Friday, April 30, 2010

Deep Fried and Delicious

by Jo Robertson

Okay, here’s the thing. I just lost ten pounds on Weight Watchers, and I’m feeling a tad smug and a bit self-righteous.

Almost wanna do the Nanna, Nanna Dance.

So I've been thinking of healthy foods even as I crave all kinds of sweets and fried goodies.

Last weekend the city of Stockton, California, held its annual Asparagus Festival. Since I live in the luscious San Joaquin Valley with its rich agricultural bounties, we have a lot of festivals: the Strawberry Festival (a favorite of mine), the Garlic Festival (I kid you not), and the Asparagus Festival among them.

I watched the news about the Asparagus Festival on television, learned it was touted by Sunset Magazine as the best festival ever.

Jeopardy even had a question about it:

"Stockton, California, doesn't have a festival for Britney Spears, but it does for one of these green spears." Would you have guessed correctly?

The TV segment showed thousands of volunteers dipping this beautiful, lovely asparagus into a batter and then deep frying it. Now I love asparagus. Cold or hot, it’s a delicious and healthy vegetable.

But deep-fried? OMG! I admit it’s probably very tasty, but why take a lovely, good-for-you veggie and make it unhealthy?

Now I can see deep-fried Twinkies. They’re unhealthy from the get go, so why not? But veggies deep-fried.

That’s just plain evil.

While surfing the Net I found other deep fried anomalies.

Like Deep Fried Pickles. And Deep Fried Coke.

I was really interested in that one (momentarily forgetting all about Weight Watchers) because I figured I could substitute Pepsi for the Coke, right? There's no sugar in the batter -- they figure the can of coke has enough -- but the final fried ball is rolled in cinnamon and dusted with powdered sugar, then drizzled with -- yep, you guessed it -- Coke syrup!

What about you? Come across any unusual foods (with or without the deep frying)? What’s your favorite unhealthy snack? Okay, and in the name of national health, what’s your fave HEALTHY snack?

What does this have to do with writing, you say? I changed a recent Advanced Placement Language question to fit our romance readers.

"Write about a novel in which a food or banquet scene plays an important role in the book."

The AP folks intended the students to write about the banquet scene in Hamlet or the one in Macbeth where Banquo's ghost appears, but I tweaked the question to fit our romance readers.

Can you think of a food or banquet scene from a romance novel that plays an important part in the book?


Anna Campbell said...

Hey, it's MEEEEEEEE!

Anna Campbell said...

Well, he hasn't been to the Sunshine Coast to visit me for ages. When he comes to Oz, he seems to prefer Helen! Ha ha, he's a bit scared since I told him the deep fried post was all about KFC!

Jo, why would anyone deep fry asparagus? It's so delicious without being fattening which isn't what you can say about a lot of things. Although thinking about it, there's a Chinese restaurant in Brisbane's Valley that does delicious deep fried spinach and it tastes like the best potato chips you ever had. Seriously yummy! Anyone goes to the Enjoy Inn, try it! Haven't been there for years but still remember it - and the salt and pepper quails.

Actually I was thinking about revolting things deep friend before I read your post. Someone stuck a photo of a deep fried Mars bar up on Facebook. Oh, my Lord, is that a walking heart attack or what?

Dianna Love said...

Ah, Anna, if I had to miss out on the GR I'm glad it was you. I'm on the west coast with Cassondra and Mary Buckham and still awake (so not my normal sleep schedule)- thought I might actually get here early enough to snag him for our cruise.

I love the idea of deep fried spinach (though I'm so full from our meal i can't think much on food right now).

Will come back later to see what everyone else has for suggestions.

Jane said...

Hi Jo,
Congrats on the weight loss. I love fried foods and would love to try some fried Twinkies. My favorite unhealthy snack is potato chips. I don't really eat healthy snacks, but I do snack on almonds and they're good for you. Can't think of any banquet scenes off the top of my head.

Congrats on the GR, Anna.

PinkPeony said...

Hi Jo!

