

    thank you.
    I loved your book. It is a beautiful story that made me cry. It's one i'll reread over and over. And in the meantime hope for #2?

  20. I love cookbooks! Count me in. This cake just might make it to Thanksgiving! Thank you, Lori.

  21. lori, i'm absolutely hoping to be one of your blog buddies and one of your good friends forever and ever. i would like nothing better.


  22. Dear Lori,
    that book does sound lovely, but I don`t want to be drawn! It is always the trouble with American recipes for me - we can`t buy the ingredients here! No canned pumpkin! No different flour sorts, you name it (what is clover?)! On the other hand, you don`t have Quark or Marzipan to roll out. So when I`ll write my cookbook for you and Val, I don`t know if it will be of much use for you! So just let me enjoy reading your post about it, and I`ll be happy for the winner! Oh yes, and I share your devoted love of books!!

  23. There is nothing better than a book that lures and captivates you - books about food and places have a propensity to do just that. They help inspire, create and hold wonderful memories! So glad you got your special book! x

  24. Hi Lori, thanks for coming to my blog and leaving your sweet comment. This book sounds yummy :-). I read in your profile that you are a loner, but laughed when you said you have 5 kids :-). Have a wonderful weekend, xoxo

  25. Okay Nancy! that's what I was thinking too, something a little different, since we have a birthday then also.
    kj, xoxo :)
    cloves are a spice, shall i send you some? I know what you mean about coming up with certain ingrediants, i usually make substitutions with no problem. We do have marizapan and quark, but i have to go to the import store (which can be a LOT of fun). I wonder if cream cheese or ricotta can be substituted for it? my problem is converting from metric.simple, but when your lazy like me..., ok, i won't add your name :)
    Thanks Nicky,
    the lengths one will go to sometimes. I've spent the grocery money on a book i HAD to have, so you can live on just love it seems. :)
    Thanks Annie, you too!

  26. If I called you "crazy" for "loving" your book, I would be quite the hypocrite. I too, have picked up many books over the years after visiting places that have captured my imagination. Most recently, a collection of recipes from the townspeople of Shelburne, Nova Scotia called 'Dock Street Flavours'. Every time I flip thru the pages seeking out some new temptation, I can hear the cry of the Seagulls above the ocean waves. It sounds like a marvelous read fraught with tasty and colorful memories!

  27. I spent my entire life falling in and out of love with books. From "nancy drew" to "choose your own adventure" and "sweet valley high, my love of reading continued to grow. until I went back for my PhD, where I have been for the last 5 years, and I no longer really get to read for pleasure. I havent had the opportunity to fall in love with my current reads, but cant wait to find myself truly absorbed in another book someday soon ;)

  28. Thank you very very mutch for your wonderful greetings to me, on my blog. You made me so happy & your blog is sooo cool!

    Peace & Love


  29. hugs dear friend ooooooooo


  30. That's great Bogey, you get it then. Books are so much more than paper and ink. SO much more. Your book sounds lovely, I hope you are getting lots of enjoyment out of it!
    Student, that's awesome, your Phd. Congratulations! I am really impressed. I guess that's what I meant,books move us in different ways. Some, we need, some we want, and some we fall head over heels in love with. I hope you get to that point again soon!
    Dear Agneta,
    thank you for your kind words, it is my pleasure to meet you.Happy happy birthday again, I hope you had a lovely day!
    Renee, ♥ + ☺

  31. Lovely looking book and that recipe seems mouthwatering. Lori, honey I follow your blog but the updates don't show up? I don't mind missing the giveaway (sigh, ish) but I want to know when you come out with your warm posts. Hmm, will try and remove and rejoin again.

  32. This was so much more love letter than book review, no worries there. I can't wait to check this book out - what a thoughtful and kick-ass giveaway that you are giving; sharing something you feel so passionately about with the rest of us.

    And yay for pumpkin spice recipes!!

  33. Dear Lori, I was out of the cyber world for a while and I missed these posts of yours...

    But I am grateful that I will put this place on my list of places to visit !! Thank you for the tip.

  34. I'm sure I'm too late for the contest, but I will have to tell my mom about this book...and share the recipe during the holidays, heck maybe I'll even make it!


xoxo lori