Sunday Salon – March 23, 2008

Sunday Salon

March 23, 2008


Good morning Sunday Saloners and Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate this religious holiday! This morning I slept in later than usual with my husband on one side of me and little Gizmo curled up on the other side. The sun shining between the trees and a cool breeze blowing through the open window eventually roused me. In celebration of Easter, I made a special Brunch Bake (recipe below for those of you with culinary interests). I have yet to sit and read this morning, but plan on some quiet time later on the porch if the sun and warm weather holds this afternoon.

I finished reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin (read my review) this week. It took me longer than I thought it would, but was well worth it. It got me thinking about the idea of book banning (again). I don’t understand the concept, try as I might. I have never felt that the way to deal with material offensive to oneself is to prevent others from reading it. In fact, if I find a book offensive, the first thing I want to do is talk about it with others…not burn it, hide it, make it unaccessible or otherwise pretend it doesn’t exist. Most books that garner the attention of the book banners are those with important or difficult messages; or those which explore subject matter which horrifies or creates a feeling of discomfort. Wouldn’t it be better to use this information as a way of educating or opening lines of communication? Of course, this excludes illegal acts, such as child pornography…which naturally I feel should be abolished. But, really, look at the books which appear on the lists of banned books: To Kill A Mockingbird, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, East of Eden, The Grapes of Wrath, and A Prayer for Owen Meany to name a few (all these are reviewed here on my site – just follow the links). What do they all have in common? They are classics written by very talented writers. Why anyone would want them removed from library shelves is beyond me.

On a more positive note, I started reading Belong to Me, by Marisa de los Santos yesterday. Some of you may have read her bestseller Love Walked In. I’m only 40 pages into the book but I love it! The main character – Cornelia Brown – is someone to whom I instantly related. She’s funny and sarcastic and doesn’t fit in with the women within her social circle. I like her. I want to get to know her. I have a feeling this book will be a quick read!

As promised…here is the recipe for the Brunch Bake (ripped from Enjoy Magazine – March 2008 edition):

  • 1 package (17.3 oz) frozen puff pastry (2 sheets) thawed
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • dash hot pepper sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 2 packages (10 oz each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
  • 6 slices cooked bacon chopped OR 1 cup diced ham or chicken (I used ham)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 cup chopped red peppers
  • Sour cream and chives for garnish (optional) – I also think that cranberry sauce would taste good with this too.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Unfold thawed pastry sheet and roll out one sheet to about 11-inch square and one to 12-inch square. Line bottom and side of greased 9-inch spring-form pan with 12-inch pastry sheet. Beat eggs, salt and pepper with a wire whisk; reserve and set aside one Tbls of egg mixture. Add ricotta cheese, pepper sauce and spinach to remaining eggs; mix until well blended. Layer half of the bacon, ham or chicken, onions, cheeses, spinach mixture and red peppers in the pasty lined pan. Repeat layer of ingredients. Place remaining pastry sheet over mixture; fold and tuck pastry edges in pan. Pinch edges to seal. Brush top with served one Tbls egg. Cut 5 or 6 slits in top crust with tip of sharp knife to allow steam to escape. bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes. Run small knife around edge of pan before removing rim. To make ahead, assemble and bake pie as directed. Cover, refrigerate overnight (or several hours). When ready to serve, uncover. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until heated through. Serve topped with sour cream and chives if desired. Serves 10-12.


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  1. I doubt I will ever understand book banning either, Wendy. As you said, the vary reasons people give for wanting to ban the books are often the best reasons to have open and honest discussions. It’s better to embrace that than to run and hide from it.

    I hope you enjoy your day! I’m about to start on the laundry, something I said I’d do a couple of hours ago.

  2. What never ceases to amaze me when I look at lists of books that have been banned is how diverse they are. It almost seems as if someone wants to write a book someone else wants to ban it. And as you say, it is really rather pointless. Apart from anything else all you are doing is providing publicity for the cause you presumably dislike. Isn’t that sort of defeating the object?

    By the way, I don’t think I’m speaking to someone who is going to sit in the sun on the porch and read. It’s snowing here!

  3. Books often reflect the times that they are written in, and I think have to be read with the context in mind – so a good introduction explaining this is much preferable. If we ban books we are liable to understand even less.

    • Andi on March 23, 2008 at 13:33

    The idea of banning is beyond me as well. I’m currently teaching a unit on censorship, freedom of speech, and intellectual freedom to my college Argument & Research students. So far they’re really enjoying debating the issue and digging into their research.

    Thanks for the recipe, by the way. It sounds delicious!

    • Katie on March 23, 2008 at 15:58

    The book banning never ceases to amaze me. I agree wholeheartedly with you – it’s pointless. A book ending up on the banned list should be used as an educational tool. To Kill a Mockingbird is my all-time fave, and I first read it in high school, where we discussed exactly why it was banned. My teacher did everyone a great service by continuing to keep it in her plans for years to come!

    • Alisia on March 23, 2008 at 16:08

    The people who try to ban books strike me as those who also think they can protect their children from all the bad things in the world, rather than educate them. Yet, every time I see a book banned, it blows my mind.

    Thanks for the recipe! I’m keeping that one. I even have puff pastries in the freezer, left over from the pseudo-chicken pot pie type meal I made last night.

    It seems to be the weekend for recipes, I just posted my Purim hamantaschen recipe earlier this weekend.

  4. oh! I am going to check out your review on Uncle Tom’s Cabin! I have read that book three times, well maybe two.

    Great reading, happy easter to you too!

    • Julie on March 24, 2008 at 04:51

    Hi — I came via Sunday Salon and I love your blog!

    I read Uncle Tom’s Cabin years ago. Now when I think of the book I’m always reminded of the movie The King and I. One of the king’s concubines (i.e. sex slave) reads the book, which gives her the courage to try to escape the palace (i.e. upset the “natural” order of things). Maybe the book banners weren’t just afraid of raising uncomfortable issues; they were afraid of fomenting rebellion.

    • Wendy on March 24, 2008 at 08:06

    Thank you all for your comments on book banning – it looks like we pretty much agree!

    Wendy: Hope you got your laundry done – that is one task I’ve been avoiding and pretty soon I will have to do it!

    Ann: Sorry to hear about your snow! Although we have been having nice Spring weather, it is not out of the question we could still get a winter storm up here in the mountains (hope that makes you feel better!!):)

    Andi and Alisia: I hope you enjoy the brunch bake!

    Julie: Thanks for the compliment! You are the second person who has told me that Uncle Tom’s Cabin reminds them of the movie The King and I!

  5. I’m glad you’re enjoying Belong to Me. I thought it was wonderful. At first I didn’t care at all for Piper, but she eventually became one of my favorite characters — right up there with Cornelia and Dev. I look forward to your review!! I got a very nice note from the author the other day. I need to see if she’ll let me post it on my blog.

    • Wendy on March 28, 2008 at 07:57

    Les: How cool the author wrote to you!

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