Thursday, January 29, 2015

Book Beginning: American Dreamers


Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

FACEBOOK: Rose City Reader has a Facebook page where I post about new and favorite books, book events, and other bookish tidbits, as well as link to blog posts. I'd love a "Like" on the page! You can go to the page here to Like it. I am happy to Like you back if you have a blog or professional Facebook page, so please leave a comment with a link and I will find you.

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Though it was over sixty years ago, I still remember every detail.  It was June 2, 1952, and I finally had a date with the girl of my dreams.

-- American Dreamers: How Two Oregon Farm Kids Transformed an Industry, a Community, and a University by Ken Austin with Kerry Tymchuk, published by OSU Press.

Ken Austin rose from humble roots in rural Oregon to build A-Dec, one of the largest dental equipment makers in the world. His wife and partner, Joan is the visionary behind The Allison -- a world-class destination spa in the heart of Oregon wine country.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Five Faves: Favorite Reads of 2014

Looking over the list of books I read last year, a main theme seems to be secondary works by favorite authors.  It was not a year for lights-out great reading for me.  I enjoyed spending time with some old friends, but nothing really knocked my socks off and I didn't fall in love with any new authors.

But there were several books that stuck with me.  These five were my solid favorites (in the order I read them):


There are times when a full-sized book list is just too much; when the Top 100, a Big Read, or all the Prize winners seem like too daunting an effort. That's when a short little list of books grouped by theme may be just the ticket.

Inspired by Nancy Pearl's "Companion Reads" chapter in Book Lust – themed clusters of books on subjects as diverse as Bigfoot and Vietnam – I decided to start occasionally posting lists of five books grouped by topic or theme. I call these posts my Five Faves.

Feel free to grab the button and play along. Use today's theme or come up with your own. If you post about it, please link back to here and leave the link to your post in a comment. If you want to participate but don't have a blog or don't feel like posting, please share your list in a comment.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Teaser Tuesday: Liberated by Steve Anderson

Our ride back was like some harebrained rum run. Colonel Spanner drove hard and fast, shouldering the steering wheel one way, then the other, a blur of trees and fields, and he whooped as we caught our breath for the next turn and I couldn't get a word in even if I dared try.

Liberated: A Novel of Germany, 1945 by Steve Anderson.  Liberated is the second book in Anderson's WWII "Kaspar Brothers" series, following, The Losing Role, which I reviewed here. Harry Kaspar, the hero in this book, is the older brother of the main character of the earlier book, Max Kaspar.

Steve has been busy lately.  In addition to Liberated, in 2014 he published another exiting novel set during WWII called Under False Flags.  He explains the real life war adventure that inspired Under False Flags in this essay, War as a Deadly Swindle.

And his translation of a German thriller, Mark of Cain by Marcus Hünnebeck, is available now in a Kindle edition, soon to be released in paperback.

Read my earlier interview of Steve Anderson, here.

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Mailbox Monday: American Dreamers by Ken Austin

Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday! MM was created by Marcia, who graciously hosted it for a long, long time, before turning it into a touring event. Mailbox Monday has now returned to its permanent home where you can link to your MM post.

I got one book last week, and I am very excited to read it:

American Dreamers: How Two Oregon Farm Kids Transformed an Industry, a Community, and a University by Ken Austin with Kerry Tymchuk, published by OSU Press.

Ken Austin rose from humble roots in rural Oregon to build A-Dec, a multi-million dollar international business, guided by a core set of principles and the tireless support of his wife and partner, Joan. A-dec is one of the largest dental equipment makers in the world.

In addition to the story of "the A-Dec Way," American Dreamers tells of the Austins' personal adventures and obstacles, including Joan’s conjuring of The Allison—a world-class resort spa—in the middle of Yamhill County, to Ken's battle with alcoholism.

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Review: Delights and Prejudices

James Beard was the "Dean of American Cuisine." Before Alice Waters was even born, he was championing regional, seasonal cooking. Long before his buddy Julia Child, he had a televised cooking program -- the first ever, starting in 1946, when home televisions were a great rarity and most of audience was men in bars (his show came on after the boxing match).

He wrote more than 20 cookbooks and became famous for his New York cooking schools. After his death in 1985 at age 81, Julia Child wanted to preserve his home, school, and memory, leading to the creation of the James Beard Foundation, still located in his Greenwich Village brownstone. Every year the foundation honors cookbook authors, chefs, restaurateurs, food writers, and other culinary professionals with the James Beard Award.

Beard published Delights and Prejudices: A Memoir with Recipes in 1964 to explain his own food loving history from toddler-hood to his New York cooking school days. He bounces around from his childhood in Portland to Les Halles in Paris to Mid-Century Manhattan and beyond.

the book is absolutely wonderful, particularly for a Portlander like me. Beard highlights Portland's rich culinary roots, with lengthy chapters on the farmers' markets, local produce, and abundant seafood that we here in the Rose City still enjoy. His remembrances of childhood weeks spent in Gearhart on the Oregon coast would make anyone want to head for the drizzly beach, build a huge bonfire, and roast oysters and Dungeness crabs.

What makes the book stand out is that Beard's bigger than life, kind of oddball personality shows through. For instance, despite launching his career with a catering company featuring canapes and the resultant first cookbook, Hors D'oeuvre and Canapes, he was ambivalent about finger food, coining the name "doots" for all little passed tidbits. Doots? Now, that's funny.

He had strong opinions about food and cooking -- many inherited from his strong-willed mother -- and laid them all out. For example, he hated chicken livers, but loved gizzards (and included plenty of recipes to prove it). He was an ardent Francophile and particularly favored bistro cooking, but could not stand Caribbean food.

When it came to holiday traditions, he loved his mother's Christmas fruitcakes (made a year in advance), but thought cranberries were an "abomination," homemade candy "really unsavory," and Christmas cookies only good if you make them yourself and eat them right away, exhorting well-wishers to "have pity on us, all you bakers -- the spirit of Christmas notwithstanding -- and deliver us from cookies that have crumbled or gone stale."

Delights and Prejudices is outstanding among food memoirs because James Beard is a giant and, therefore, learning what shaped his talent is fascinating, but also because it inspires an examination of our own food delights and prejudices and where they came from.


Huckleberry Cake

(Beard, like most Oregonians, loved the wild, dark huckleberries that grow here, particularly those that grow in the hills near the Oregon coast.)

Cream 1 cup butter and 1 cup granulated sugar together until the mixture is very light. Add 3 eggs, one by one, beating after each addition. Sift two cups flour and save 1/4 cup to mix with 1 cup huckleberries. Add to the rest 2 teaspoons baking powder and a pinch of salt, and fold this into the egg mixture. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and, lastly, fold in the floured huckleberries. Pour the batter into a buttered, floured 8-inch-square baking tin. Bake at 375º for 35 to 40 minutes or until the cake is nicely browned, or when a tester inserted comes out clean.

Serve the cake hot with whipped cream, or cold.


If you would like your review of this or any other James Beard book listed here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it.

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