Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Blog Tour: Recipes Bring Memories with Laura Harrington

Alice Bliss is the novel for our generation. Like Tom Sawyer, Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, and Ann Frank: The Diary of A Young Girl are classics from past centuries, Alice Bliss is destined to be a classic of the twenty-first century.

Alice Bliss is a profoundly moving coming-of-age novel about love and its many variations–the support of a small town looking after its own; love between an absent father and his daughter; the complicated love between an adolescent girl and her mother; and an exploration of new love with the boy-next-door. These characters’ struggles amidst uncertain times echo our own, lending the novel an immediacy and poignancy that is both relevant and real. At once universal and very personal, Alice Bliss is a transforming story about those who are left at home during wartime, and a teenage girl bravely facing the future.

If you know anything about me or even just follow me on Twitter or Tumblr, you know that I love food. I love cooking food. I love baking things. I love eating food. I love everything about food. On Twitter, if you happen to be awake any time between midnight and 3 AM, you'll probably see me cooking some sort of midnight "snack" when really it's an entire meal for most people.

So you wouldn't believe how excited I was to get to be a part of this tour for Laura Harrington's book ALICE BLISS. And even more exciting that I get to share one of Laura's family recipes with you today. This is a must for any bakers out there. I can't wait to make these myself!

Thank you for stopping by Novel Thoughts today, Laura! Take it away!

I only have one recipe from my maternal grandmother and I don’t actually remember ever making these muffins with her. Nor do I remember anything else that she cooked except something called “Ambrosia” made with canned fruit, (including mandarin oranges which seemed very exotic to us at the time), Jell-O, mini marshmallows and whipped cream, which didn’t actually require any cooking. It’s strange that my memories of my grandmother and food are so spotty because she lived with us for several months each year while I was growing up. She was divorced, did not have a home of her own, and moved among the homes of three of her daughters. Her fourth daughter, whose husband was in the Foreign Service, was stationed overseas.

I do remember her changing the contact paper on the kitchen shelves once a year, just as Gram does in Alice Bliss.

My relationship with my grandmother as a child was complicated by my mother’s relationship with her, which was strained, not unlike Angie and Gram.

Writing this post has made me think about my grandmother in ways I haven’t for a long time. I’m going to bake these muffins myself to see if the actual taste of them will evoke more memories. And I’m going to write to my cousins and brothers to find out what they remember.

May you eat well with the grandmothers in your life and carry their memories with you.

Nan’s Muffins

4 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons butter or shortening
1 cup buttermilk
½ teaspoon salt
2 ½ cups flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda, dissolved in the buttermilk
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients by hand, until just combined.
Pour into greased muffin tins.
Bake 12 – 20 minutes, until golden.

Oh man, does that sound good! I'll have to make them right away just so I can try them! I'm a big fan of fresh muffins in the morning for breakfast, even better when they have blueberries or chocolate chips in them!

I want to thank Laura for taking the time to stop by our blog and share this little piece of her family and memories with us. If you want to check out more of the stops along the tour, be sure to check out this post to see where and when everyone is posting!


  1. Thanks Jeremy and Jeffrey! The post looks great! And as you know, I absolutely love ALICE BLISS!

  2. Hmm, my comment didn't post. So, I'll say it again. :D Thank you so much Jeremy and Jeffrey. The post looks great. I LOVE Alice Bliss and I'm thrilled you get to share a copy with your readers.