Book Club- The Rosie Project
Welcome to Book Club! This month we read The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. It was actually my pick and I really liked it. The book is the fictional story of Don, a professor with Asperger’s Syndrome and set in Australia with a few chapters in New York. At its heart the book is a lighthearted love story and reminds us that love can be messy, unexpected and amazing all in one! The book club ladies and I all enjoyed that the main female character was refreshingly independent. Unfortunately, there are so many love stories out there about a woman waiting to be rescued by a man, in this one that was not the case. I also appreciated a book that delved into the mind of someone with Asperger’s. It was interesting to see how the world might look to someone on the autism spectrum. It was also a refreshing look at this complex condition because it showed the reader some of difficulties people may suffer (like reading subtle social cues), but also showed us some of the strengths people with Asperger’s are more likely to possess. If you’re interested in reading a lighthearted love story with an independent female lead, this book is for you!
Book rating: Would recommend and possibly read again (8/10)
There wasn’t much focus on food in this novel, but there was a scene at a baseball game, so I centered the menu on classic stadium foods:
- Hot Dogs
- Nachos with homemade cheese sauce
- Homemade Port Caramel Cracker Jacks (recipe below)
- Roasted peanuts in the shell
Because most of the book took place in Australia, I chose to serve an Australian beer. i searched several local groceries and liquor stores and the only Australian brand I could find was Fosters. We sampled the Lager and the Premium Ale. The Lager was light but really bitter. We all preferred the Premium Ale which was darker and tasted like a traditional amber ale. Both types were $2.25 each for a 25 ounce can and can be found at most places that sell beer.
Beer review: Lager 5/10, Premium Ale 7/10
If you’ve read this book, I’d love to hear what you thought.
The next book we’re reading is Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier if you’d like to follow along. Don’t forget to check out my Book Club Pinterest board to see all of the other books we’ve read. You can also check out my friend Betsy’s book review on her blog.
Port Caramel Cracker Jacks
These Cracker Jacks have a thick coating of caramel with the rich flavor of molasses and port. I wanted to add a different tate to the typical Cracker Jacks and port turned out to be the perfect addition! It has a rich sweetness that complements the molasses wonderfully. With salted peanuts added, these Cracker Jacks are super addictive (you were warned!).
Start by preheating your oven.
Now put the popcorn in a large bowl and gently mix in the peanuts. If you’re making your popcorn on the stove, use a neutral flavored oil like canola or vegetable so it doesn’t interfere with the taste of the caramel coating.
Melt your butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once it’s almost completely melted, whisk in the brown sugar, corn syrup, salt and molasses.
Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a low boil, whisking occasionally.
You’ll cook this until it gets to 250° use a candy thermometer to check the temperature.
When it reaches temp take the pan off the heat and stir in the vanilla, baking soda and port. It’ll bubble up a little but that’s ok. That’s why it’s important to use a saucepan with ample room.
Pour half of the mixture over the popcorn and peanuts and stir. Then pour the remaining half over it and stir to make sure everything is coated. This is done in two steps to ensure the popcorn is evenly coated.
Once coated cover 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper and divide the mixture between them.
Spread it out in an even single layer on each sheet.
Now bake for 15 minutes. Then take out the sheets to stir and return to the oven for another 20 minutes. Stir and bake a final 20 minutes.
Lastly take the sheets out of the oven and sprinkle the cracker jacks with salt.
Let them cool at least 20 minutes and then break into pieces.
- 16 cups unsalted and unbuttered popcorn
- 2 cups salted peanuts
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1 cup corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1teaspoon baking soda
- 3 tablespoons port
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
- Put the popcorn in a large bowl and gently mix in the peanuts.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Whisk in the brown sugar, corn syrup, salt and molasses.
- Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a low boil, whisking occasionally.
- Cook until the mixture gets to 250 degrees.
- Take off the heat and stir in the vanilla, baking soda and port.
- Pour half of the mixture over the popcorn and peanuts and stir. Pour the remaining half over it and stir to make sure everything is coated.
- Cover 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper and divide the mixture between them.
- Spread it out to one layer on each sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes and take out the sheets to stir and return to the oven for another 20 minutes. Stir and bake a final 20 minutes.
- Take the sheets out of the oven and sprinkle the cracker jacks with salt.
- Let cool at least 20 minutes and then break into pieces.