Mama’s Kitchen Mondays – “Bitter Snow” by @WriterLaurens Palatschinken – Review & a Recipe
Welcome to PART ONE of my Bitter Snow tour posts. I am really thrilled because the author also agreed to do a second post with me and we are interviewing tomorrow, and there are some very special questions and answers exclusive to this wonderful series. Bitter Snow Vol. 1 is out just in time to fill up your teens and your own e-readers for Christmas! Today I am excited to have a one of my infamous REVIEW & a RECIPE posts along with the new Monday feature, Mama’s Kitchen Mondays! Make sure you read all the way through, there is a lovely giveaway at the end!
I love when I get to share recipes with you guys, and I especially love it when an author shares something from their kitchen to go with their stories! To have a book just as wonderful as the food food it paired with is just as exciting! Yes Kriss does actually get this excited! Heck she lives in a cabin and talks about herself in third person… *clearing throat* but I digress…
Today’s novella is volume 1 of 9 in the BITTER SNOW series. The story is a re-telling of Han’s Christian Anderson’s dark fairy tale, THE SNOW QUEEN. I grew up with my grandmother loved reading them to me before bed, all the way up till.. heck I don’t thinks he ever stopped. It was… a tradition! Part of me feels she perhaps wanted to scare me straight, of course Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales were meant to square everyone straight and with BITTER SNOW the retelling of the snow queen is retold in a way that makes you feel the darkness creeping in while getting excited about a new version of the story. I started reading this in the wee hours of the morning and did not put it down till I was done. It was the perfect length and it opened up the tale, originally told in seven parts, with an ending just enough of a cliffhanger not to be frustrating, but enough to keep me excited to read the next eight.
Last Thursday, December 5th was St. Nicholas’s Eve and being from a family which does celebrate it I had my own traditions to practice. This year mine consisted of a traditional watching of The Sound of Music and a toast of Soy Egg Nog. Our protagonist Gilly has traditions piled one on top of another living in the small town of Bremerton, SOMEWHERE USA. As a teenager she balks at some of them, even though it is hard to do so.. but perhaps she shouldn’t have because this year especially on her 16th birthday where the celebrating coincided with Bellsnichol (St. Nicholas’s Eve) and which in the end turned out to be a bit more exciting than she expected.
This is a great series to grab and start reading with your teenager, boy or girl for that matter, it has everything a good young adult should have in it. I also highly recommend it to those who also love reading fairy tales redone. Lauren Sweet hit it out of the park, hats off to her! Mesmerized would be a good description of how this story is for me. The chilling (pun intended) pulls you in and takes you on the ride. There are some points of excitement, fear and those warm feelings you get when thinking about holiday traditions. Her voice was lovely and the characters are well rounded and filled out just enough to keep me hooked.
Some of the things discussed in the book are how important traditions are to have. In today’s world everyone is so busy and always does things so fast. A story such as Bitter Snow reminds us not everyone and everything needs to be moving at warp speed. Towns like Gilly’s Bremerton is not so much stuck in the past but actively keeps these traditions alive to teach their children the value of holding onto your heritage. We have a town like this in the state where I grew up. Leavenworth, WA. It’s a place many go as tourists, but knowing many folks who live there, it is also a town, heavily steeped in traditions (though not as much as Bremerton’s, such as the RUNNING OF THE DEMONS *grin*) but there are very private traditions which the townsfolk hold dear. In a lot of ways this is one of those reads which bring so many wonderful memories back. But like I said, it is full of lessons to be learned and listened to between the lines, just like traditional fairy tales are meant too… scare you straight, or scare you straight back to what you were suppose to be doing in the first place. As Gilly learns, her decisions do not just affect herself, but end up affecting the whole town…
9.5 out of 10 snowflakes
Bitter Snow Series Description
“We are the rulers of Midwinter. In the most powerful cold of the winter, in the deepest dark of the year, we hold sway, and all of your hearth fires cannot stand against us. We are the winds that howl down the chimneys and extinguish your candles. We are the northern lights and the hungry wolves; the bitter crack of ice and the killing frost. The raging blizzard and the deep, soft, final sleep of those lost forever in the snow.”
