Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Book: John Bloom and the Victory Garden; The Bite: Buttered Noodles!

The Book!
The book, John Bloom and the Victory Garden, is a fun middle grade read that tells the story of three neighborhood friends, all aged ten, that create a 'Boys Club' in hopes of helping the wartime effort after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. You can read my full review by clicking onto the link here. John Bloom and the Victory Garden was written by indie author, chef, baker, and culinary arts instructor Leigh Shearin.

John Bloom and the Victory Garden: "John Bloom and the Victory Garden is the rollicking tale of 3 boys at the dawn of America's involvement in WWII. John Bloom, and his best friends Joe and Chewie live, play, and get into adventures in 1940's era Appleside, NJ. Because children are generally joyful and tend to put more importance on the goings-on of their own worlds than those of grown-ups, the events of the war are woven into the boy's daily lives. Along the way, a bitter and cynical old man is drawn into their hijinks, and contributes his own joy to the lives of these 3. 

Chapter One invites the reader to join John and his friends in Appleside, NJ on the afternoon of December 6th, 1941. Through newspaper headlines and radio bulletins, the boys learn about the incredible events of the war- beginning with the attack on Hawaii by the Empire of Japan. As the story moves along, John and his friends learn that everyone- not just soldiers- can make a difference. They learn that commitment leads to ultimate success and that taking a seemingly insurmountable task one step at a time will make that task simple. John, Joe and Chewie learn about where their food comes from, and how important good food is to the Allies overseas. 

John Bloom and the Victory Garden is not just a story of Homefront USA during WWII. Its about faith, endurance and sturdy values that transcend time and cultural differences. It's about accepting tough times, struggle and adversity and overcoming them anyway. It's about seeing the humor in life, and helping others to see the humor too. 

But mostly, they just have a gut-busting great time!"

Book Stats:
Genre - Middle Grade, Fiction
Page Count - 195
Target Age Group - 9 to 18
Theme(s) - Friendship, Historical, War, Food

The Bite
Nonna's Buttered Noodles!
I love a book that not only provides a good read, but also offers a great recipe at its conclusion; and John Bloom and the Victory Garden doesn't disappoint. The book offers a total of five recipes at its conclusion and the recipes range from main dishes to desserts. I opted to try the recipe labeled Nonna's Buttered Noodles since I had most of the ingredients on hand. The noodles were fast, flavorful, and super simple to make. My five year old and I loved them! Since I did not have fettuccine noodles in my pantry, I opted to substitute angel hair pasta instead; which I did have. Also, with the 2 tsp. black pepper, it was a tad bit on the spicy side. To cut down on the spiciness, simply reduce the amount of black pepper by half. Here is a pictorial step by step guide to making your own. Enjoy!

Ingredients for Nonna's Buttered Noodles:
1 pound Fettuccine Noodles (or pasta of your choice)
4 Tbsp Butter (1/2 stick)
3/4 cup Parmesan Cheese (plus more for garnish)
1 tsp Salt (plus salt for water to boil noodles)
1 to 2 tsp Black Pepper

Boil pasta as directed on package instructions in salted water.
(Note: I boiled the angel hair pasta for approximately 6 minutes.)

Drain pasta, but Do NOT rinse. The heat/steam from the pasta will help melt the butter.

Add the butter, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
(Note: To cut down on the spiciness, only add one teaspoon black pepper instead of two.)

Add the Parmesan cheese.

Mix well to incorporate. 
Add a little shredded Parmesan cheese on top, and Voila!
Buttered Noodles! 

Nonna's Buttered Noodles!

Nonna's Buttered Noodles!

Nonna's Buttered Noodles!