Congrats on the WW loss. I've been through their program before and it's the healthiest weight loss option out there. I used to think a five pound loss wasn't a lot so I'd pick up a five pound bag of flour and remind myself that I'd made some progress.
I've been trying to lose the freshman-writer fifteen and my favorite snack is Trader Joe's nonfat vanilla yogurt. I mix it with a banana, berries or unsweetened canned pineapple. It's very filling and healthy.

Food scene in romance...In SEP's Dream A Little Dream...the heroine's starving. The hero begrudingly gives her some fast food. She almost afraid to eat the hamburger. She saves the fries for her young son as a treat because she's broke and not sure where they're next meal will come from. That scene made me cry.

BTW, I love the Sunset festival.
Congrats on the GR, Anna!

Kim in Hawaii said...

Jo, congrats on the 10 pounds! Now you can wear a bikini for the summer!

Five years ago, I lived in Southeast Netherlands - a hilly region that dipped down between Belgium and Brussels. The local farmers grew "spargel" and "witte spargel" (asparagus and white asparagus). They also had festivals for it ... but you would not see anything fried!

I have seen the Fried Oreos and Fried Twinkies at traveling fairs.

All this talk about food is making me hungry ... but I'll follow Jo's example and go to the gym. ... just in case the Cabana Boys come back to Hawaii!

jo robertson said...

Hi, Anna! Good for you on capturing the chook. It HAS been a while, hasn't it, since he visited your fair shores?

Hehehehe, oh yeah, the old boy's ripe for deep frying. He'd better watch out for the frying fat!

jo robertson said...

Anna said, "Jo, why would anyone deep fry asparagus? It's so delicious without being fattening"

EXACTLY!! Some things are just NOT to be screwed with, honestly!

I'm very curious, however, to see if anyone's tried it and let us know about the taste.

jo robertson said...

OMG, deep fried spinach. Now I've heard everything. OTOH, I'll bet it is quite delish. I like spinach but only if it's raw in a salad. Cooked, it just stinks up my house!

jo robertson said...

Anna said, "Someone stuck a photo of a deep fried Mars bar up on Facebook. Oh, my Lord, is that a walking heart attack or what?"

LOL, so true. I saw deep fried Oreos and deep fried Snickers bars, so the Mars bar sounds about right. A lot of these things seem to be available here in the states at fairs and festivals.

jo robertson said...

Ah, Dianna, too bad Anna swooped the chook right out from under you!

Are you on the west coast of Australia or the states?

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Jo-Mama,
Did you hear they had Asparagus Ice Cream at the festival?!?! And they RAN OUT! Now, I LOVE asparagus, but I think I'll take a pass on the ice cream.

I went to the Brussel Sprout festival in Santa Cruz once upon a time, and tried Brussel Sprout flavored salt water taffy. Um... NEVER again! PTHEWEY!!!

Congrats on the chook, FO! Keep him away from the Tim Tams and you should be fine!


jo robertson said...

Thanks, Jane. I still have more weight to lose, but it's a small start.

Potato chips are the downfall of lots of folks, don't you think? My husband loves chips, more for the salt, I think, than anything. We get the Ripples Reduced Fat and I actually prefer them to the regular ones.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Forgot to say, CONGRATS on losing those 10 lbs, Jo! Was that before or after those guac and chips we had on Sat?!?!


jo robertson said...

Thanks, Pink! Yum, the yogurt with fruit sounds good.

I haven't read much SEP, but I know that scene -- such a tear jerker!

What's the Sunset Festival? Is that something over the Pacific?

LOL on the Freshman Fifteen. Never heard it applied to writers, but it sure fits, doesn't it. Or for me the Freshman Fifty!

jo robertson said...

Kim said, "Jo, congrats on the 10 pounds! Now you can wear a bikini for the summer!"

ROTFMAO! Oh, yeah, this body's ripe for going into the old bikini and scaring the bejesus out of every teenager on the beach!

jo robertson said...

Kim, apparently the Dutch are smarter than we are -- does white asparagus have a slightly different flavor than the green?

You might even find those cabana boys at your local gym, Kim. They like to hang out in places with sweat and machines. Bwaaahhhhaa!

jo robertson said...

