Friday, 18 September 2015

Throwing a Book-Themed Party! [GUEST POST]

Throwing a Book-themed Party for any Book (No matter how inappropriate!)

Hey there guys! So today I have a guest post by Elizabeth Guizzetti, author of Other Systems and the Faminelands series of graphic novels. This is all about throwing the best bookish party out there, combined with awesome recipes, so enjoy!

I adore throwing parties and find that the more specific the theme, the easier it is to plan which is why throwing book-themed parties is so much fun. Plenty of people throw book themed parties with Anne of Green Gables, Harry Potter, Dracula and while there is nothing wrong with that, inappropriate titles mean your party tends to be original and interesting.

This blog post is going to show you how I threw a dinner party themed around my favorite read for 2014: All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doeer. Before you think “What?!? Are you crazy? All the Light We Cannot See? Isn’t that about two children dragged into WWII? Yes, I admit it is a complex and serious novel, but it actually makes a lot of sense. The novel mixes atrocities and hope. Plus there are more then a few mentions of food. I focused on the character of Madam Manec and the food she prepares throughout the novel. 


You will notice while I want things to look nice, I'm not going to win any Pinterest awards. Trust me: the most important thing is that you have fun with your friends and enjoy good food.

Step 1) Decide on a budget.

This will help you in so many ways. Let’s say I have $100 and I want to serve 10 friends plus me and my husband. Yes, it can happen with some advance planning and smart shopping! 

  Step 2) Figure out logistics.

 This is when, where, and why? Do you want to throw a Dinner Party? Will it be a sitdown dinner or buffet? (In my apartment, it’s always a buffet.) For dates, I looked at history and dates mentioned in the book. Consider a party during the time when France was liberated from Germany (August 19 – 25) Or on it’s release date (May 6) Or any of the dates mentioned in the novel itself. Even those that are tragic are also full of hope because it was an end of a war. 

  Step 3) Create your guest list and send out invitations. 

Remember, this is supposed to be fun so invite friends. Fear not: if they don’t approve they probably won’t come anyway. Hint: If you’re on a tight budget, use Facebook Events or Evites but make sure you set it so your guests can’t invite other people. 

Step 4) Create a Menu. 

For help, search out clues from the text itself. I love to make up recipes. Don’t be afraid to just respond to the text. If you don’t like the foods mentioned, close your eyes and be inspired. For example: I am allergic to seafood, otherwise I would love to add a mussel or escargot dish for my menu for All the Light We Cannot See Party. It’s important to create a menu that’s cohesive and seasonally appropriate. This will keep costs down. 

Notice from the pictures, I set out small plates of grapes and pear slices. Why? Because I had them in the refrigerator, people were coming over. Less waste = less wasted money. Non Food: Blue Napkins (3.50) Wine ($32.00) 2 bottles of white and 2 bottles of red. While I would love to use a French Wine to stick with the theme, anything imported from Europe is going to tax my budget. There are plenty of local Washington or California wines that will work great. For folks in Europe, go French. ;) 

First Course/Appetizer Sweet Green Grapes and Sliced Pears ($7.00) Cucumbers with Tomato Spread, Olives and French Goat Cheese ($10.00) Both of these appetizers are nice, because they are light and flavorful yet inexpensive. 

  • 2 – 3 Roma tomatoes
  • ¼ red onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) red wine vinegar
  1. Dice Tomatoes and Onion and garlic.
  2. Mix with oil and vinegar.
  3. Chill in Fridge overnight. Can hold in fridge for two weeks. Serve with sliced cucumbers, olives, and goat cheese.

This is one of my favorite appetizers.

Main Course: Thyme Pork with Roasted Carrots and Apples with a side of French Green Beans ($28.50) 
I knew I wanted to use green beans, because Marie-Laure finds a few jars of food near the end of the book, but she does not know what is in them. 

  Cool is beans. Canned cooked green beans. The water they have been cooked in is supremely tasty; her body seems to reach up and to absorb it. She empties the can. Inside her head her father has gone quiet. (All The Light We Cannot See page 378)

