Weekend Cooking buttonWeekend Cooking is a weekly feature hosted by Beth Fish Reads, linking up food-related posts. Click here for links to other bloggers’ Weekend Cooking posts at Beth Fish Reads.

My last Weekend Cooking post was about the Riverside Inn Bed & Breakfast in Intervale, New Hampshire (near North Conway), where all the food is prepared in a 100% gluten-free kitchen and served in a 100% gluten-safe dining room. Here’s the other Weekend Cooking post I promised on the North Conway area in the White Mountains of New Hampshire because it seemed so hospitable to people on a strict gluten -free diet. (Click on any photos to see larger view.)

Driving from place to place during our three-day visit, we noticed many signs advertising gluten-free menu items, etc. and with an advance call, many restaurants in the area seemed familiar with the question and were able to give a clear answer on whether they could provide a safe gluten-free meal for someone with celiac disease.

It wouldn’t be vacation without fried food, but after the first night, we had all had enough fried food for the whole trip! We ate at Rafferty’s Restaurant & Pub. The food was delicious. Rafferty’s offers regular celiac disease information sessions for the public, and had a very well-versed staff.

The second night we ate at the Shalimar of India, which Ken, the innkeeper at the Riverside Inn B&B suggested as a good gluten-free dining option, especially with many of the restaurants in the area closed on Tuesdays to give staff a day off. We ate on the outdoor patio because the air conditioning was turned down low in the dining room. The food pictures didn’t come out well enough to post, but visit the Shalimar Web site to see the food. (You might want to turn the sound off.) We tried two vegetarian dishes and one meat dish. (No bread, but if you can order the bread, I’m sure that would be delicious too.) The food was excellent – as good as at our favorite Indian restaurant.

We went Italian the third night and tried Vito Marcello’s Italian Bistro, another restaurant that was known to be gluten-free-friendly. There were several menu selections that could be prepared gluten-free, including vegetarian choices, and we all ordered from them. The pasta turned out to be the same in all our meals, regardless of the menu description of the original dish, but it was the best gluten-free pasta I’ve tasted so far, and we all were served a g/f roll, which we wolfed down. (Hiking in the mountains takes a lot out of you!) I think the waiter said that the g/f rolls were baked on the premises in a separate g/f oven.

For lunches, we purchased food from local stores and had picnics. The Local Grocer (pictured in one of the North Conway shots at the beginning) had an amazing selection of gluten-free sandwiches and salads, prepared to order in a separate gluten-free area in the back.

The Lucy Brook Farm had a wonderful little farm store that we stopped at one day, where we bought handcrafted items for gifts to take home, and lots of fresh fruit and veggies to eat by the river back at the Riverside Inn.

Happy Weekend Cooking!



East of Eden Readalong BadgeThere are no discussion questions to answer for the final installment, and as you can see from the readalong badge, I’m almost two weeks late finishing the book, anyway. For other discussion posts by others in the East of Eden Readalong, visit The Estella Society here. There are no spoilers here, but there will be some in other discussion posts so if you haven’t read East of Eden, watch out for spoilers (as well as for your brother)!

East of Eden is currently my nomination for the Great American Novel. (Is it better than The Grapes of Wrath? I don’t know, because I read that so long ago.) The Grapes of Wrath, published in 1939, won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. According to Wikipedia, East of Eden, which was published in 1952, was “not well received by critics, who found it heavy-handed and unconvincing, especially in its use of Biblical allusion.” The Wikipedia article about East of Eden goes on to say, with a thumb of the nose to contemporary critics of the day: “Nevertheless, it became an instant bestseller in November 1952, a mere month after it was released, and is now considered one of Steinbeck’s finest achievements.”

Of course, in any book discussion, we want to talk about the ending with someone who shared the reading experience along with us, but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read it. The beauty of online readalongs is that I can just share this link to a blog post I stumbled across that says everything I would have said here and has saved me all the trouble of writing it myself:

You Must, You Shall, You May: The Ending of East of Eden written by Alex on the blog I Might Be Wrong.

East of Eden struck me as true to life, even with all the biblical allusions and parallels, because of the way that the lives of the main characters – Adam, Aron, and Cal – are shown to us with the attendant characters playing a large role and then disappearing from the story – even dying – or going away and eventually coming back. Most of us don’t go through life with the same people playing the same role the whole time, right?

I think East of Eden would appeal to family saga readers for the way it shows the passing of generations of a single family and its moments of high drama and long stretches of calm. Readers who like to delve into the psychology of the characters would also like it, with all the passages about personality traits, behavior, and heredity.

