Friendship Bread ~ Novel Review & Giveaway!

For the past month or so I’ve been stirring, mashing and feeding a bread starter every day. It’s a bit of a commitment to maintain and it looks and smells a little gnarly on the counter along the way…all sour, bubbly and pasty. But after a while my efforts are rewarded with the opportunity to turn it into something delicious.

It's hard to imagine this pasty, bubbly mess will turn into something delicious

As author Darien Gee puts forth in her new novel, Friendship Bread, the process of nurturing this starter is analogous to cultivating our often-sticky interpersonal relationships. The book has been garnering strongly positive reviews on Amazon and I’m excited to share one more from my newly-appointed official book reviewer – my mom, Nancy!

Read on for my mom’s thoughts on the novel Friendship Bread and details for entering the book GIVEAWAY!

My mom is probably the most avid reader I know. A former teacher, she always encouraged my sisters and I to enjoy reading as well. She found Friendship Bread to be a delightful read – here’s what she had to say:

*****

Author Darien Gee
Author Darien Gee

Friendship Bread by Darien Gee is as sweet and delicious a book as the Amish friendship bread that inspired it. Like a master chef, Darien Gee combines various proportions of lives that are unique ingredients and produces the product of friendship in countless variations.

Several times, she refers to life as “messy.” Those of us who have ever owned a bit of Amish friendship bread starter know that it, too, is an ugly, pasty mess. Given time and careful attention, though, it makes a delicious, tasty treat.

Cleverly, Darien Gee has written a novel about messy lives that when given time and care, unite to produce relationships that are rich, tender, and yes, warm and delicious. How easy it is to throw out the messy starter or to abandon a hurtful relationship. Darien Gee shows us that patience, attention, and most of all love, lead to something that nourishes the body and uplifts the soul.

Friendship Bread has as many variations on life as the numerous recipes for the starter that are found at the end of her book. Enjoy it, find your own variation, and pass it on.

*****

In addition to the traditional Friendship Bread recipe (shown here in this post), I also tried the Friendship Bread Pancakes recipe that appears at the end of the book and experimented with my own chocolate chip variation. Even though there’s yeast involved, this is definitely more along the lines of a cake than a typical yeast bread. All three recipes I tried were terrific – sweet and light with a hint of the sour starter (in a good way). You’ll notice in the traditional recipe the inclusion of instant pudding. Friendship Bread is supposed to have originated with the Amish but I have a feeling their version doesn’t include this ingredient. 🙂

Friendship Bread, by Darien GeeWin a copy of Friendship Bread, by Darien Gee! [THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED]

Here are four ways to enter, you can do any or all of them (please leave separate comments for each entry):

  • Leave a comment on this post sharing your favorite novel.
  • “Like” Cooking on the Side on Facebook
  • Subscribe to free updates from Cooking On the Side via e-mail or RSS
  • Follow me @paninikathy on Twitter

The giveaway will close this Friday, April 22, 2011 at noon PDT. I will use random.org to select two winners to receive copies of Friendship Bread and announce the winners in this post. Apologies to my international readers, the prize can only be shipped to U.S. addresses.

**UPDATE 4/22/11: Congratulations to the Winners!

Congrats to Wendryn (entry #49) and Sara (entry #23)!

Friendship Bread

You can find the recipe for the Friendship Bread starter as well as 100+ bread variations (whew!) on the Friendship Bread Kitchen website.

Thanks to Ballantine Books for providing the review and giveaway copies of Friendship Bread.

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55 Comments

  1. sara wrote:

    Sounds like a fun book! I actually would not be surprised if there is instant pudding in the Amish version. I grew up in Amish country and you’d see Amish women at the grocery buying boxes and boxes of cake mix, pre-made pie filling, etc. etc. to make the baked goods people buy at their roadside stands. Definitely ruins the illusion a bit. 😉

    Posted 4.18.11 Reply
    • Kathy wrote:

      Wow, really? That’s so surprising! 🙂

      Posted 4.18.11 Reply
  2. Lili wrote:

    What an interesting concept for a book! My favorite novel is Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson.

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  3. Soroya wrote:

    I would love a copy of this book! I subscribe to Cooking on the Side in my Google Reader. Thanks for having such a great blog!

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  4. Soroya wrote:

    My favorite novel is I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Toni Morrison. Please sign me up for the giveaway.

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  5. Danielle wrote:

    I’ve never heard of Friendship Bread Pancakes, but I am thoroughly intrigued.
    My favorite novel is Atlas Shrugged (not necessarily for the philosophical diatribe, but the story itself is certainly a ride).

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  6. My favorite novel is Peyton Place.

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  7. Like Cooking on the Side on Facebook.

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  8. One of my favorite novels is The Red Tent. Thanks for the chance!

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  9. Beth wrote:

    I had heard about this book right after I received a bag of Amish Friendship Bread starter from a friend at work…I felt like I was either supposed to continue making bread, or read the book…maybe both!

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  10. Stella wrote:

    I love the books of M.K. Fisher and they have been my favorite books related to food for ages, but I also love “The Sweet Life” by David Lebovitz.

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
    • Kathy wrote:

      I read one of M.F.K. Fisher’s essays recently – I would definitely love to try one of her books.

      Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  11. Stella wrote:

    i have now “liked” you….should have done that long ago!