The rest of the dish was created using French flavors and pork was on sale. I chose it because I am hosting a party. But there is a line in the novel about how there was no pork and what people were eating instead. 
Note: if you need to extend the food a little more add 3 large red potatoes/turnips or any other root vegetable (on sale) cut into 2-inch pieces.
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces or baby carrots
  • Optional: 3 large potatoes cut into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces
  • 1 medium-size sweet onion, quartered
  • 3 teaspoons (18 grams) salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (9 grams) freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup (78 ml) olive oil
  • A generous pinch of dried thyme
  • 15 boneless pork loin chops
  • 4 tablespoons (60 ml) Dijon mustard
  • 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup (3.7 ml) apple cider (Alcoholic or not as you prefer)
  • 1 Apple cut into thin slices
  1. Preheat oven to 350°/ 177°.
  2. Oil large roasting pan.
  3. Put in vegetables; sprinkle with half of the salt, pepper and thyme then pour ½ of the oil to coat.
  4. Sprinkle pork with remaining salt and pepper, and place on top of vegetables in pan. Stir together mustard, honey chopped garlic remaining oil and rosemary; spread over pork. Top with apple slices.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion of pork registers 160° / 72°. Let stand 10 minutes.
  6. Transfer pork and vegetables to a serving platter, reserving drippings in pan and cover to rest.
Dessert: Tarte Aux PĂȘches (Peach Tart) $10.00
While there is no mention of a peach tart within the pages, Madam Manec’s canned peaches are a favorite food of Marie-Laure and she and Werner come together over a jar of peaches.

  Immediately he can smell it: the perfume is so sweet, outrageously so sweet that he nearly faints.What is the word? PĂȘches All The Light We Cannot See page 470

Pate Brisee Short pastry, for a 10-inch tart pan
  • 2 1/2 cups (312.5 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (6 grams) salt
  • 2 teaspoons (12 grams) sugar
  • 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup (60 ml to 120 ml) ice water
  1. In the bowl combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and use a food processor process, 8 to 10 seconds OR use a fork, pastry blender and your muscles. until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  2. Add ice water in a slow, steady stream.
  3. If you have a food processor, pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. OR using your hands to mix the dough. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  4. Flatten dough into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.
  5. Roll chilled dough to 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured surf ace; add more flour as needed. Transfer it to a 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom; fit it into the tart pan without stretching; roll the rolling pin over the top of the tart to cut off the dough hanging over the pan's edge; refrigerate 20 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C Place the tart pan on shallow baking sheet; fit the tart pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, fill with beans or pie weights, and bake in the middle of preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove from stove.
  • 1 large egg
  • 1⁄3 cup (68 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon (8 grams) of flour
  • 1⁄2 cup (119 ml) whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) cognac or brandy
  • 2 Cans of Peaches in Syrup
  • Honey
  1. Turn the heat down to 375°F/190°
  2. Beat the egg and sugar together in a mixing bowl until mixture is thick, pale yellow, and falls back on itself forming a slowly dissolving ribbon
  3. Beat in the flour, then the cream, and finally the cognac
  4. Pour the mixture into shell it should come almost to the top of the pastry shell
  5. Arrange peaches in the crust in concentric circles.
  6. Brush honey over peaches and return to oven for 15 to 20 minutes more until custard puffs.
  7. Tart is done when top has browned and a knife plunged into the custard comes out clean; unmold the tart; cool 10 minutes and serve or store in the fridge for later.
  Step 5) Enjoy your party!


Much to her chagrin, Elizabeth Guizzetti discovered she was not a cyborg and growing up to be an otter would be impractical, so she began writing stories. Elizabeth currently lives in Seattle with her husband and two dogs. When not writing and drawing she enjoys hiking, birdwatching and throwing parties. She is the author and illustrator of independent comics, Faminelands, Lure, and Out for Souls&Cookies. 

In 2012, she became a science fiction author with the publication of Other Systems published by 48Fourteen and is proud to announce her newest novel: The Light Side of the Moon. (Another book that would make an inappropriate party! How inappropriate you ask? Elizabeth has a sample menu at her publisher’s blog) 

  You can find Elizabeth at her Twitter: ‪@E_Guizzetti, or Facebook: 

  The Light Side of the Moon: The Second Novel in the Other Systems Universe

The Light Side of the Moon Final

 Earth is a cesspool and our solar system’s colonies have failed. Nevertheless, outside our solar system, exploration has thrived. Encouraged by the conquest of Kipos, idealistic dreamers look beyond Earth to build a utopia from the abandoned Lunar Colony Serenitatis. Industrialists reconstruct the colony, but struggle to turn a profit while encouraging scientific discovery. Despite intense uncertainty and physical hardship, the impoverished Ella Sethdottier follows rumors of plentiful jobs on the moon. On roads fraught with danger, she discovers Earth is a bigger place than she ever imagined, but Serenitatis is little more than a prison colony. Ella forges unlikely friendships with corrupted androids and the quixotic prison doctor, Ian Whitlatch, who champions equality and rights for inmates. Amid corruption and nobility, tragedy and victory, the fate of the colony hangs precariously in the balance. Available on Paperback and E-book.

No comments:

Post a Comment