Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Nightingale inspired Macarons #FilltheCookieJar #FoodiesRead

I just finished reading The Nightingale, a historical fiction set during the takeover of France by Germany prior to WWII.  It is the story of two sisters who are so very different and yet so very the same.  They reminded me of my relationship with my sister.  We love each other more than life itself and we agree on very little.

Before I go any further I want to just let you know that I waffled back and forth about this post and whether I should publish it.  It goes against my grain to speak out publicly against POTUS but it is exactly for this reason, my discomfort, that I am speaking my mind in this post.

I am not looking for a debate on this matter. This is my blog where I come to write about my life and my feelings.  I don't feel the need to apologize now, or ever, for what I post on my blog.  My readers are free to agree with me or not.  We are all entitled to our own opinions.  May God's peace surround us all.

Image result for the nightingale

This story was a very hard read for me.  Not because of the writing, which is excellent and not because it didn't hook me fast and hard and keep my attention, because it did.  This story was hard for me because of how I perceive what is happening in this Country, politically, as history just repeating itself.  This is something my sister and I see very differently as did Vianne and Isabelle.  It is also something at which I am at odds with many of my friends.  

I read in horror as France blindly allowed their President to barter a deal with Hitler saying he was doing what was best for his country.  I cringed as the French turned a blind eye to their fellow countrymen.  People who had been born and raised in France, people who had fought and died for France being persecuted for nothing more than the religion to which they were born and chose or chose not to practice.  I wept as German soldiers took risks to protect the innocent while keeping themselves and their families out of the line of fire and I raged at those soldiers and those in authority of each country who felt that they were better than others because of the station they held or the religion they professed.  

I was physically sick to my stomach when I compared what was happening now to what happened then and I truly wonder if one day, my writing these words could result in me and my family being executed for daring to speak against our Government.  

Food was a huge part of this story.  Mostly because of the lack of food for some while others had so much more than they could possibly use and chose to give the scraps to animals before sharing it with their fellow human beings.  I sit here stunned that our Government is proposing to cut funds that feed our elderly and our children as we pay millions of dollars for one child from one family to live outside of the White House so that he can attend his private school instead of the private school in Washington DC. I feel the hairs stand up on the back of my neck screaming "danger, danger".  

Please, don't get me wrong.  I love my country. There is nowhere else in the world I would rather live. However, we must remember that the French felt the same way about their country, as did the Germans, Poles and Russians.  Many Germans were blinded by that love and could not see the true picture while the others quickly learned to protect themselves and those they loved by staying silent.

I am proud of the fact that our great country fought against the tyranny in Europe but that does not mean that our Government is exempt from making the same mistakes.  Russia, too, fought against Germany in WWII and I certainly wouldn't want to live in Russia.

The book ended, as did the war with people picking up their lives and continuing to live.  Life got better and people went about their business brushing the tragedies, deaths and atrocities under the rug to be hidden and never spoken of.  Be this due to the pain of remembering or the shame of remembering I guess depended on the person.


Back to the family in the novel. The sister who survives is now very elderly and lives in this great USofA and is summoned back to be honored for her, her sister's and  their father's part in the rescue of Jewish people and American soldiers who would otherwise have been taken prisoner.  This sister returns to France, accompanied, by her son who knew nothing of his family's involvement during this historic period. While walking down the streets of France together, she takes her son into a bakery and orders him a Macaron.  It is his first bite of France and the story his mother has to tell.



This scene, with mother sharing history with son, in the form of food resonated with me.  I decided to share some Macarons with my blogging community, my readers.


This recipe came from a publication distributed by my local grocer, Kroger.  I followed the recipe for the cookie exactly but chose to tint mine purple for Easter as this is the theme for this month's Fill the Cookie Jar.  I filled mine with a blueberry/lemon jam that our son made for us.  You can use any jam, lemon curd, caramel or chocolate ganache in the filling...whatever floats your boat.


I am linking this post to Fill the Cookie Jar and Foodies Read 2017.  You will find links to the other FTCJ recipes below mine.


Blueberry/Lemon Macarons
adapted from Kroger

1/2 c. almond flour
3/4 c. powdered sugar
2 egg whites, room temperature
1-2 drops lilac food coloring
2 T. caster sugar
Blueberry/Lemon Jam (or your favorite filling)

Sift together the almond flour and the powdered sugar.  Set aside.

