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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Old-Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings | Love Literary Style

Old-Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings
If I could describe Love Literary Style in a few short words, I'd say it is a fun, meta romantic comedy. Yes, I said meta. I rarely say meta, because for some reason it bothers me—I think because it was way overused in the last few years. But also because I don't think I completely understand how to use it properly. Although in this case, I'm pretty sure that I've gotten it right. That's just to say, that if I'm using the word, it's for a legit reason (and somehow, "legit" doesn't bother me).

This rom-com, written by Karen Gillespie, not only follows the traditional rom-com formula, it also explains that formula in the book, since one of the lead characters, Laurie Lee is a romance writer. Our other lead character, Aaron Mite, is a college professor who has spent the last 5 years writing his novel.

Laurie is personable, bubbly, and portrayed as a bit of an airhead at times. The airhead part was a little disconcerting since other times she came across as a pretty smart, though somewhat naive, woman. She enjoys love, good food, kindness, and the power of a good HEA (Happily Ever After).
Old-Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings | Love Literary Style
Aaron is grouchy and angry and frankly, a bit of a snob. A literary snob, that is. He writes literary fiction and looks down his nose at those who write genre fiction. Fortunately his character is redeemed by the end of the story...the HEA.

So yes, it's a classic story of opposites attract. There's a case of mistaken identity, there's a conflict, and there's a grand gesture—all things which, if didn't already know, are part of the classic rom-com formula. And if you didn't know before reading the book, it's explained in the pages. Meta, remember?

I thought it was a fun, often funny, sometimes slightly unbelievable story and was definitely rooting for Laurie and Aaron to wind up with their HEA. To borrow a phrase from Aaron, this isn't a book "with heaving bossoms and tumescent breeches", it's a romantic comedy. Fans of chick lit,  contemporary fiction, and of course, rom-coms need to add this to the top of their TBR piles today!
Old-Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings
While I don't think this would ever be classified as a "foodie novel", there is a TON of food on the pages. There were a couple of ideas that I wanted to run with, one of which included peanut butter and jelly—but I won't tell you why, because—spoiler! A his and hers cocktail would have been appropriate, as well. But instead, I chose Aaron's favorite dish, chicken and dumplings, which were mentioned twice in the book.

The first time it is mentioned, Laurie expresses her gratitude to Aaron by offering up his favorite dish and serving herself as dessert. The second time is towards the end, when Aaron tells Laurie that he's gained so much weight from all the cooking that he's been doing while they've been apart (sorry, semi-spoiler). He'd taught himself to make a "somewhat palatable" version of her chicken and dumplings, but that he prepared it far too often.

That's just sweet. Plus, chicken and dumplings is one of my favorite comfort foods and I really wanted some by the time I put the book down. This old-fashioned recipe is made entirely from scratch, complete with thick, flat dumplings. No wonder Aaron put on a little healthy weight (chicken and dumplings are love).

Love Literary Style by Karin Gillespie

Love Literary Style

author: Karin Gillespie
publisher: Henery Press (November 1, 2016)
genre: Literature & Fiction, Humor & Satire, Romantic Comedy, Contemporary
soft cover:280 pages

"foodie" read: Yeah, kind of. I'm not sure if it was meant to be a so-called foodie novel, but there is SO much food on the pages!

opening sentence: It was too bad that, as a college professor, Aaron Mite was expected to be approachable.

teaser: They say opposites attract, and what could be more opposite than a stuffy literary writer falling in love with a self-published romance writer?

Meet novelist Aaron Mite. He lives in a flea-infested rented alcove, and his girlfriend Emma, a combative bookstore owner, has just dumped him. He meets Laurie Lee at a writers’ colony and mistakenly believes her to be a renowned writer of important fiction. When he discovers she’s a self-published romance author, he’s already fallen in love with her.

Aaron thinks genre fiction is an affront to the fiction-writing craft. He likes to quotes the essayist, Arthur Krystal who claims literary fiction “melts the frozen sea inside of us.” Ironically Aaron doesn’t seem to realize that, despite his lofty literary aspirations, he’s emotionally frozen, due, in part, to a childhood tragedy. The vivacious Laurie, lover of flamingo-patterned attire and all things hot pink, is the one person who might be capable of melting him.

Their relationship is initially made in literary heaven but when Aaron loses his contract with a prestigious press, and Laurie’s novel is optioned by a major film studio, the differences in their literary sensibilities and temperaments drive them apart.

In a clumsy attempt to win Laurie back, Aaron employs the tropes of romance novels. Too late. She’s already taken up with Ross, a prolific author of Nicholas Sparks-like love stories. Initially Laurie is more comfortable with the slick and superficial Ross, but circumstances force her to go deeper with her writing and confront a painful past. Maybe Aaron and Laurie have more in common than they imagined.

about the author: Karin Gillespie is the author of the national bestselling Bottom Dollar Girls series, 2016 Georgia Author of the Year, Co-author for Jill Connor Browne’s novel Sweet Potato Queen’s First Big Ass Novel. Her latest novel Love Literary Style was inspired by a New York Times article called “Masters in Chick Lit” that went viral and was shared by literary luminaries like Elizabeth Gilbert and Anne Rice. She’s written for the Washington Post and Writer Magazine and is book columnist and humor columnist for the Augusta Chronicle and Augusta Magazine respectively. She received a Georgia Author of the Year Award in 2016.
author Karin Gillespie

connect with the author: website | twitter

recipe inspired by the book: Old-Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings


yield: serves 10-12print recipe
Old-Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings

Old-Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings

prep time: 30 MINScook time: 1 hour and 20 MINStotal time: 1 hours and 50 mins
This old-fashioned, made from scratch chicken and dumplings recipe is the ultimate in comfort food.


For the soup:
  • 1 (4 to 5 pound) whole chicken
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 5 tablespoons salted butter
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt + more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper + more to taste
For the dumplings:
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour + more as needed and for work surface
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
To garnish:
  • chopped fresh parsley


Make the soup:
  1. Place all of the ingredients for the soup in a large soup pot and cover with water by about 1/2-inch. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Partially cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer gently for 1 hour, until chicken has cooked through.
  2. Carefully lift the chicken out of the pot and set in a bowl or plate with deep sides. When cool enough to handle, separate the meat from the bones and skin. Set the meat aside and discard everything else from the chicken.
Make the dumplings:
  1. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to blend. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the oil, then add the water and eggs and stir until the mixture comes together into a shaggy mass of dough.
  2. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead a few times until you have a smooth dough that is no longer sticky, adding more flour as necessary. Divide dough in half.
  3. rolled out flat dumpling dough noodles
  4. Working with one half at a time on a well-floured work surface, roll dough out into a rectangle that measures approximately 13 x 12 inches. Cut into strips that measure approximately 3/4" x 4". It's okay if there's extra flour on the outside of the dumplings, this will help to thicken the chicken broth a bit. Repeat with remaining dough. You should have at least 95 total dumplings.
  5. homemade flat dumplings
Putting it all together:
  1. Remove bay leaves from the pot and discard. Bring the broth to a boil.
  2. Carefully drop the dumplings into the boiling broth, in several batches, stirring gently as you add them. Once they are all in the pot, reduce heat to a gentle, but steady simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, then add the reserved chicken back to the pot, increasing the heat to keep the steady simmer; cook for 5 minutes longer. Dumplings should be puffed and tender.
  3. Old-Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings
  4. Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt (I like the grind some good garlic salt in to finish) and ground pepper. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Created using The Recipes Generator

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