Aunty Cindy said, "Was that before or after those guac and chips we had on Sat?!?!"

WTG, critique partner! Outting me! It was likely all those sodas, or maybe the deep fried ice cream. I should've led with that one LOL.

Hmmm, maybe some of those 10 pounds lost will be "found" when I weigh in this week.

jo robertson said...

AC said, "Did you hear they had Asparagus Ice Cream at the festival?!?"

Yes, I heard that, but the news cut off before I could figure out what it was -- green tinted ice cream?

Ice cream trying to masquerade as a veggie?

Chunks of cooked asparagus ruining perfectly good ice cream?

Tell us, inquiring minds want to know.

jo robertson said...

I'm sorry, but brussel sprouts is the one veggie that should've died a cold, hard death.

Strangled in its cradle, so to speak.

Or is it just me? Anyone out there like brussel sprouts?

Anna Campbell said...

Dianna, I'll swap you a rooster for a ticket to come over and party with you girls! Deal?

Jo, meant to say yay you on losing the pounds!

PinkPeony said...

I saw your reference to Sunset Magazine. Sunset Magazine has an annual open house at their HQ in Menlo Park in May. They have all kinds of stuff for cooking, gardening...I finally got a glimpse of their test kitchens. My mom's had a subscription to Sunset since 1963 so I grew up reading it.

Helen said...

Well done Anna I am sure he is going to enjoy Queensland this visit to OZ


Well done on the weight loss way to go. I agree why would anyone deep fry asparagus it is really nice as is. One of my favourite fattening food is potato chips as well and of course chocolate LOL. For healthy I love fresh fruit and lots of vegies spinach being one of the best so I would love to try the deep fried spinach.

I have read lots of historicals over the years and even a normal dinner is like a banquett LOL but with servents to cook and wash the dishes who wouldn't eat meals like that all of the time and trying to remember a specific banquett from a book at the moment is totally beyond me I have had the 5 grandkids all day and 4 of the slept over last night so my brain is really mush at the moment. I have made a big pot of vegie soup for dinner and we have some crunchy bread to go with it and I don't think I will be long out of bed tonight LOL.

Have Fun

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I'm with Jane, love me some plain Lays potato chips. I can't think of a healthy snack other than nuts straight from the shell with no roasting or seasonaing involved.

Hmmm,can't think of any banquets in books either.

Caren Crane said...

Anna, you naughty bird snatcher! *g* No deep-frying the chook!

Jo, this is like our Fair Food discussions of past years. I have a sort of morbid fascination with all the deep-fried nastiness that pops up at the NC State Fair. Fried Snickers - blech! But they do have deep-fried cheesecake and it's not half bad. It's not all good, either, but it's hard to go wrong with cheesecake. *g*

I can't think of a food scene in a romance, though, because I always go back to the food scene in 9-1/2 Weeks...which knocks all other food scenes out of my brain. Micky Rourke was so creepy/cute back then. Too bad what he did to himself boxing!

Caren Crane said...

Favorite healthy snack: tie between edamame and celery.

Favorite unhealthy snack: The Blooming Onion at Outback!

Gillian Layne said...

Jo, congrats on your weight loss! WW is such a smart, safe way to go.

Healthy snack? We're craving fruit now; strawberries, cantaloupe, watermelon. Unhealthy? Bring on that movie popcorn! Talk about heart attack in a bucket. But I love it!

I love this question, as I get to talk-up one of my all time favorite books--The Marriage Test by Betina Krahn. Julia of Childress is an amazing cook, but the abbess wants to keep the orphan and turn her into a nun.

Griffin de Grandaise is held hostage by his inability to handle smells or food. Your heart breaks for this hero. He wears a silver clip on his nose just to block out all smells.

Of course, he ends up with her as his personal cook at his castle; his vow is to return her to the abbey in one year with her virtue intact.(Ha!) But she takes over the keep and kitchens, and gently opens up new worlds of taste and temptation to him. She wants a home and a husband!

I swear, you'll gain ten pounds just reading this book! I cannot recommend it highly enough. :)

Dianna Love said...