Place egg whites in large bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment.  Beat on medium speed until foamy.  Add the food coloring and continue mixing until egg whites are tinted.  With the mixer still on medium speed gradually add the caster sugar and beat until glossy and holding peaks.  Do not increase speed on mixer, be patient, it takes a little time.

Sift the flour/sugar mixture over the top of the egg whites and gently fold in.  Scoop the mixture into a large pastry bag fitted with 1/2" round tip.  Pipe 1 1/2" rounds onto two large baking sheets covered with parchment paper.  Set aside and let rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours.

Place in a preheated 300* oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the tops don't feel sticky to the touch.  Cool on baking sheets set onto wire racks.

When completely cool, spread a thin layer of jam on the bottom of a shell and top with a second shell.  Repeat with remaining shells.

These cookies are best refrigerated overnight before serving and can be refrigerated up to 3 days. Print Recipe

Let's Fill the Cookie Jar!




28 comments:

  1. I love what you shared Wendy, and that you were bold and brave enough to state your opinions and thoughts, as you should be able to do. Without fear, without worry of others comments or differing opinions. And the cookies you shared are just lovely. I've yet to attempt macarons, they are definitely on my "to bake" list!

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    1. Thank you Rebekah. Perhaps getting up my nerve to make these cookies helped my to be brave enough to write the post. This novel was very powerful to me.

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  2. These are so gorgeous...thanks for sharing!

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  3. Wow, this was a great read. So much more than a wonderful cookie recipe. I do mean wonderful. I have been wanting to tackle Macarons and have never had the courage. Now, to the book. I will be checking to see if my library has it. I agree with so much of what you are saying about the way our country is right now. I find many things in history repeat themselves. I am not political, but I do pay attention and worry. Thanks for the cookie recipe and thanks for letting me know about this book.

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    1. Please let me know what you think of the book after you read it Cynthia and do make the cookies....I can't believe I was intimidated for so long for no reason.

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  4. These look delicious. I haven't experimented making macarons but want to in the future.

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    1. Much easier than I expected Heather.

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  5. I really enjoyed reading this review and your reaction and feelings about the book. Thank you!

    Elen
    ihath.com

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    1. Thanks Elen, for the kind words and for visiting.

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  6. Added the book to my library queue, thank you. Blueberry and lemon are one of my favorite flavor combos.

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    1. I hope you enjoy the book Jolene, I know you would enjoy the macarons.

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  7. The cookies sound delicious. And the story sounds intriguing. I will have to add it to my GoodReads as well.

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    1. I think you will like them both Audrey.

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  8. The book is phenomenal and your post is Outstanding !

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  9. Isn't it nice to be able to share your opinion. That's what is so great about our country! Thanks for the cookie recipe. Have a great weekend!

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    1. You are right Vickie and I hope that we always enjoy the freedoms we have. Thanks for stopping by.

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  10. Sounds like a book I would want to read. I think we should never forget what these times were trying to teach us. I don't know how I feel about Syria and our President at the moment. I voice my opinion on my blog too. And delete any comments which get out of line!

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    1. Yes....Syria threw me for a loop. I was happy with his response and agree with his decision but it certainly doesn't make up for all the bad decisions he is making, in my opinion.

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  11. Thanks for sharing your feelings and concerns. History repeats itself because we don't see ourselves in those shoes. We file away history as past mistakes made by ill informed people. Even though today we have all their hindsight knowledge, we still feel it can't happen again. Not here. I do love the USA, the land of opportunity, land of freedom. We're a nation forged from immigrants' desires to just live a better life. I love that you included making macarons and sharing a bit of their trails and triumphs in the Nightingale.

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    1. Thanks Cindy, I too love our Country and want to see it continue to be the greatest in the world. Thanks so much for stopping by.

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  12. Your macarons look wonderful!

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    1. Thanks Sue, hope you are feeling better.

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  14. I have wanted to make macarons for a long time and these sound perfect.

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    1. They were much easier than I thought they would be Marlys.

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I enjoy getting comments and feedback from my audience. Please let me know what you think, keeping in mind that we are all entitled to our own beliefs and opinions. I am happy to hear yours as long as they are stated nicely.