Bitter Snow is a modern retelling of the fairy tale “The Snow Queen,” in nine novellas. It’s my all-time favorite fairy tale, about a girl’s quest to save her childhood friend from the evil Snow Queen, through her courage, determination, and the strength of her love for him. Each volume is about 80-90 pages (32,000 words). The next three installments are scheduled for release in spring/summer 2014, with the final three to follow later in the year.
Bitter Snow: Volume One of Bitters Snow
Whatever you do, don’t open the door.
All Gilly Breslin wants for her sixteenth birthday is for her best friend Kai to see her as more than just the girl next door he’s known forever. So when she receives a mysterious, romantic invitation to meet him at midnight, she knows she has to go.
But it’s St. Nicholas’s Eve, the ancient festival of Bellsnichol, when demons roam the dark winter landscape. Tradition demands that everyone in the tiny town of Bremerton stay inside, doors shut tight against evil.
Gilly thinks it’s just a quaint old superstition. She has no idea that a malevolent power has been unleashed in Bremerton—with Kai as its target. But when she answers her door at midnight, her romantic date turns deadly…and she’s drawn into an ancient web of fear and darkness that threatens everything she loves.
Meet the Author
I was born and raised in New Jersey, and books were a big part of my childhood. When I was about three and a half, I became obsessed with a Little Golden Book about a goat that gets a bucket stuck on its head. Since no one would read me the goat book as often as I wanted, I learned to read it myself—and haven’t stopped reading since. It was only inevitable that I turned to writing, so I could create more of the kind of stories that I like to read!
My favorite genres are mystery, sci-fi and paranormal/fantasy. I’ve always been fascinated by myths and fairy tales, and I love incorporating elements of ancient lore into modern stories. I have a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from the University of Alaska Anchorage, and I currently live near Portland, OR, where I am a freelance writer and editor. My other esoteric skills include astrology, figure skating, and the ability to do a perfect split.
The parties are filled with traditional German and Austrian foods. One of Gilly’s favorites is palatschinken, crepe-like Austrian pancakes stuffed with yummy fillings.
St. Nicholas’s Eve Palatschinken
(Makes 4 to 6 servings)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup milk
- 2 large eggs
A crepe pan or other round, flat-bottomed pan (preferably non-stick).
- Mix the flour, sugar and salt together. Mix thoroughly with the milk (a whisk works best). Then, whisk in the eggs one by one.
- Heat the pan well over medium-high heat.
- Add a few drops of oil and spread it evenly over the bottom of the pan
- Pour one dipper (about 4 tablespoons) of batter into the pan. The bottom of the pan should be covered thinly but completely. (You can also use a crepe spreader to spread the batter evenly.)
- Cook until the bottom of the pancake is slightly brown and the top is dry (about 45 seconds to a minute). Turn it over carefully and brown on the other side (20-30 seconds).
- Remove palatschinken from pan and transfer it to a covered plate to keep warm.
- Continue making the individual pancakes, stacking them on the covered plate as they are ready. Add additional oil for each pancake.
Tip: If you want extra fluffy pancakes, you can add a little bit of sparkling mineral water to the batter when adding the eggs.
The batter keeps in the fridge for a day or two, so you can make it the night before if you don’t want to get up too early for your palatschinken breakfast.
Palatschinken are normally spread with filling and rolled like crepes. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination!
Sweets: fruit slices or fruit spreads or jams; apples and cinnamon; Nutella and marshmallow cream; sweetened cream cheese and chocolate syrup. A classic Austrian filling is apricot jam (sometimes mixed with a shot of brandy), with powdered sugar sprinkled over the rolled pancake.
Savories: ham and cheese, mozzarella and tomato sauce, spinach and feta cheese, just to name a few! You can also sprinkle shredded cheese over any of the above and bake them in the oven before serving, to make them even more melty and delicious.
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