Hi Jo -
I'm on the west coast of the states. I love your fried blog and will share them with my hubby who is the cook in the family.

"One" of my favorite fried foods is sweet potato chips, but I love fried fish and fried chicken. Those are treats because I only eat them on occasion.

Deb said...

Congrats on the weight loss, Jo!

Deep fried asparagus? I'd rather have mine with salt and dripping with butter.
Wild asparagus is good, but, then, you have to go in ditches to get it where there might be snakes, yuck. My mother has several huge patches of it in her garden.

I don't have any unusual deep fried foods to share, but I think anything unusual can be found at the Iowa State Fair (pickles on a stick, corn dogs, pork chops on a stick---I'm still scratching my head on that one). I love my mother's fried chix and mashed potatoes with gravy, yummy.

MsHellion said...

*LOL* That does seem like an awful thing to perfectly good asparagus.

My favorite healthy snacks are:

Baked Tostitos
Guacamole (ONE serving)
Lots of fat free salsa (HOT, HOT, HOT)

Baby carrots

I also have a recipe for an artichoke & spinach cheese dip that's only 2 points a serving (including the chips). It's GOOD.


Anna Sugden said...

As I'm allergic to asparagus - nothing could make it taste better *g*.

Deep-fried ice cream is yummy. It was all the craze for a while after that film about the Glasgow ice-cream wars - Comfort & Joy?

Deep-fried banana works too.

I've had a deep fried mini-Mars bar and it was great - but I couldn't handle a whole Mars bar!

I'm a big fan of tempura - pretty much anything tastes great in tempura batter.

I have to say, I'm more of a savoury person so I'd take a bag of potato chips (with sour cream dip) over something sweet.

Oh, and I like sprouts. Tom Colicchio's Craft Bar does a great version with chopped apple and butter.

Can't think of a food scene in a book off-hand - but I love the bit in You've Got Mail where Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks meet and she has a go at him for eating the garnish *g*. And the restaurant scene in Pretty Woman.

Joan said...

Jo, here in the South Deep Fried is a food group!

Echoing Caren's comments about Fair food...there really is nothing like it. Dip it in batter and fry it up and yummo...

Yesterday, we had the Pegasus parade here in Louisville (prelude to Derby tomorrow). It's held on the street right outside my hospital and have all those vendors that offer these delectable morsels.

As we were running around crazy (note to self: Do not schedule to work on the full moon!), one of the nurses commented that it would be wonderful to have a funnel cake.

Just the THOUGHT of fried dough with powdered sugar got me through the rest of the night.

And really, in my estimation, a bloomin' onion is a VEGETABLE :-)

Deb said...

Oops, I didn't answer the question about a book. I remember reading Betina Krahn's book (I think it was either The Marriage Test or The Husband Test) and the heroine was Julia Childress, haha. She was always creating delicious meals for the hero.

jo robertson said...

Thanks for the info on Sunset Mag, Pink. I didn't know they had their own festival so close to me! I'd love to take a look at their test kitchens.

jo robertson said...

Helen, you're right about the historicals and the description of dinners in them. So many courses! My family's lucky to have salad or dessert with their dinner.

What a trooper you are! Five at once and four overnight??? You're a saint. I'm sure your children appreciate you.

jo robertson said...

HrdWrkMom, I love my chips with a clam dip sold at our local grocery. That does me in as much as the chips themselves!

jo robertson said...

Caren said, "I can't think of a food scene in a romance, though, because I always go back to the food scene in 9-1/2 Weeks...which knocks all other food scenes out of my brain."

I haven't seen that movie in years. Doesn't it also star Kim Basinger and isn't it quite risque?

I've never been a fan of Mickey Rourke, but I'll bet he's fabulous as the villian in the new Iron Man.

jo robertson said...

Caren said, "Favorite healthy snack: tie between edamame and celery."

Celery, Caren??!! That's just plain sad -- it's all water LOL. Now put a little Cheese Whiz or peanut butter on it -- oh, wait, you said HEALTHY.

jo robertson said...