If you haven’t read it, don’t let the length of it scare you off! It’s a pretty fast-moving story. The biblical aspects we all keep mentioning are “bible as literature”-type references, so don’t let that scare you off either. The tone of East of Eden is agnostic, not at all preachy.


East of Eden Readalong BadgeFor other discussion posts by others in the East of Eden Readalong, visit The Estella Society here.

Now, on to the discussion questions for Chapters 28-40. There will be some spoilers if you haven’t read this book, but not too many:

1. What do you think of the twins since they’ve grown up quite a bit? They seem to take after both Adam and Charles. How do you explain that? My book club had fun with some theories recently.
Well, Adam and Charles shared a father so they may have inherited some of the same traits from him that got passed on to the twins. Since the twins Cal and Aron don’t look alike, is it biologically possible that sperm from two different fathers could have fertilized the eggs?

2. Any surprises in this section? Lee, Dessie and Tom, Adam’s business dealings? Just some ideas. :)
I was surprised by Cal’s reaction to meeting his mother and then by Adam’s response to Cal’s reaction. Lee is still the glue holding the family of men together, and he knew when to step aside and let Adam talk with Cal one on one. I was also surprised by Aron’s religious leanings and that he might be willing to give up his first love for the church.

3. Ugh, Kathy/Cate. Is there anything redeemable about this woman?
The pain of arthritis is far less than she deserves!

4. Share a quote!

This is the end of the passage about Cal’s conversation with Lee about Cathy/Kate at the end of Chapter 38:

“Cal drifted toward the door, slowly, softly. He shoved his fists deep in his pockets. ‘It’s like you said about knowing people. I hate her because I know why she went away. I know – because I’ve got her in me.’ His head was down and his voice was heartbroken.
Lee jumped up. ‘You stop that!’ he said sharply. ‘You hear me? Don’t let me catch you doing that. Of course you may have that in you. Everybody has. But you’ve got the other too. Here – look up! Look at me!’
Cal raised his head and said wearily, ‘What do you want?’
‘You’ve got the other too. Listen to me! You wouldn’t even be wondering if you didn’t have it. Don’t you dare take the lazy way. It’s too easy to excuse yourself because of your ancestry. Don’t let me catch you doing it! Now – look close at me so you will remember. Whatever you do, it will be you who do it – not your mother.’
‘Do you believe that, Lee?’
‘Yes, I believe it, and you’d better believe it or I’ll break every bone in your body.’
After Cal had gone Lee went back to his chair. He thought ruefully, I wonder what happened to my Oriental repose?”



Weekend Cooking buttonWeekend Cooking is a weekly feature hosted by Beth Fish Reads, linking up food-related posts. Click here for links to other bloggers’ Weekend Cooking posts at Beth Fish Reads.

My last Weekend Cooking post was over a month ago. I’m behind in my blogging, as in everything else, but this week we were on a family vacation and visited a beautiful bed and breakfast in Intervale, New Hampshire (near North Conway).

 At the Riverside Inn Bed & Breakfast, all the food (two-course breakfasts and homemade cookies for snacking) is 100% gluten-free – prepared in a 100% gluten-free kitchen and served in a 100% gluten-safe dining room. We stayed three nights and enjoyed three delicious breakfasts. The North Conway area also had numerous options for gluten-free dinners. We ate picnic lunches and ate dinner at restaurants.

This was our first family vacation in a while where we’ve gone away together and the first since our two daughters were diagnosed with celiac disease. A few family traditions went by the wayside  – no excursion for ice cream cones and no box of assorted fudge – but we played mini golf, took nature walks, and brought a couple of boxes of salt water taffy home with us.

But, since this is a Weekend Cooking post, let’s move on to more talk about food. Breakfast on the first day was pancakes (your choice of plain, blueberry, or apple) with either bacon or chicken-apple-maple sausage, with a slice of honeydew melon as a starter. Fruit smoothies came with breakfast every morning.

Breakfast on the second day was eggs cooked to our preference and sweet potato home fries, with a choice of toast or a toasted homemade English muffin. A cup of fresh peaches was the starter.

Breakfast on our last morning was waffles with real New Hampshire maple syrup, with a choice of bacon or chicken-apple-maple sausage, and a slice of pineapple to start with.

More on the North Conway area to come next week, maybe, but check out the Riverside Inn Bed & Breakfast on your New England travels! Whether traveling with a gluten-free eater or not, you’ll be very pleased with the meals and the accomodations!

Happy Weekend Cooking!




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