Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner is stuffed with food references. Cannie Shapiro -possibly one of my favourite fictional heroines -has been humiliated by her ex-boyfriend in a national publication. According to the ex, Bruce:
'Loving a larger woman is an act of courage in our world.'
Cannie, the larger woman he is referring to, is, obviously, rather upset about this, and one of the consequences is a visit to the 'University of Philadelphia Weight and Eating Disorders Center'. Filling out an application form about her weight, Cannie thinks about all the delicious things she likes to eat. Spring rolls, tiramisu, calamari, mashed potatoes and roast chicken. Chocolate bread pudding, fried chicken, grilled stuffed grape leaves, brownies, chocolate tarts…it makes my stomach growl just reading page thirty six!
This intense passion for food gives an insight into Cannie's character. She loves her food, delights in it and embraces the diversity of Philadelphia's restaurants and cafes. When asked what her five favourite dishes are, she takes the question very seriously – providing an extremely honest and well-thought out answer. Refreshingly, she isn't ashamed to really love food.
It is Cannie's almost throw-away line, when describing the eateries of Philadelphia – the coffee shops where she became hooked on 'three dollar lattes and chocolate chip scones'- which made me think she's just like me. My City Living obsession was bagels dripping with honey. I could really relate to Cannie. And that's why I count her as one of my favourite protagonists.
CHOCOLATE CHIP SCONE RECIPE
Makes six large scones.
225g self raising flour
55g butter, diced small cubes
25g caster sugar
50g milk chocolate (or dark, whatever your preference), chopped.
Baking tray lined with baking parchment, electric mixer or food processor, rolling pin, pastry cutter (or drinking glass), egg wash brush.
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees or 180 degrees fan.
- Mix the flour, salt and cubed butter with an electric whisk or food processor. If you have neither then use your hands – rub the butter into the flour to create fine crumbs.
- Stir in the sugar and chopped chocolate.
- Beat the egg into the milk, then pour in half. Give it a stir and judge how much more to pour in. (You need to make a dough that isn't too wet.) Reserve a little of the milk/egg mixture for the tops of the scones.
- Once the dough is formed, roll out very gently and cut out the scone shapes.
- Re-form left over dough and roll again.
- Place shapes on baking tray and wash with the egg/milk.
- Place in oven for about 15 minutes.
- Serve warm with clotted cream. And a latte.