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Amy and the Missing Puppy by Callie Barkley
Art of Freddy by Walter R. Brooks
The Aviary by Kathleen O'Dell
A Birthday Cake for George Washington by Ramin Ganeshram
The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee by Barry Jonsberg
The Endless Pavement by Jacqueline Jackson
FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics Vol. 3: Audeamus by Simon Oliver
A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat by Emily Jenkins
Five Ghosts: The Haunting of Fabian Gray by Frank J. Barbiere
The Forbidden Worlds of Haruki Murakami by Matthew Carl Strecher
Fox's Garden by Princesse Camcam
Freddy Goes to the North Pole by Walter R. Brooks
Frindle by Andrew Clements
Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky
Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible by Ursula Vernon
A Haunting Dream by Joyce Lavene and Jim Lavene
Here Be Monsters! by Alan Snow
Interstate 69 by Matt Dellinger
Moby-Dick: An Ocean Primer by Jennifer Adams
Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Noragami Volume 01 by Adachitoka
Noragami Volume 02 by Adachitoka
Steal the Sky by Megan E. O'Keefe
The Terrible Two Get Worse by Mac Barnett
Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald
The Underground City (aka Child of the Cavern) by Jules Verne
Unstoppable Octobia May by Sharon G. Flake
What a Ghoul Wants by Victoria Laurie

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5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat: 02/10/16

A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat by Emily Jenkins

A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat by Emily Jenkins is a problematic book to put it mildly. At its most basic, it's about the evolution of cooking as told through the creation of a relatively simple recipe called a Blackberry Fool.

The book shows the same recipe being made by four different families in four different locations in four different eras. The first is 1710 Lyme England. The second is Charleston, South Carolina in 1810. The third is 1910 Boston, Massachusetts. The final scene is modern day (though I suppose on could say for convenience sake, 2010) San Diego, California.

It is the second scene that has caused the most uproar but it's frankly only the most obvious problem with this book. The team making the blackberry fool dessert that time are slaves. The mother and daughter shown happily cooking, bonding over the creation of a simple, delicious, and silly named dessert, are making the meal for the master and his family. Yet, they are shown smiling in a couple places, even when hiding in the pantry to eat what remains in the mixing bowl.

I was willing to give that part of the book a pass given the illustrator's post about her decisions on how to represent the 1810 scene but it's not the only problematic scene. Scenes one, and three all show mother/daughter teams cooking. The success of the dessert is dependent on the approval of the father and brothers. Scene three, of course, adds to that patriarchal bent, the power of a white master and his family.

The final scene is presented as the happily ever after. Now that we're in the present day we have modern conveniences. We have organic food. We have blended families and men who are willing to cook too. And now fathers and sons can share the joy that is the preparation of the blackberry fool. It's all sunshine and lollipops.

Scenes from the present day.And the more I think about these four scenes the more my eye starts to twitch. We are to pretend that all the world's problems have been solved because the women are liberated from the kitchen and men are now cooking! The problems of slavery are all gone as evidenced by the mixed marriage of a black woman to a white man (who bears a striking resemblance to the slave master, just with a beard this time).

If the story had really and truly been about how cooking evolves over time and how even the most simple of dishes change, then the story should have been kept as simple as possible. Show the same family in the same location making the same meal. All that would change is their clothing, the decorations in the kitchen, and the technology used to make the dish.

Two stars

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