Cooking the Books: Tex-Mex Chicken Soup

365 Slow Cooker Suppers

From time to time, Bas Bleu’s editorial staff “samples” recipes from cookbooks and other culinary guides found in our catalog. Our efforts are amateur at best: If you’re looking for advanced epicurean know-how or glossy food photography, you’re about to be disappointed. We’re humble home cooks, you see, like (most of) you—pressed for time, with non-matching cookware and the tendency to scatter flour everywhere. But we know delicious when we taste it, and if you try your hand at these recipes we think you’ll agree!

Winter is here, and with it comes the instinct to hibernate under blankets with a good book, a hot beverage (wine works too), and plenty of junk food. But as much as we’d like to carbo-load our way through the cold season with potato chips, pasta, and pizza, that wouldn’t be our healthiest decision of the shiny new year. So what’s a bluestocking to do when motivation is low but dinner still needs to be made?

Break out the slow cooker! Continue reading

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Way back when, epic poet Homer recounted the tale of Odysseus, a Greek king taking his sweet time sailing home from the Trojan War. Along the way, he faced dire situations and tough choices, not the least of which was running the gauntlet between Scylla (a six-headed sea monster) and Charybdis (a deadly whirlpool). Three thousand years later, novelist William Styron wove his own tale of impossible choices, about a woman named Sophie forced to decide which of her children would die at the hands of the Nazis.

Today we’re proposing a series of considerably less awful—yet still book based—conundrums in a gleeful little game of Would You Rather, Bas Bleu style. (Thanks to the folks over at Book Riot for the idea.) So, dear bluestockings, gather your book club, your dinner guests, or your carpool crew, and play along if you dare! Continue reading

Q&A: Applewood Books

Presidents and First Ladies of the United StatesFor devoted readers, few things in life are as exciting as the prospect of a new book. Often, however, our bluestocking fancy is tickled by books that already have been out in the world a spell and yet are new to us. Case in point: the classic volumes brought to Bas Bleu’s shelves by the folks over at Applewood Books. From vintage childhood favorites (Five Little Peppers and How They Grew and The Haunted Attic starring Judy Bolton) to historic treasures (The Presidents of the United States), each Applewood title offers a vital glimpse into “America’s living past.”

This week, we’re chatting with Applewood founder and president, Phil Zuckerman, to learn more about the wisdom of the past, the importance of listening to your fans, and the benefits of a snowstorm for an inveterate book lover. Continue reading

January Book a Month: The Girls of Atomic City

GirlsofAtomicCityIn Bas Bleu’s Holiday 2013 catalog, we debuted our 2014 Book a Month series, an eclectic collection of twelve carefully selected titles for discerning readers. Each month here in the Bluestocking Salon, we’ll offer discussion questions about the featured work—for book clubs as well as thoughtful individuals. You may use the questions to reflect back on each book once you’ve finished it or to guide you as you read. Either way, we hope these features will enrich your reading experience. (We’ll do our best to avoid plot spoilers, but you should proceed with caution!)

Our January selection is The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan. Bas Bleu reviewer KG tells us why she devoured this fascinating book:

I grew up in east Tennessee, about a hundred miles south of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. My grandparents hailed from a tiny town just down the road from where the Clinton Engineer Works (CEW) was built. Yet for most of my life I’ve known little about the place other than that it played a crucial role in the development of the atomic bomb. Not only did Denise’s book provide a ‘local’ with an in-depth look into the history of the place, it gave me an inkling of what must have been a tremendous upheaval for my grandparents’ native community. Continue reading