Gillian, the strawberries have just come on here in northern California and I crave them, too.

Thanks for the tip on THE MARRIAGE TEST; it sounds delicious, which reminds me of Sherry Thomas' historical called DELICIOUS, which features an excellent chef who seduces a man who thinks food is only food.

jo robertson said...

Dianna, me too! Although I live too far inland to really be "on the coast" -- I wish!

Why is everything fried so tasty??

jo robertson said...

Deb said, "anything unusual can be found at the Iowa State Fair (pickles on a stick, corn dogs, pork chops on a stick---I'm still scratching my head on that one)"

Yep, it's those darned fairs! I've never heard of the pork chops on a stick -- I'm trying to figure out where the stick goes LOL.

jo robertson said...

MsHellion, thanks for reminding me. I love hummus!

Can you share your artichoke dip recipe with us? I have one, but alas, it's way off the charts in fat grams.

jo robertson said...

Anna S. said, "Oh, and I like sprouts. Tom Colicchio's Craft Bar does a great version with chopped apple and butter."

Now this sounds good! I'll bet it'd be easy to make low-fat, too.

THE PRETTY WOMAN restaurant scene is a classic! "I'll have what she's having," and the smug look on Meg Ryan's face is perfect.

jo robertson said...

Joan said, "one of the nurses commented that it would be wonderful to have a funnel cake."

Those funnel cakes were going around at Marine World when we visited earlier this month. They looked so scrumptious. I passed on it, but only because my SIL was hurrying us along.

What? They must contain at least 1500 calories!?!

ROTFL at fried foods being a major food group :-D.

jo robertson said...

Okay, I'm off to do the treadmill and try to run off a few of the calories I put on just reading about the deep fried food options.

Now, remind me again. Why did I write this post?

Ah, I was thinking someone would remind us of the parallels between eating savory foods and sensuality.

Christie Kelley said...

Congrats on the loss, Jo!

I have to admit, I've never tried a deep fried twinkie or Mars bar. My biggest deep fried indulgence is fried mozzarella sticks (only if done well).

I'm not sure why there is this urge to deep fry every thing.

Boy, I can't think of many banquet scenes. I'll have to let that one simmer in my brain and get back to you.

Louisa Cornell said...

Good on you, La Campbell! The threat of frying will keep the GR on his best behavior!

I live in the DeepSouth home of DeepFriedEverything, but even we draw the line at some things. Fried asparagus? YUCK !!

I love fried zucchini, but can't stand fried okra. (My poor Mom thinks it is a travesty that I don't like fried okra. Makes me unSouthern or something.)

Fried candy bars have got to be some late night frat boys experiment gone terribly wrong!

Healthy snacks? Uh, yes, let me get back to you on that one.

Unhealthy? Lays Barbecue Potato Chips! If not restrained I can eat an entire large bag by myself.

Congrats on the ten pounds, Jo Mama!

Now I am off to find that Bettina Krahn book. I like reading about food only a little less than I like eating it!

Cybercliper said...

I'm born and raised Southerner so you know we deep fry every thing but the worse I've seen (haven't tried) is 'mountain oysters' - uh, a by product from gelding hogs - if you get my drift. My favorite veggie is one most people hate - brussels - like little cabbages to me - love 'em steamed. And sorry about the asparagus - I'd have to be really, really, really, hungry :-)

PJ said...

Have fun with the GR today, Anna! Hope he doesn't get you into any trouble...well, unless it's fun trouble. That would be okay! :)

Jo, congratulations on the weight loss!

I had to give up deep fried food a few years back when my doctor put me on a heart-healthy lifestyle. The one thing I miss the most is battered and deep fried zucchini sticks. Oh man, I could eat those babies all day! Another thing that it hurt to give up was battered and deep fried chili rellenos. I'm drooling just thinking about them.

Some of my healthy snacks nowadays are almonds, walnuts, apples, celery w/ natural peanut butter and baked Tostitos w/ a little guacamole and no-fat refried beans.

PJ said...

Gillian, I love The Marriage Test! That's such a great book.

jo robertson said...

PJ said, "Gillian, I love The Marriage Test! That's such a great book."

