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Friday, January 23, 2015

Terminally Hip Avocado Toast inspired by The Divorce Diet

Terminally Hip Avocado Toast inspired by The Divorce Diet
The Divorce Diet is dedicated to every woman who ever walked away from a relationship—or a diet.

While The Divorce Diet is not a diet book, it is a book that centers around divorce and diets. Internal monologue is basically how I would describe the tone of this story. We're introduced to our main character, Abigail, as she lies in bed contemplating life as a new mother, the changes in her body and marriage, and another main character in the story—her diet book (and the basis for her imaginary guru), Losing Weight the Natural Way (which ironically includes mostly "low fat" items you purchase from the grocery store).

As if trying to navigate motherhood and wifehood when you're 25 isn't enough, Abigail soon discovers that she'll also have to navigate being a divorced young mother of a baby...without a job or a house.

I had a bit of a hard time getting into this story at first. Abigail is somewhat annoying and grating, but as the story went on and we got to know her better, my attitude towards her shifted. I imagined myself in her shoes. I remembered what it was like to be a single mother at that age. I understood the feeling of being lost and alone. I remembered waiting tables and I remembered how amazing it felt (and still does) to cook—and do it really well—for people. Let's just say, it grew on me.

There's tons of food in the book, both good and bad; some food descriptions made me hungry, some made me laugh, some made me cringe, but almost all got me thinking. As I read the book, I jotted down notes and underlined things here and there, finding ideas and inspiration as I went. Meatloaf lined with ham and cheese, then finished topped with goat cheese, pine nuts, and fire-roasted garlic...fettuccine Alfredo with chicken and wild mushrooms, homemade French bread, and a Greek salad...a marshmallowy meringue hidden under whipped cream and fruit—those are some of the appetizing choices. Some of the not-so-appetizing choices included ingredients like cellulose sponges, apple stems, plastic, and brownish glue. There were also Pop Tarts, Fig Newtons, baby cereal, bananas, and plenty of black coffee thrown in for good measure.
Terminally Hip Avocado Toast
I almost made a batch of bran muffins...tasty an actual delicious option for Abigail's "diet". But I changed my mind when this happened:

Now I have a new topic to not think about. I'm making progress. I pick up the terminally hip, free weekly newspaper and flip through, angling it out of Rosie's reach and avoiding the classifieds while I wait for Thad. I wonder if they'd accept a terminally hip cooking column for the kitchenistically challenged, and if they'd pay for it. Oddly enough, I don't wonder if I could write it. If my guru faked her way through a diet book, I can write a cooking column.

Sarcasm and wit, with actual food knowledge and recipes to back them up. Hipster food. Instructions geared towards "Northern Ohio" (which as a girl from Michigan/Indiana I almost wanted to take offense to...almost) and ingredients that can be readily found there. A nod to and a mockery of those terminally hip folks who give so much weight to their "sourced" ingredients. So, I decided to submit a recipe in Abigail's style...that was my inspiration for sharing Avocado Toast (which is terminally hip, after all).

Terminally Hip (according to the Urban Dictionary)
     1. So incredibly laid back, disengaged, and lethargically uncaring and cool (usually in a contrived or studied way) that one is liable ultimately to die (literally expire) from lack of participation in one's own environment.
     2. A person or thing or place that is very cool, hip and stylish, and unlike a wanna-be, is able to carry off the coolness with a natural and care-free elan.

Terminally Hip Avocado Toast
You'll need...
bread, sliced
an avocado
sea salt
ground black pepper

Possible extras...
eggs, poached or boiled
cooked bacon
roasted garlic
thinly sliced radishes
pretty much anything else you might want to add

Rip open the package or bread and toast one slice for every 1/3 to 1/2 of an avocado.

Cut the avocado in half; be careful, there's a pit inside—slice around that. Use a spoon to scoop the avocado flesh out of the peel. Put in in a small bowl. Remove the pit from the other half and add that, too. Smoosh the avocado with your spoon, then season it with a few pinches of salt and pepper.

Scoop and spread the avocado onto your toasted bread. Put any of the other things you want right on top of the toast and enjoy.
Terminally Hip Avocado Toast

The Divorce Diet by Ellen Hawley - book tour

The Divorce Diet

author: Ellen Hawley
publisher: Kensington
source: TLC Book Tours
soft cover: 240 pages
"foodie" read: yes

random excerpt:
     I say, "You are so precious," and I'm overwhelmed by how completely I mean this. Over Rosie's shoulder, I catch sight of my mother looking—there's no other word for this—nostalgic. 
     I look at Rosie. I look at my mother. I think, Oh. I think, Shit. I think, even thought I don't want to, It was once like this between her and me.
     I think, Oh, shit.
     Somehow the two of us slid from point A to point F, and I have no idea how we did it. (p.175)

synopsis (from TLC book tour page): Abigail, an inspired cook and stay-at-home mother, decides to repair the problems in her marriage with a diet book for herself and an elaborate birthday dinner for her husband. But over dinner her husband announces that the whole marriage thing just doesn’t work for him. Reeling, she packs up her baby, her cookbooks, and her single estate extra virgin olive oil and moves in with her parents while she looks for work and child care.

Floundering and broke in this life she didn’t choose, she turns for guidance and emotional support to the internalized voice of her diet book, and it becomes her invisible guru. While she struggles to reconcile the joy she takes in cooking with the book’s joyless and increasingly bizarre recipes and her native good sense with its advice, she works her way from one underpaid job to the next, eats everything but what her diet book recommends, and swears to get her life in order before her daughter’s old enough to create long-term memories.

Her diet book has promised to help her become the person she wants to be, but it’s only when she strikes out on her own that she figures out who that is.

about the author: Ellen Hawley has published two previous novels, Open Line (Coffee House Press, 2008) and Trip Sheets (Milkweed Editions, 1998). She has worked as an editor and copy editor, a creative writing teacher, a talk show host, a cab driver, a waitress, an assembler, a janitor, a file clerk, and for four panic-filled hours a receptionist. She lived in Minnesota for forty years and now lives in Cornwall, where she feeds a blog—as well as two cats, one dog, one partner, and any friends who stop by. Awards include a Writer’s Voice Capricorn Award, a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant, and a Loft-McKnight Award.

connect with the author: website | blog | twitter

recipe inspired by the book: Terminally Hip Avocado Toast

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.