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Book Review: ‘Food Whore’

Food Whore is a deliciously devised debut novel from author Jessica Tom. Tom’s background in the culinary world not only lends a hand but creates a fantastic entrée of intrigue and enchantment. Still, some sections of Food Whore are simply too difficult to digest. Tom’s knowledge of ingredients and the manner in which they blend and tangle with your taste buds will make you wish you had an ounce of the culinary skill of her characters. These intense descriptions of the many delights encountered in the New York City dining landscape may leave the pages of your book damp with your own ardent saliva.

FoodWhore paperback cover - finalLike any fine dining experience this one begins with hors d’oeuvres at a finely set table. Though the tablecloth is silk, the diners are rayon; well-meaning and fine to gaze upon from a distance, but not quite well refined. Tia Monroe is a prodigy with culinary dreams. She will put herself on the plate of culinary legend Helen Lansky and acquire a coveted internship. When her dreams burn on the stove, she is salvaged by feared and powerful New York Times food critic Michael Salz.

The entrée is not au maigre. Michael Salz suffers from a condition of the tongue, aguesia, which prevents him from continuing his journey into the succulent world of foie gras and entrecôte. Impressed by Monroe’s written works, Salz hires her to deceive the culinary world. Working for Salz takes Monroe on a fascinating journey through the sophisticated world she longs to dine in, but quickly learns it isn’t all flambé and macaroons.

No entrée would be complete without its side and this one is starchy. Though Monroe’s personal goals have taken a backseat to the misstep of the professional, she is still determined to create a whipped mashed yam joy. Her tenacity sometimes leads to a lumpy, gluey concoction that only her inner circle can enjoy and only the truest of her inner circle can truly critique to better her skill.

For dessert Tom serves a tarte tatin, warm and gooey with the surprising prospect of emotional response. With this full meal behind, satisfaction is inevitable. You may even need a nap from impending food coma, but for some reason you will crave another helping.

Portrait of author Jessica Tom by Liz Clayman
Portrait of author Jessica Tom by Liz Clayman

Jessica Tom is a writer and food blogger living in Brooklyn. She has worked on initiatives with restaurants, hospitality startups, food trucks, and citywide culinary programs. She graduated from Yale University with a concentration in fiction writing and wrote the restaurant review for the Yale Daily News Magazine. Food Whore is her first novel.


Food Whore

by Jessica Tom

Paperback: 352 pages

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 27, 2015)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0062387006

ISBN-13: 978-006238700

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Surviving the Summer Break for ‘Once Upon a Time’ Fans – How to Eat Like a Queen!

I’ve been dealing with an end of summer cold this week, which I think is absolutely terrible. Not only am I sick, but the virus didn’t even have the decency wait until it wasn’t 110 degrees where I live. Being curled up with Thera-flu and a thermometer on the couch has really put me in the mindset for colder weather and chicken soup.

I’ve always turned to comfort food in my times of need. I’m fairly certain that if I didn’t have such a penchant for fandoms and all the stress they cause me, I’d probably be fifty pounds lighter. And no size-shaming here, it’s just a fact of life for me and always has been. But I enjoy it. My grandmother would say, “the heart of the home is in the kitchen,” and I wholeheartedly believe that. Food may not equal love, but it is one way to show your love for others, and for yourself! Food also helps us celebrate events we love, and I love September because Once Upon a Time comes back!

So in honor of September (which officially kicks off the Autumn eating season for me), here are seven toasty, cozy meals and drinks inspired by Once Upon a Time to work into your Autumn menu

Blue Fairie’s Birthday Buttercream Wishing Cupcake

Property of ABC
“If I’d have known it was going to grant me a wish, I would have asked for a new beanie.”

This is the cupcake that started it all! Bust open any box of pre-made cake mix, and while they’re baking make this indulgent frosting. Don’t forget the blue star on top! Spritz makes perfect ones for this cupcake, but they are frequently out of stock, so you might have to settle for Betty Crocker’s instead.

The secret ingredient is butter!

Emma’s Favorite Grilled Cheese and Onion Rings

A Sheriff’s office staple, especially if things get chilly when the Snow Queen comes ‘round! Emma gets hungry for them, so they must be good! With 20 variations on the classic lunchtime treat from Serious Eats, you’ll be sure to find one that suits your palate.

Vegetables are basically a vehicle for batter and oil.

And at 4.8 stars and 130 reviews, Guy Fieri’s Beer Battered Onion Rings will make a much-desired side to your buttery, melty sandwich. The only thing better would be if your favorite OUaT character delivered them to you!

“Onion rings! My father’s wrong about you not being a good provider.”

Granny’s Lasagna

I came here to serve lasagna and kick butt. And I’m all out of lasagna!

*SPOILERS* We find out that Granny’s lasagna is of the frozen variety! Whether that means she pre-makes and freezes them to store in her walk-in fridge/werewolf cage, or she orders them from some lasagna factory that delivers over the magical border, it’s still a popular dish at Granny’s Diner. Good for a Sunday family sit-down, or to pick at a slice at a time for leftovers, this recipe will fill you up with all the food groups!

This is the most staged photo of lasagna I’ve ever seen. The pan underneath is clean.

Belle’s Hamburgers

“Please don’t talk to me until I’ve had my morning burger, thanks.”

If there’s anyone who’s found magic in masticating, it’s Belle! After being locked up for 28 years in the psych ward, Belle was thrilled to finally be freed from the confines of both her straight jacket and the hospital menu. She found great joy in the burgers at Granny’s. Try your hand at flipping some of these thick and juicy patties on the grill as the last days of summer turn cool, or follow the directions and fry them in butter for an easy cold weather dinner.

“TREAT YO SELF” – Belle (probably)

Regina’s Apple Turnovers

“After this, I’ll teach you how to grind bones to make bread!”

You don’t need a Blue Apron subscription to enjoy this recipe, which is a super easy and delicious 5-ingredient apple turnover that anyone who can slice an apple can make! Just make sure you use non-poisoned apples so you don’t get any comatose kids lying around. For a totally unnecessary addition of 200 calories, skip the whipped cream and dip your warm bites in cold vanilla pudding. You’re welcome for that.

This picture doesn’t do them justice.

Henry’s Hot Chocolate (Don’t forget the cinnamon!)

Disney’s audio animatronics are getting really impressive.

No more packets of powder mixed with water! YUCK! Why would you do that? Make this concoction instead. With heavy whipping cream as a base, you know this drink will be hearty and comforting. Cocoa should always be shared, so don’t just make a mug or two. Put that crock pot to work and whip up this decadent brew. It’s so good that it might make you forget about pie! Just kidding. What kind of weirdo forgets about pie? 

I would swim around in this and drink myself to the bottom.

Zelena’s Meat Pie

“I am totally not crazy, and you can tell by how I made my hostage a candlelit dinner.”

These are by far the most complicated items on the list to make, but well-worth it. They are a little different from the style Rumple made as a child with the Spinsters as well the ones Zelena made him while holding him captive. But these are easier to make, and easier to take along with you on cold mornings. These are sometimes called hand pies because they’re so portable. You can make a huge batch and freeze them individually for a no-fuss dinner. If the flaky pastry is a little intimidating, try using pre-made pastry sheets found in the frozen dessert area at the store. 

Mashed potatoes were invented for this.

With 20 days left until the Season 5 premiere of OUaT, you’ll have plenty of time to try out these recipes. Let us know in the comments how they worked out for you! And don’t forget to share with us your favorite Once Upon a Time food or beverage?

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