Now I KNOW I'd gotta get this book. You heard it heard in the Lair LOL.

I hear you about the heart-healthy foods. I tease a lot, but although I find these deep fried foods both fascinating and scruptious, I seriously limit my intake since my open heart surgery.

That's no picnic!

jo robertson said...

PJ said, "The one thing I miss the most is battered and deep fried zucchini sticks."

I'd love that! But my loud-mouthed heart is saying, "Don't you dare!"

jo robertson said...

PJ said, "Some of my healthy snacks nowadays are almonds, walnuts, apples, celery w/ natural peanut butter and baked Tostitos w/ a little guacamole and no-fat refried beans."

WTG, PJ. That all sounds delicious. I've never tried the baked Tostitos, but you're the second person who mentioned them. The refried beans would be good fiber and the avocado is a healthy fat. Yummm, off to make lunch!

jo robertson said...

Cybercliper said, "the worse I've seen (haven't tried) is 'mountain oysters' - uh, a by product from gelding hogs"

Oh. My. Heavens. That's just plain nauseous. Have you tasted them? They must taste good to SOMEONE, but I can't imagine who. I was thinking one of the fellows from Chain Saw Massacre -- oops, sorry, folks, don't mean to insult any gelding-hog-oyster-eaters.

I'll try most anything -- blood pudding and haggis, anyone? But I'll draw the line at those oysters!

jo robertson said...

Hi, Louisa! Yeah, I just ordered Bettina's book too.

Listen to me, acting like she's my new BFF LOL.

jo robertson said...

Christie said, "My biggest deep fried indulgence is fried mozzarella sticks"

Oh, yeah, bring that on! Deep fried and CHEESE, my favorite unhealthy snake :-D.

I'm sure there are lots of banquet or dinner scenes in romance books. It's just too good an analogy to pass up, don't you think.

But I'm drawing a blank too. In literary fiction they're quite powerful. Macbeth invites the other thanes to his banquet, inviting them to celebrate his new kingship. Ironically, he toast Banquo (he's just had him killed) when the Ghost of Banquo appears, bloody and hacked at the table.

Of course, only Macbeth can see the ghost, underscoring his moral and mental decline.

Gosh, I love that scene! Am I a total nerd?

jo robertson said...

Uh, yes "snake" is the new "snack," pun intended.

Speaking of, has anyone ever eaten rattlesnake? I had a rattlesnake bit scene in my WIP so I had to do some research on it (we have quite a few rattlers in the foothills around her).

Apparently, the taste is a little gamey, but good. Uh, I might pass on that one too.

Joan said...

I'll do you one better on the Fair food pork chop on a stick.

The Kentucky State Fair has pork BUTT on a stick!

It's an extra dollar to leave the squiggly tail on :-)

Nancy said...

Anna, congrats on the rooster!

Jo, if you can eat it, we southerners can fry it. No problem-o. Fried Milky Way bars are obtainable at the state fairs. Really.

Am coming up blank on banquets. We've had company for the last two days, guests coming into town today, the boy taking the SAT and then flying out for his girlfriend's prom, and life will not be normal again until Sunday night.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Morning all!

OMGosh! All this talk of fried food is making my face break out! LOL!

Hey Jo, from what I heard/saw on the local news the ice cream was green like pistachio but flavored like asparagus. That is just WRONG on so many levels...

And I have had deep fried asparagus. VA's comment made me remember that this Asian place the DH and I like (20 kinds of sushi!) has it in the tempura veggies sometimes. My favorite there, however, is the tempura sweet potato slices. YUM!!!

And yes, I even LIKE brussel sprouts, steamed with lots o butter. But adding some apple sounds yummy too. ;-)

I love to eat (hence my shape) and will try just about anything once. I've had tongue, snails, frog legs, and blood pudding. But I think I will pass on Cyberclipper's Mountain Oysters. Now if you hadn't told me what they were first, I MIGHT have tasted them. But now... NO WAY!


Gillian Layne said...

