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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Baguettes inspired by Passing Love by Jacqueline E. Luckett {book tour}

Passing Love

Author: Jacqueline E. Luckett
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; original edition
Source: TLC Book Tours
soft cover: 320 pages

"foodie" elements:  Yes, though not in the forefront.  I found them woven deliciously throughout the story.  Food is definitely a supporting factor.

random excerpt:  Instead, she'd bought cheese, bread, chicken rubbed with tarragon, and crispy roasted potatoes from a vendor on rue de Buci.  She didn't care that the food was so basic, so American.  She cared that she spoke French when she ordered and the man at the deli complimented her simple sentences.  Straightforward entertaining seemed appropriate.  (p.287)

summary/synopsis (from TLC):  Nicole-Marie Handy has loved all things French since she was a child. After the death of her best friend, determined to get out of her rut, she goes to Paris, leaving behind a marriage proposal. While there, Nicole chances upon an old photo of her father—lovingly inscribed, in his hand, to a woman Nicole has never heard of. What starts as a vacation quickly becomes an unexpected adventure.

Moving back and forth in time between the sparkling Paris of today and the jazz-fueled city filled with expatriates in the 1950s, PASSING LOVE is the story of two women dealing with lost love, secrets, and betrayal . . . and how the City of Light may hold all the answers.
my thoughts/review:  I found myself drawn in by Luckett's use of Paris in the past and Paris in the present.  Through the use of two points of view (Nicole and Ruby) as well as letters tucked seamlessly into the chapters from important supporting characters and interesting historical fiction, she lifted me out of my comfortable chair and onto the streets of Paris (both in the 1950's and modern-day).

I also enjoyed the journey of self-discovery for both Nicole and Ruby as one discovered family secrets brought on by the other.  There's not a family out there without their secrets, and I think that's what makes their story relate-able...even if you're secrets are not the same.

And of course, I loved Luckett's use of food as a trigger of memories-from-home, such as when Ruby and Arnett walk from the club to rue de Seine and the Hôtel La Louisiane where the "scent of down-home cooking leaked from the lobby and into the street -- beans and rice, mustard greens, and hot grease that had fried one too many chickens".  Or Ruby's remembrances of New Orleans and their "lima beans with rice and ham hocks big as fists".

Don't worry, she also weaves the food of Paris into the novel, such as Nicole's view into a tiny, crowded terrace and restaurant on the streets of Paris... "Baked goods perfumed the air...diners sipped wine and coffee, and lunched on salads and sandwiches dripping with gooey cheese.  A mother sipped a beer with one hand and, with the other, rocked her child crackled in a car seat atop the bar".

I would recommend this to those who enjoy novels about food, romance, historical fiction, black history, and/or Paris.  It was a well-written novel.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.

about the author:  After leaving the corporate world, Jacqueline took a creative writing class on a dare, from herself, and began writing short stories and poetry and never looked back. Her essay, “Traveling with Ghosts,” was included in Best Women’s Travel Writing 2011. She is the author of two novels, Passing Love and Searching for Tina Turner.

further info: website | blog | facebook | twitter

I wanted to make something inspired by Passing Love, so I decided on something that I can't help but think of when I think of France...a Baguette.  This was the passage that sealed it...

Nicole lit a third cigarette and puffed until she was cloaked in smoke.  She paced, fluffed sofa pillows, rearranged guidebooks on the bookshelf, set dishes in the kitchen, poured a glass of rosé, slathered cheese on a baguette, contemplated the screeching birds, possibly bats, flapping in the night sky. (p.124)

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Keywords: bake bread vegan

Ingredients (1 baguette)
Place dough onto a floured surface. Dust lightly with flour and have some more flour ready for your hands.

Working dough as little as possible, form into a 14-inch cylinder. Add more flour as needed. Smooth surface with your hands to get a soft skin that isn't sticky. Pinch seams together and pinch ends to a point.

Sprinkle a baking peel or cookie sheet without sides with a good amount of cornmeal and set cylinder of dough on top. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest at room temperature for 40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450° F after first 10 minutes of rise time. Place a baking stone in center of oven and a broiler pan on the bottom shelf.

Make three evenly spaced diagonal slahes, ~½" deep, across the baguette, using a serrated knife.

Working quickly, slide baguette off of peel and onto baking stone. Add HOT water to broiler pan (this is for steam) and quickly close the oven door.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until crust is golden (center of loaf will register at least 190° F). Cool on wire rack.

adapted from 200 Fast & Easy Artisan Breads
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The publisher has graciously offered a copy of Passing Love to one of my readers.  If you'd like to win a copy, simply let me know in the comment section of this post.  Only those with shipping addresses in the USA or Canada are eligible to win.  Submissions due by 11:59 pm (Eastern) on Sunday, July 22.  I will draw a winner at random from those who entered.  Please make sure I have a way of contacting you!

Update (7/23/12): And the winner by random draw (numbered comments who wanted to win book in order received - my comments go bottom to top) is.... Cathy - Congratulations!

*I received a free copy of this book to review from the publisher.  All thoughts and opinions stated in this post are 100% mine.

I am sharing this post with:
BBD #52: French Bread hosted at Cindystar
BYOB 125 x 125 tlc-tour-host weekend cooking fr2button BBD #52 - French Bread

Would you like to comment?

  1. Jacqueline LuckettJuly 18, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    I love the way you worked the food elements in Passing Love. If you can, check out my 1st novel Searching for Tina Turner, you'll be even more pleased with the food and wine. Thanks for the review.

