The rating is a mix, as there are some wonderful recipes and the food photography is excellent - although admittedly there could be said to be too manThe rating is a mix, as there are some wonderful recipes and the food photography is excellent - although admittedly there could be said to be too many shots of the guys grinning while eating said food. Originally I was going to take off just one star for the nutritional (mis)information, as I'd remembered the most significant problem as just a few lines in the food "toolkit" at the back. But it's whoppingly misleading, and relates to the very successful Happy Heart programme, and the nutritionist in me couldn't let it go. (Also, they took down one of their recipes that had been free on their blog, tweaked it (stupidly) to make it a Happy Heart recipe and included in the book, and that makes me cranky too.)
So, the first problem is when they say under the section on oil: "Stand by, as we're about to get controversial! We use oil in many dishes, as it makes things taste good, but, in our eyes, as oil is 100% fat, has no fibre and offers very little in terms of vitamins and minerals, it is total junk food." In a section about the Happy Heart course they say: "The course excludes all refined and processed foods [...] and all oils, as they are high in saturated fat..." Okay, actually, in looking for the second line I've quoted, I've found yet another mistake: "If you want to reduce your cholesterol then it makes sense to cut foods that contain cholesterol - pretty rational, right?"
This is not even close to fitting in with more recent nutritional research, and is even more annoying when you consider another fact about the recipes; they are mostly quite to very high in sodium. (Yes, the old, simple understanding that salt directly caused high blood pressure and therefore stroke & heart attack in everyone has changed, but this course is aimed at a population likely to have high blood pressure and possibly the sodium/high bp connection.) The Happy Pear Dahl recipe I'd found on the website before now has no oil but 3 teaspoons of salt (6900 g sodium) and 3 tablespoons (approximately 2700 g sodium) of soy/tamari/Bragg Liquid Aminos sauce, serving 4 people. I make that 2400 g of sodium pp, which is just above the usual recommended *daily* limit. It's not the recipe with the least amount of sodium, but neither is it atypically high. Something similar also goes on with sweeteners/sugar, with occasional over-reliance on the supposedly "healthy" nature of substitutes for processed sugar, such as agave syrup.
The shop/café is lovely, and they truly have created a wonderful community as well as business. Some of that is reflected in the cookbook, which I might well end up buying. But really, in terms of one of their supposed areas of expertise, I can only rate this as a whopping SHOULD DO BETTER.
Not to be shallow or anything, but this is not a pleasure to read, with very few pictures and those in fuzzy black and white. There are some good reciNot to be shallow or anything, but this is not a pleasure to read, with very few pictures and those in fuzzy black and white. There are some good recipes and I enjoyed the introduction, especially as I remember the old days wrt vegetarian food in Ireland very well. It's good that the second book they produced is much more attractive....more
I wasn't even on Goodreads when I read this, and the five stars is just a guess, but I do know I loved it. Copying and pasting (and cutting) from twoI wasn't even on Goodreads when I read this, and the five stars is just a guess, but I do know I loved it. Copying and pasting (and cutting) from two LJ write-ups below.
Okay, so probably most people have read Criss Cross by now - or at least, everyone in the States, as for some bizarre reason, it STILL hasn't been published this side of the Pond, which seems ridiculous. But there's not a huge amount to say about the plot of this book, anyway, aside from its being mostly about a - or maybe two - 14-year-old(s), in a small town in the sixties. The book opens with Debbie wishing that something good will happen to her soon, and there's a lovely, gentle movement through the book of what she sees happening and changing her and what she doesn't necessarily see. And Hector, the other main character, is dragged along by his older sister to a 'coffeehouse thing' at a nearby community college, where he's so impressed by a guitar player that he decides he has to learn to play himself. And the criss-crossing theme applies to them and other people, and them and each other, and they're all really nice people and the kids feel so very right and the humour is just my type. I have no real idea why this makes me think of food, but it does. A really light lemon pudding - not too sweet, and not at all stodgy!
[A few days later, I wrote more about it]
I remembered after posting the little I managed to say about Criss Cross that I'd completely forgotten to mention the Midsummer Night's Dream theme in it (though perhaps theme is too strong a word). I don't think I even saw the epigraph when I read the book, but noticed it when I was checking publisher (as I didn't want to grumble about the fact it had never been published This Side only to find it was). It's 'What thou seest when thou dost wake, Do it for thy true-love take...'
I really want to reread this book anyway, as I read it in interrupted doses and when pretty exhausted and stressed, but I've caught some of the AMND tracings and was retrospectively extremely impressed by how this was worked in. It's not at all a simple one-to-one pairing of any character, but rather the shifting seeing as these kids start to wake up to romantic possibilities in old and new friends. There's even a little touch of magic, as for example, when a necklace which has moved around the town through various different characters' hands fails to achieve anything when finally reunited with its owner. I loved this part. (I'll take out the characters' names, as it's fairly near the end. Not that there's any kind of spoiler really, but still.)
