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I'm a divorced mom of 3 gluten-free daughters, devoted to finding time to read.

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Bentos for A Gaggle of Girls
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Dirty Sugar Cookies: A cooking memoir

I finally finished Dirty Sugar Cookies: Culinary Observations, Questionable Taste, by Ayun Halliday. I used it as a car book, because I owned it (and therefore didn’t have to worry about finishing it before it became overdue) and it is perfect for short bursts of reading, as the chapters are short and hold their own – no need to hold a plot in your mind from one chapter to another.

Why yes, i do realize that everyone else in the world reviewed this book quite some time ago. However, if you happen to be looking around for a more recent review, you’ve come to the right place!

I should also preface this review by saying that I have read all of Ayun Halliday’s books and loved them all. Sure, there were parts where her opinion and mine differ, but her style is humorous without being overly giddy, and she drops in social activism without creating a guilt trip.

Dirty Sugar Cookies is an autobiography through food – Ayun Halliday matures through the book from a picky eater to one who will eat anything. She is nostalgic about foods from her childhood, and talks about the various friends and family who influenced her as she began to experiment with cooking and food. Ayun shares wonderful recipes for brownies, post-coital pancakes, chipotle chili, and veggie burgers from her vegan/vegetarian stage. The recipes themselves are hilarious, “whale on it for 2 minutes” about a pudding – or for the chili “customize it to suit any palate: carnivorous, white meat only, pescetarian, vegetarian, cannibalistic … the chipotle ensures that modifications of the flesh won’t lead to any culinary ruination.”

You know what? With entries like that, it’s no wonder I preferred to read the book than watch my daughters’ soccer practices! This book definitely gets a thumbs up from me. I’m going to copy down a few recipes to test out, then hand it off to a friend. Given how much her friends influenced her cooking, I bet Ayun would approve.

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