Life Changing Books on Reader/Eater

Lady in Red.

(read on for foolproof falafel and white sauce!)

The Reading:

I fully admit that I belong to a fandom or two. I have read and could re-read everything Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Stephen King, Kurt Vonnegut, Margaret Atwood, Elizabeth Hunter, Octavia Butler, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Daphne duMaurier…and on and on–have written. I never tire of telling people about the books I love. That is why this blog mostly recommends and doesn’t simply review books. While reviews are very important–critical, even–there is something wonderful about positivity. Granted, I have been known to pick at something from time to time, but it’s rare.

There’s a real joy in sharing what I love. The food, the books, the people. I relish being able to invite others in on my secret. And the more I talk about these books that I love so dearly, the more I realize that fewer people than I thought have read these spectacular books. I get it. Dickens writes books that can serve as doorstops. Stephen King is too scary for some. Not everyone likes PNR, but, some books, some classics, are an integral part of my memory. They helped form who I am as a person, and fundamentally altered the way I view the world. Not only that, they taught me how I want to write. Not just as far as structure or details, but they taught me that even maligned genres such as horror or science fiction can serve as wonderful mirrors into our own lives, opening difficult conversations we must have as citizens of the world.

There is a wonderful exaptation in some of these works that is both striking and unsettling. Consider The Handmaid’s TaleHere is the quintessential feminist novel. Many consider this book the epoch of Atwood’s works. When it was written, women were facing mark after mark against them in society, and here we are, over thirty years later, and the ideas which originated in the novel are now quoted on the House floor in committees about women’s rights, in front of classrooms, being taught as feminist dystopia, and in writing groups everywhere as a standard by which we as writers should hold ourselves to.

Life Changing Books on Reader/Eater

The first time I read The Handmaid’s Tale, I was eighteen or nineteen. I had just split-up with my first love. He–was not a feminist. He used words like “feminazi,” and thought that abortion should be punishable by jail time.

I remember vividly, laying with him, talking, and we were talking about what we thought we wanted for the rest of our lives, he turned to me and said “well, my mother told me that I would never marry someone model beautiful,” as we’re talking about marriage. I just accepted everything I didn’t like about him, and the values he had, because I didn’t value myself. Yes, I fucked up a lot in that relationship as well, but I think the real mistake was not valuing my own instincts and my own values.

When I met the man who would be my husband the next year, one of the first things I told him was “I am trying to be a feminist, and I’m very pro-choice. Is that a problem?” He was already a pro-choice feminist, so we were good.

Atwood was the beginning of my de-programming. I was taught that women were made from Adam’s rib, and were supposed to submit to their husbands. I was coached in school about how to appropriately behave around and defer to men. Being too strong would emasculate them. Being too provocative would lure them to sin. Being too loud would mean they wouldn’t be heard.

Be quiet.

Be weak.

Be less.

Be invisible.

Be sexy.

But not too sexy.

It was never, never, “be yourself.” Atwood taught me the danger of being quiet, of adhering to homogeneity, of invisibility.

I re-read it every year.

I am no handmaid, I am no Martha, I am no wife.

I am Cat.

I am feminist as fuck.

I am loud.

I am smart.

I am ambitious.

I am mother.

I am partner.

I am friend.

I am valuable.

And most importantly,

I am me.

I am also a cook. (Like that transition? Best I could do.) So,

Life-Changing Stories, and why we need to keep writing and reading them. #amreading Click To Tweet

Recipe, Please!

I have a small obsession with Halal Trucks here in NYC. Falafel sandwich, extra white sauce, extra hot sauce, double tomato. It’s perfect. Crunchy, savory, filling, addictive. Cheap.

But white sauce is decidedly not vegan. Not even close. And the lines at the truck are painful. Also? I have a feeling that the amount of times the oil gets used in a day? Ok, not thinking about that.

So I veganized the white sauce, and I made the falafel FOOLPROOF. Because, I don’t care what anyone says, falafel–good falafel–can be a real bitch.

I also think my foolproof falafel and white sauce is *cough* better than Halal Guys *cough.*

Foolproof Falafel and White Sauce–Vegan

Foolproof Falafel and White Sauce--Halal Guys Copycat recipe. #vegan #easy #copycat Click To Tweet

foolproof falafel and vegan white sauce from Reader/Eater

Yields serves 4

Foolproof Falafel and White Sauce

easy, foolproof, delicious falafel and vegan white sauce.

30 minHow Long is This Going to Take?

20 minCook Time

50 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe

What Goes In?

    for the falafel
  • 2 cups dried chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 4 shallots
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and veined,
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • oil for frying
  • for the white sauce
  • 1 cup Just Mayo vegan mayo
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper

Avengers, Assemble!

  1. cover the dried beans with 2 inches of water and soak overnight
  2. drain beans
  3. pulse beans and all other falafel ingredients in a food processor until chopped very finely, but not until it's soup.
  4. preheat oven to 375F
  5. scoop 2 tbsp portions out and roll into disks
  6. place on top of a parchment lined sheet
  7. bake 5-8 minutes or until it starts to brown
  8. pull out
  9. heat oil to 350F in a large cast iron skillet
  10. fry each falafel ball for 1 minute on each side
  11. set on a drainer or paper towels
  12. for the white sauce
  13. simple.
  14. whisk together all ingredients
  15. serve together LIKE THEY WERE MEANT TO.
Cuisine: mediterranean | Recipe Type: vegan, vegan main courses, snack

5 thoughts on “Lady in Red.

  1. LOVE the Handmaid's Tale!! When I suggested it for a reading group for my daughter and her friend, she loved it as only a budding feminist can. Her friend was pretty uncomfortable with it, as I thought he might be... Have you Sherri Tepper? I especially enjoyed "Six Moon Dance" and "The Gate To Women's Country" (dang comment box won't let me use italics!) And I only recently discovered Octavia Butler - might have been from you, even. I very much enjoyed the Lilith's Brood collection. Also your falafel recipe looks delish :-)

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