X did look at Y, and he saw her, really saw her for a moment. Y looked at X and she saw him, really saw him, for a moment. If it had been the same moment, something might have happened. But their moments were separated by about a second. Maybe only half a second. Their paths crossed, but they missed each other.
The hardworking necklace couldn't believe it. It let out an inaudible, exasperated gasp.
The more I think about what is rather broad comedy in the play when it concerns adults under enchantment, and how it becomes a perfect description of kids just coming into adolescence, the more I like this. I even wrote down who likes whom and who whom likes in return and the criss-crossing patterns of this through the book for myself! And okay, perhaps this isn't going to be as good an image of a 14-year-old now, growing up in a world stuffed with TV soaps and reality shows, but neither is it confined to adolescence in biological years. I've seen people even older than I am who are 'waking' and 'seeing' and 'loving' people in dizzyingly rapid succession.
It occurred to me early this morning that there's even a character who plays the role of the 'rude mechanical'. And it's glorious because he's anything BUT 'rude' or crude or stupid. This is Lenny, for those who've read the book, and I already thought he was yet another wonderful character. His 'metamorphosis from bookworm to gearhead' is seen to be likely to separate him from his friends - though it's not clear 'just how far apart the paths would eventually veer'. And 'maybe it was some kind of tragedy that no one spotted who Lenny could be. Or maybe it wasn't. Lenny didn't need someone to tell him who he was.' How amazing to get so much of character, and so much awareness of social pressures and their effects (and sometimes the limits of their effects) in such a short and simple bit of writing. ...more
My computer had a tantrum and I lost what I'd written - don't have the energy to try to recreate it all, either. Bullet-points again it is.
1) LOVED thMy computer had a tantrum and I lost what I'd written - don't have the energy to try to recreate it all, either. Bullet-points again it is.
1) LOVED the narrator. Sad she hasn't done any other books, even the second Lockwood book.
2) LOVED the story. It's smart, often funny and occasionally terrifying.
3) LOVED the puzzle about how the world relates to ours - initially I'd assumed it was historical fantasy, probably late Victorian, but it isn't - Lucy's family gives this impression the most, only to destroy it by her mother buying a dishwasher and larger telly when Lucy gets a promotion. The Problem (appearance of ghosts) 50 years before the story's time, has caused some quite serious changes (although whether or not this is a straight alternate history with this as a nexus point is unclear). Most obvious of those is children starting to do the dangerous jobs their psychic abilities fit them for at a very young age. "Dangerous" meaning "quite often fatal". Adults lose their abilities but some stay on as supervisors to the young kids "on the front line", as Lucy puts it.
4) Also enjoyed the puzzle of how old Lucy (and therefore Lockwood) actually is, which has to be "no older than 15", according to the ad Lockwood places. She's somewhere between 11 or 12 and 16, with Lockwood roughly the same age and George, the third of the team, a bit older. When she sees the ghost of a girl on a job she thinks that the girl is about 18, "older than me, but not by too many years". Whatever ages they actually are, Lucy, George and Lockwood live in Lockwood's house, unsupervised, and Lockwood runs his agency with no adult help.
5) In fact, I loved pretty much everything except the utterly needless fat-unfriendliness. When Lucy first meets George, he's described as "a short, fat youth", with all the accompanying adjectives tossed out rapidly and repeatedly throughout the book: plump, pudgy, podgy (that's his features), bulging... When Lucy sees Lockwood, he's "a tall, slim boy", and we are left in no doubt whatsoever that Lockwood has all the charm, the brilliance, the elegance, the self-assurance that would obviously match that height and slimness. Oh, of course George also has round glasses that are called "ridiculous" a time or two, and while Lockwood and Lucy each have special ghost sensing abilities, George's are average for an agent, while his specialty is research, which both Lucy and Lockwood find pretty boring - a fact they don't really hide from George.
George isn't the only character who's fat and unattractive with it (and even Lucy describes herself as more heavy-set than she would have wished), but his appearance is so regularly compared unfavourably with Lockwood's that it's particularly harmful. The relationship between the three is really quite wonderful, and one of my favourite scenes in the book is the one in which Lucy and George have a bitter row, and then end up apologising to each other so you see how it's mostly worry that caused them to lash out. But everything that's good in the book would have been just as good without the tired old fat slams, and therefore so much better. It's infinitely depressing to see this cropping up in a wonderful book by a fantastic author. (Spoiler: same thing in book 2, just as bad.)...more