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  12. My favorite novel is a toss up between The Secret Life of Bees by Sue monk Kidd and a Prayer of Owen Meany by John Irving.

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
    • Kathy wrote:

      I went through a John Irving kick a while back – I really enjoyed the Cider House Rules. 🙂

      Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  13. I like cooking on the side on facebook

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  14. I subscribe through google reader!

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  15. I follow you on twitter

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  16. Candice wrote:

    My favorite novel is A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith. As it states in the novel, it’s a story about nothing and a story about everything, which gives it a charm that I adore. You have to read it to understand. ^-^

    On that note, Friendship Bread sounds charming as well because I love books that capture what life is through various other life stories. It would be fun to win the giveaway and add the treasure to my collection.

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  17. Candice wrote:

    I like Cooking On The Side on facebook.. as well as in life lol

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  18. Candice wrote:

    I also follow you on twitter @cawaii

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  19. Ashlie wrote:

    Wow – picking my favorite is difficult. I’m pretty big on the classics – I love love love Pride and Prejudice, but my favorite is probably Little Women! My favorite newer novel is The Help – it was the first one in a while that I couldn’t put down. I woke up at 4am one morning just to read it 🙂

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  20. Sara wrote:

    My friend makes the most amazing friendship bread, I love it so much!
    My favorite novel is The Perks of Being a Wallflower

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  21. David wrote:

    I follow you on Twitter as “davethefish1” and i’m so glad to find this recipe for Friendship Bread. Thanks Kathy!

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  22. Heather wrote:

    My favorite novel is Obsessed by Ted Dekker. It is so good!

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  23. David wrote:

    I am subscribed by e-mail to Cooking On The Side. I saw so many interesting variations that you can make with the Starter at the Friendship Bread website. Once again, Thanks Kathy!

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  24. David wrote:

    I’ve also “Liked” Cooking On The Side on FaceBook!

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  25. Chris M. wrote:

    Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Thanks.

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  26. Maurilia wrote:

    The book looks great, I can’t wait to read it 🙂

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  27. David wrote:

    Would Love a copy of this book! My all time favorite novel would have to be Margaret Mitchells “Gone With The Wind” and my most favorite quote from it is “Frankly Scarlet, I Don’t Give A Damn”

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  28. Pauline Hall wrote:

    Would love to try Friendship Bread. Maybe I would have better luck with that mixture than with Sour Dough Starter.

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  29. Susan wrote:

    The Pact by Jodi Picoult

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  30. Pat R wrote:

    A Payer for Owen Meany…..one of the best novels ever!

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  31. Susan wrote:

    Hard question! I think my favorite is The Pact by Jodi Picoult.
    I’m currently reading Saving CeeCee Honeycutt!

    I “like” you on facebook and get your RSS feed!
    Thanks!

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  32. Candice wrote:

    And now I’m officially subscribed to this blog by RSS on Google Reader. Cheerio!

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  33. Catharine wrote:

    My favorite book would have to be Northanger Abbey by Jane Austin!

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  34. lauren wrote:

    That book sounds great! My fav is probably Gone With the Wind or The Great Gatsby.

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  35. lauren wrote:

    I like you on FB! 🙂

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  36. lauren wrote:

    I subscribe to you via google reader 🙂

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  37. Jeanette wrote:

    I always love a novel dealing with real life relationships, especially with a recipe at the end that tells the whole story! I totally agree, it is all too easy to walk away from a “messy” relationship; however, the reward of working through the ups and downs of a friendship is lifelong.

    Posted 4.19.11 Reply
  38. Doris wrote:

    I love any book about true crime by Ann Rule.

    Posted 4.20.11 Reply
  39. Debby G. wrote:

    Sound like a great book! Haven’t had freindship bread in years. Hard to pick a favorite novel, but one I really liked was the Joy Luck Club.

    Posted 4.20.11 Reply
  40. Angela wrote:

    I don’t have a favorite really, but my mother’s is Jane Eyre. After seeing the movie (I know terrible! I think I know why!)

    Posted 4.21.11 Reply
  41. Angela wrote:

    I like cooking on the side on Facebook!!

    Posted 4.21.11 Reply
  42. Angela wrote:

    I get your emails!

    Posted 4.21.11 Reply
  43. Angela wrote:

    I follow you on Twitter!

    Posted 4.21.11 Reply
  44. Wendryn wrote:

    Already subscribed via RSS – does that count?

    Posted 4.21.11 Reply
  45. Wendryn wrote:

    The Wizard of Earthsea is my favorite novel.

    Posted 4.21.11 Reply
  46. Wendryn wrote:

    I’m following you on Twitter now, too. 🙂

    Posted 4.21.11 Reply
  47. Jen O wrote:

    I love cookbooks but my favorite novel would be Memoirs of a Geisha.

    Posted 4.22.11 Reply
  48. Shaina wrote:

    I had friendship bread gifted to me about 4 years ago now. I had a lot of fun doing variations, and then recently my sister showed up at a baby shower with more.

    Posted 4.22.11 Reply
  49. Maurilia wrote:

    So curious to see who the winners are of this book! 🙂

    Posted 4.22.11 Reply
  50. I love Friendship Bread! I’m to late for the contest but it looks like a fun book!

    Posted 4.27.11 Reply