Hurray! I love influencing purchases. Ladies, you will not regret it. :) If (when!), you love TMT, then go buy Luck Be a Lady. Funny, sensual, and a big loud dog. Perfection.

Louisa, how can you not eat fried okra? Is it the slimy center? Cause if you dip it in enough ranch dressing, that is all taken care of!

Joan--Fried pork butt? Ok, cannot quit laughing....

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

LOL Joanie, on the pork butt. The California State Fair has egg roll on a stick. (shakes head in disbelief)

And sorry Jo, I haven't had snake (that I know of, though some of the meat in China and Turkey was of questionable origin), but I've had eel. Isn't that about the same thing? I was really hungry so the eel tasted pretty darn good. ;-)

No, you are not the only geek who LOVES that banquet scene from the Scottish play. I LURVE that play!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Fried okra?!?! I'm with you, Louisa, EWWWW! And yes, Gillian it is that slimy center. ICK ICK ICK!!! Not enough ranch dressing in the known world...


Kirsten said...

Hi Jo -- hilarious post -- and go you for losing that weight! I do enjoy occasional fried food, but the asparagus idea leaves me cold. I adore asparagus blanched and then sauted with a bit of olive oil and red pepper. I wouldn't like to see it defaced by dipping it in hot oil! Ew!

I must also defend the brussell. Love those little guys. Hopefully you haven't been eating them frozen? That is truly gross. They must be fresh, and you should remove the outer few layers of leaves to get to the sweet part inside. Then roast with olive oil or saute with bacon (mmmm, bacon...). Do NOT boil or overcook. Yuck.

Enjoy your veggies, ladies! We've all got bikini issues, I imagine! :-)

PJ said...

Jo, a favorite (quick) lunch is low-fat cottage cheese, chick peas (also called garbanzo beans), dark kidney beans, walnuts and romaine lettuce, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with garlic powder. Yumm-O!

Like you, I have to pay attention to what goes in the mouth. Heart disease runs in the family (my mom died of a heart attack at 53) and I plan to stick around a lot longer than that!

Janga said...

Another Southerner here and one who loves fried zucchini,fried okra, and--best of all--fried green tomatoes. Still, I think I'll skip the fried asparagus. :) Spring and summer are great for my favorite healthy snacks--strawberries, melons, and peaches. My favorite year-round healthy snack is celery spread with light garlic and herb Laughing Cow cheese.

The sexy food scene I always think of first is the apple pastry scene in Jo Beverley’s My Lady Notorious—a textbook scene to study for creating sexual tension. Lisa Kleypas’s raspberry scene in Suddenly You is justifiably famous. There’s an unforgettable scene involving peaches in Laura Lee Guhrke’s And Then He Kissed Her. Sherry Thomas makes the seductiveness of food central in Delicious. I can’t think of as many in contemporary romance novels—only the Krispy Kremes in Jennifer Crusie’s Bet Me.

Nancy said...

AC and Louisa and Gillian, I like fried okra. Without ranch dressing. I like the crunchy outside and not-so-crunchy inside.

Jo, still musing on the food question. I know I've read romance novels that made use of food, but I'm drawing a complete blank!

runner10 said...

Weight Watchers rocks!! Congrats on the weight loss!!

I am amazed at all the different things you can deep fry--butter?? Who knew??
I saw at a local festival frozen pickle juice. I had to google that and had no idea it was so popular.

Hope you have a great weekend!!

jo robertson said...

Thanks, runner10! Deep-fried butter? I don't get it; what's the point?

And pickle juice LOL. I'm gonna google that one, can't see how the juice keeps its shape.

OMG, the deep fried butter was at the Texas State Fair. And it comes in flavors!

jo robertson said...

Nancy said, "I like fried okra. Without ranch dressing. I like the crunchy outside and not-so-crunchy inside"

Anything goes with ranch dressing, right? My granddaughter will eat her veggies if they're dipped in ranch.

jo robertson said...

All of those are great food scenes in romance, Janga. Thanks for helping us remember. Kleypas' raspberry scene is wonderful.

jo robertson said...

Thanks for the recipe, PJ.

