Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Reading Up an Appetite: May the Odds Be Ever in Your Flavor

By Erin Sherry
Spring 2018 Intern

When I think back to the most vivid food descriptions of my reading career, it doesn’t take long for Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games trilogy to come to mind. As the title suggests, food plays a major role in the plot and is symbolic throughout the book. In the next installment of my literary recipes series, I cook up some Capitol-inspired cuisine!

In one particularly mouth-watering scene, Katniss describes her first meal in the Capitol with such detail that readers can practically taste it themselves: “Chicken and chunks of oranges cooked in a creamy sauce laid on a bed of pearly white grain, tiny green peas and onions, rolls shaped like flowers, and for dessert, a pudding the color of honey.”

To make this decadent dish for yourself, start by tossing chicken in flour, salt and pepper, then sautéing it in plenty of butter. Next, add one cup of heavy cream and two tablespoons of unsweetened, frozen orange juice concentrate. Allow it to simmer. Once your sauce has thickened, season with additional salt, pepper and chives; stir in chunks of a single orange; and serve over fluffy white rice along with steamed peas and pearl onions. It’s savory with just a hint of sweetness, and so creamy it might just become your new favorite comfort food.

Happy cooking, and may the odds be ever in your flavor! 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Superstitions Around the World

By Alex Belloli
Spring 2018 Intern

You’ve probably heard some of the popular US superstitions: don’t step on a crack or you’ll break your mother’s back, knock on wood, don’t walk under ladders and avoid broken mirrors. But across the world, there are some very different superstitions!

In South Korea, it’s believed that sleeping with a fan on can kill you! This superstition is so ubiquitous that many Korean fans have timers on them. The Korea Consumer Protection Board issued safety alerts about the topic.

In Russia, wishing a happy birthday or celebrating one in advance is believed to bring bad luck.

In India, Japan and other countries, cutting your nails at night is believed to shorten your lifespan.

Women in ancient Britain believed that carrying an acorn in your pocket helped maintain a youthful appearance. In the present-day UK, catching a falling leaf in autumn is good luck!

In the Philippines, going straight home after a wake is believed to bring bad spirits into your home. It’s customary for mourners to stop at a store or restaurant first—a practice called pagpag, which, in the Tagalog language, translates to “shake it off.”

Knock on wood that bad luck doesn’t follow you around!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Bookish Big Shots: Actors Turned Authors

By Erin Sherry
Spring 2018 Intern

I’m always stunned when the actors who portray my favorite characters on screen are revealed as writers. We previously published a blog post about popular Hollywood actors turned poets and novelists, but the list is still growing—and fast! Here are some actors turned authors whose work I can’t wait to read.

Seeing as B. J. Novak wrote for The Office as well as acted in it (and also lauds a degree in English Literature from Harvard), it shouldn’t come as a surprise that his short fiction is as clever as it is chock-full of his characteristically infectious charm. In 2013, he signed a seven-figure, two-book deal with Alfred A. Knopf, and both titles went on to be bestsellers.

Though she’ll always be Tibby to me, Amber Tamblyn has made a significant leap from films like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants to making a name for herself as a poet. Between bylines at BUST and the New York Times, she also found time to pen her first novel.

Chad Michael Murray, the golden-haired gent of early 2000s’ television dramas may not be gracing tabloid covers much anymore, but you can find his name in a bookstore. In 2011, he wrote a graphic novel, Everlast, and in 2017 he teamed up with crime writer (not fellow actor) Heather Graham to produce American Drifter, reportedly inspired by one of his dreams. Maybe Murray’s as much of a wordsmith as the closet poet he portrayed in A Cinderella Story!

Keep an eye out—your favorite actor may soon become your favorite author!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Summer’s Most Anticipated Movies

By Alex Belloli
Spring 2018 Intern

What are you looking forward to this summer? The warmth? The sunshine? The beach? Of course all three, but you should also be looking forward to movies! I’ve assembled a list of this summer’s most anticipated movies.

Avengers: Infinity War (April 27, 2018)
Infinity War has outsold the previous seven Marvel movies combined in pre-sale tickets, making it by far the most anticipated superhero movie of all time.

Tully (May 4, 2018)
From the writers of Juno, this film stars Charlize Theron as a mom of three, who is gifted the help of a nanny named Tully.

Deadpool 2 (May 18, 2018)
The sequel to the highly popular Deadpool stars Josh Brolin as Cable, a cybernetically enhanced supervillian.

Ocean’s 8 (June 8, 2018)
Featuring an all-star female cast, Ocean’s 8 follows Danny Ocean’s sister, Debbie (Sandra Bullock), and the crew she assembles to pull of a heist at the Met Gala.

Incredibles 2 (June 15, 2018)
The teaser trailer for this sequel became the most viewed trailer ever for an animated film.

Sicario: Day of the Soldado (June 29, 2018)
Described as a stand-alone spinoff rather than a sequel, this movie follows Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin’s characters from Sicario.

Ant-Man and the Wasp (July 6, 2018)
This sequel to 2015’s Ant-Man brings back Evangeline Lilly to star as the Wasp.

Don’t miss out on these blockbusters and remember to save your ticket stubs!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Reading Up an Appetite: Stuffed Avocados Inspired by The Bell Jar

Reading Up an Appetite: Stuffed Avocados Inspired by The Bell Jar

By Erin Sherry, Spring 2018 Intern

Ever since I purchased my first collection of Sylvia Plath poems in high school, I have been absolutely entranced by the lyrical prose and verses of New England native Sylvia Plath. My copy of her unabridged journals has been loved to near tatters, and I’ve even been known to pay casual visits to her childhood home whenever I find myself in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston.

Though I admit the heart-wrenching story of Esther Greenwood isn’t one that immediately comes to mind when I think of my favorite culinary moments in literature, I’ve been nursing a bit of an avocado craving lately, and luckily, Plath’s novel was the right place to look! For the next installment of my literary recipes series, I’m whipping up an avocado salad inspired by The Bell Jar.

Early in the book, Esther indulges in stuffed avocados at a luncheon in New York. Paired with “overstewed coffee so bitter it made (her) nose curl,” the meal leads her to reminisce about the avocados her grandfather used to steal for her as a child.

To make Esther’s Ladies’ Day banquet dish for yourself, just combine lump crab, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and old bay seasoning together before scooping the mixture into the hollows of halved avocados. Unlike Esther’s overstewed coffee, this simple snack is delicate and refreshing! Bon appétit!