Of Chocolate Cake and Sauerkraut

“On the table, where four places were set, there was a chocolate cake under a glass bell. Julian noted with pleasure (so did Portia) that it was a triple decker, with the frosting laid on one inch thick.
‘It is my belief that a fudge cake should be built,’
Mrs. Cheever said,
‘strong and thick, the way the Mexicans build adobe houses.’”
-“Gone Away Lake”

My reading of late has been quite varied. I have become like my mother, and typically read a half a dozen books at a time. I no longer scorn this method of becoming a well-read person. For the busy, multitasking mother, it is the only way! I have a book in each room – in the bathroom, “The Power of a Praying Wife”; in the kitchen, “Nourishing Traditions”; on my bed stand, whatever novel I’m working on (currently, the Newberry Medal Winner, “Gone Away Lake”). Within that category of pleasure reading, the books have been extremely varied, as well. I think it is important to have variety in our literature, just as we value variety in our diet. It keeps interest, and ensures that we are being nourished on all levels.

Thus my title today. I think we need both chocolate cake and sauerkraut in our diet, both literally and literarially. (Spell check told me that wasn’t a word, but I couldn’t resist alliterating.)

I don’t have to tell you why chocolate cake is important – it’s soul food, people! (and my soul is starving for it, but that’s beside the point!) But I thought you might be interested to know why sauerkraut is so important…

“Enzyme research has revealed the importance of certain raw and fermented foods in the diet. The enzymes in raw food, particularly raw fermented food, help start the process of digestion and reduce the body’s need to produce digestive enzymes…Ethnic groups that consume large amounts of cooked meat usually include fermented vegetables or condiments, such as sauerkraut and pickled carrots, cucumbers and beets, with their meals…”
-Nourishing Traditions, pg. 46 and 47

If we don’t feed our bodies enzymes, our digestive systems gets over tasked trying to produce enough digestive enzymes on its own. That is why you should eat your leafy greens, and add fermented, cultured things into your menu regularly, like yogurt and certain condiments, including mustard, vinegar, and, of course, sauerkraut.

O.K., now that I have proved my point and explained my zany title – I’ll get to the good stuff – the list of recommended books I’ve read so far this year…

This one goes under the chocolate cake category! It was absolutely delightful. Chock full of delicious details of dress and life in the 40’s. Gape right along with the author as she describes watching Judy Garland pick out a gift from Tiffany’s while on her honeymoon, and hold you breath for endless moments when she drops a delivery of loose pearls in the elevator. Except for a bit of language and some naive chatter on the subject of boyfriends, I can recommend this to all vintage lovers!

I really enjoyed this book – reading till past midnight to finish it one night last week. It inspired me to make time for creative expression in my day. (this post was a result) I recommend it only for young adults (and up!) who are able to discern truth in the midst of the questions the author’s characters pose and L’Engle’s own creative imagination – sometimes she can trick you into forgetting this is science fiction! This book will make you think about what you believe, specifically about death. For me it was in the sauerkraut category.

It was amazing how this Jewish girl’s mother kept them alive all through the holocaust through her determinations and foresight. If you like holocaust survival stories, here’s another good one. For mature readers, of course, though not too graphic. Definitely sauerkraut.

The adventures of two children on summer vacation who discover a hidden lake have been especially enjoyable as we continue to ‘enjoy’ sub-freezing temps and snow here. I absolutely love the book so far – am only 1/3 through – for its delightful, yet not-too-heavy descriptions and perfect metaphors. I love metaphors.

“‘Yes, yes.’ Mrs. Cheever stirred her tea, smiling at memory. ‘And it seems as if all the days were sunny, and each one longer than a week.’”

What’s not to love about a book that transports you to summer like that?

P.S. My Grandmother ordered tea and toast this morning (as any proper British mum would do), so she survived her 4th stroke – thank the Lord! I don’t have any more details, but that was enough good news for me! Thank you for your prayers. Dad and the girls arrived safely around breakfast time this morning and were on their way to see her. The girls asked me to let you know that Fabulous Friday will be postponed for now, and I am sure you understand.

6 responses to “Of Chocolate Cake and Sauerkraut”

  1. sarah Avatar
    sarah

    Great post, Trina! What a neat way to share about the books your reading, and review them. It was very enjoyable to read. ๐Ÿ™‚

    And of course you know that I *love* "Gone Away Lake." =)

    My goal for 2008 is to read every book I own. I've already started, and so that makes me happy. Lets hope I can keep on going…

  2. Trina Avatar
    Trina

    thank you, heidi – I have the sequel, too, and it's next on the list! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. heidi Avatar
    heidi

    I LOVE the book Gone Away Lake, and it's not everyday that I find someone else who has read it. While browsing through a free book box a few years ago, I stumbled upon Return to Gone Away, the sequel. You will have to try that one when you are finished!

  4. Serena Avatar
    Serena

    All of the books sound wonderful. I know I'll never get through my book list. Never. I will die with it unfinished.

    I adore cabbage, but don't like sauerkraut. I'm not so happy about that!

    I'm glad your grandmother felt well enough for tea and toast! There's nothing like tea and toast to perk you up.

  5. Natalie_S Avatar
    Natalie_S

    I'm so glad your grandmother is pulling through.Grandmothers are such precious people to have with us.

  6. aunty liv Avatar
    aunty liv

    Wow, that was long.
    You finally got the picture thingy at the top to work. I am amazed…..
    I miss you. Give Jesse a hug for me.
    Tell him not to be jealous of Casey, who I will lavish all my love on until I get back to him ๐Ÿ™‚

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