  2. I'd love to win a copy of Passing Love. It sounds like a great read!

  3. Marina@Picnic at MarinaJuly 18, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    Hi Heather, thanks for the review, I love your writing style. And yes, I do want a copy, it's my birthday coming up next week, and a good book is always the best gift for me...:)

  4. I honestly never enter giveaways and I'm hesitant to do so now because I hate the connotation of "gimme stuff" that I associate with giveaways. BUT, the excepts from the novel, the underlying plot, and the interweaving of food throughout has me intrigued. And maybe that baguette inspired by the book has wooed me ;) Anyway, I'd love to win a copy (and kickstart my reading again)... Thanks for sharing this, Heather...

  5. Heather, thanks for the great review. It sounds like an interesting book and I like the selection you chose. So I'd love to win a copy of the book. Your bread looks delicious and I'll add it to my must try list. Thanks for the recipe and giveaway!

  6. Hi Jacqueline - I appreciate that, thanks so much. I've added your first novel to my to-read (ever-growing) "to read" list. I'm off to check my libraries website to see if I can get it soon. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment! =) ...can't wait to read your next novel.

  7. Fingers crossed - and happy early birthday!

  8. I feel the same way sometimes...other times not. Weird, huh? I'm glad you entered this one - I think you'd enjoy it!

  9. I'm sure I will - and I found it's available on iTunes which is really awesome because if I don't win, I can download and read instantly :)

  10. You've definitely got that beautiful crispy crunchy baguette crust going on there!

  11. This sounds like a great read! Your baguette is gorgeous! Have I ever told you how jealous I am of your bread baking skills?

  12. What a picture perfect baguette! And I'm always up for a new book :)

  13. This looks so wonderful. You are able to make it seem doable even by a baguette newbie like me.

  14. josé manuel martín fernándezJuly 19, 2012 at 1:17 AM

    Vaya pan que te ha quedado, de lujo

  15. This book looks interesting, I might have to add it to my reading list. Thanks for sharing! I'm always looking for new books.

    And your baguette looks excellent too! Professional quality - and living in France as I do, I visit my fair share of bakeries. I'm jealous of how perfect your crust is!

  16. Cathy at Wives with KnivesJuly 19, 2012 at 8:52 AM

    Yes, yes, I would love to win a copy of this book. This sounds like a wonderful story, Heather, and I especially like that it is set in Paris, my favorite city. I would also love several slices of a warm baguette with my morning coffee.

  17. Sounds like my kind of book! Is it just me, or does the author look a little like Natalie Cole? :) Lovely baguette! I would probably eat the whole thing in one sitting. :)

  18. I would love to win the book, it sounds like a real good reader. I also will be making the Baguette bread it's my sons favorite.

  19. Whoa ... Look at that beautiful bread & that great food story foto ... great job Heather :-)

  20. You're right! I hadn't noticed it before, but totally.

  21. Thank you - that is quite a compliment! =)

  22. I would love to win a copy of this book! A warm baguette and a good book, sounds like heaven!

  23. Linda-There and Back AgainJuly 19, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    Another book to add to the reading list! You are quickly filling out my books-to-read selection for the summer! The baguette looks wonderful, too. Wish I was more confident about making French breads...

  24. Thank you, Heather, for this lovely baguette!
    Wish I could win the book but I'm definetely out of eligibility :-) but will buy on amazon as it really intrigues me.
    and you know what? I am reading a very nice funny book written by a French/American (and just the title is all: French women don't get fat) with a couple of inspiring recipes to bake :-)

  25. This post made me hungry!

  26. Loving all of the summer reads and excuses to bake bread on rainy days. My holds at the Library are filling up fast.

  27. Food & travel fiction combined is the best :) I adore Paris and baguettes. Always wondered why fresh baguettes get so stale within a matter of hours though. Thanks for sharing the recipe and the review for this book! (I think I'll leave the baguette baking to my bakery downstairs for now)

  28. That sounds like a really good book. I found this via Beth Fish reads. Would you be happy to link it into this months's Books You loved on Carole's Chatter?

    I have linked in Coronation Chicken to Beth Fish Reads - a dish with a dash of history.
    Have a super week.

  29. Great review, I'd love to read this one! The baguette looks fantastic, I love the photo's.

  30. caite@ a lovely shore breezeJuly 21, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    there is nothing like good bread, the smell, the crunch, the yeasty taste..

    throw my hat in the ring please!

  31. That baguette has my mouth watering!

    Glad you enjoyed the book - thanks for being on the tour.

  32. Baking bread seems so daunting to me. But yours looks fantastic!

  33. Wow, I would never have thought of trying to make my own baguettes! I read this book a little while ago and thought it was pretty good. I actually thought that the food was understated and that the author concentrated more on the music, which is kind of unusual and refreshing for a book set in Paris!

  34. I'll have to pick up this book for foodie passages! I bake bread a few times a week but I have had zero luck with that no-knead bread. I usually end up with a gooey mess. I just bake the old-fashioned way. LOL. Your baguette looks beautiful.

  35. Yes, I'd agree - it's just in my nature to highlight to food in any situation. I loved the concentration on music, though - my second love. =)

  36. Your photography is just lovely.

  37. Paris seems to be synonymous with food. This is probably a sign that I should stop reading about it and make plans to GO eat some of that glorious food. Although making a baguette would do, I suppose, until I can go...

    Both bread & book sound delicious!

  38. Congrats Cathy - you were the winner! I'll just need your shipping info - sending you an email now... =)