Heart disease is striking more and more people at younger and younger ages, and while I tease about scarfing down all these fattening items, I do try to be careful.

I'm always looking for someone who's taken a high-fat, high-calorie, high-sugar recipe and transformed it to be more healthy. Anyone?

jo robertson said...

Thanks, Kirsten, ten pounds isn't very much, but it's good to celebrate because it's the first milestone.

Kirsten said, "I must also defend the brussell . . . They must be fresh, and you should remove the outer few layers of leaves to get to the sweet part inside. Then roast with olive oil or saute with bacon (mmmm, bacon...)."

I must admit I haven't eaten the brussel sprout (single) in many years. I should give it another try. Your description sounds good.

jo robertson said...

Aunty Cindy said, "And sorry Jo, I haven't had snake . . . though some of the meat in China and Turkey was of questionable origin, but I've had eel."

Should be very similar, I imagine. The recipe I saw said to boil the snake and remove the bones. That stopped me in my tracks.

jo robertson said...

Gillian said, "--Fried pork butt? Ok, cannot quit laughing"

Oh, so many snarky responses come to my mind, but I must keep this PG-13.

Joan said...

Joan--Fried pork butt? Ok, cannot quit laughing....

The pig's not laughing.....

Anna Campbell said...

Anna, deep fried ice-cream is a Chinese restaurant specialty here. YUM!

Louisa, you HAVE to come to Australia and try Smith's barbecue chips. Yum, yum, yum, and I have the fat on my butt to prove it!

Joan, laughing at your poor pig!

Beth said...

Congrats on the weight loss, Jo! My town is having their annual StinkFest this weekend which is all about Leeks! They have leek dip and leek sausages and other leek stuff. To be honest, I don't usually go *g*

Right now my favorite unhealthy snacks are any flavor of Sun Chips! They've even pushed aside Doritos as my fave chips *g*

And I'm reading Nora Roberts' Savor The Moment which is about a wedding cake baker and I'm loving all the different cakes she comes up with :-)

jo robertson said...

Thanks, Beth! I'm guessing that StinkFestival is rightly named.

Hmmmm, Sun Chips, I used to believe they were healthy.

jo robertson said...

Anna said, "deep fried ice-cream is a Chinese restaurant specialty here"

I've only seen it served here in Mexican restaurants. Specifically the one Aunty Cindy and I do our CPing in. Bad place for any kind of diet!

Lori said...

Congrats on the WW loss!

Do they have asparagus ice cream like they have at the Gilroy garlic festival?

Vanessa Barneveld said...

Deep-fried Coke?! That takes the cake! I love anything deep fried, especially deep-fried camembert with a side of cranberry sauce. Heaven!

~ Vanessa

jo robertson said...

Thanks, Lori! Yes, they had asparagus ice cream, but I'm not sure what it is.

Have you eaten it? What does it taste like?

jo robertson said...

Hi, Vanessa! Thanks. I had to look up the deep-fried camembert and O. M. G. it sounds delicious.

Here's a link if anyone's interested:

Note to self -- see cardiologist right away!

MsHellion said...

Artichoke/Spinach Dip

Servs 22 (supposedly), 1/4 cup dip, 6 chips

2 cup(s) part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup(s) fat-free sour cream
1/4 cup(s) grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 clove(s) garlic clove(s)
14 oz canned artichoke hearts, without oil
8 oz light cream cheese
8 oz fat-free cream cheese
10 oz chopped frozen spinach
14 oz baked low-fat tortilla chips

combine mozzarella, sour cream, 2 T parmesan, pepper, garlic, artichokes, cream cheeses, & spinach. Sprinkle with 1/2 c mozzarella and parmesan. Bake for 30-40 minutes (or crockpot it for a while). Serve with chips.

1/4 cup of dip; 6 chips.

MsHellion said...

(My Weight Watchers builder is saying now that it's 3 points, but it's still good...and to me, worth the extra point.)

I haven't tried this one, but it's a WW recipe (for real)

jo robertson said...

Thanks for the Artichoke/Spinach dip recipe, MsHellion!

Sounds delish, whether it's 2 or 3 points.