Friendship Bread ~ Novel Review & Giveaway!

by Kathy Strahs on April 18, 2011 · 55 comments

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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.



See the Recipe Index for all the recipes on Cooking On the Side.

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{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

sara April 18, 2011 at 10:20 PM

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. 😉
sara´s last blog post ..Mexican Polenta Bowl

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Kathy April 18, 2011 at 10:23 PM

Wow, really? That’s so surprising! 🙂

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Lili April 19, 2011 at 12:38 AM

What an interesting concept for a book! My favorite novel is Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson.
Lili´s last blog post ..Brunch

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Soroya April 19, 2011 at 5:13 AM

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!

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Soroya April 19, 2011 at 5:16 AM

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

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Danielle April 19, 2011 at 5:24 AM

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).
Danielle´s last blog post ..A Belated 新年快樂!!!

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emily williams April 19, 2011 at 6:10 AM

My favorite novel is Peyton Place.

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Jersey Girl Cooks April 19, 2011 at 6:46 AM

Like Cooking on the Side on Facebook.

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Jersey Girl Cooks April 19, 2011 at 6:48 AM

One of my favorite novels is The Red Tent. Thanks for the chance!

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Beth April 19, 2011 at 8:40 AM

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!

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Stella April 19, 2011 at 9:41 AM

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.

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Kathy April 19, 2011 at 10:10 AM

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

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Stella April 19, 2011 at 9:43 AM

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

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Amie Kanengeiser April 19, 2011 at 9:58 AM

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.
Amie Kanengeiser´s last blog post ..Reader Recipe Submission- German Sausage Chowder

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Kathy April 19, 2011 at 10:08 AM

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

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Amie Kanengeiser April 19, 2011 at 9:58 AM

I like cooking on the side on facebook
Amie Kanengeiser´s last blog post ..Reader Recipe Submission- German Sausage Chowder

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Amie Kanengeiser April 19, 2011 at 9:59 AM

I subscribe through google reader!
Amie Kanengeiser´s last blog post ..Reader Recipe Submission- German Sausage Chowder

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Amie Kanengeiser April 19, 2011 at 10:00 AM

I follow you on twitter

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Candice April 19, 2011 at 10:11 AM

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.

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Candice April 19, 2011 at 10:12 AM

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

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Candice April 19, 2011 at 10:14 AM

I also follow you on twitter @cawaii

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Ashlie April 19, 2011 at 11:07 AM

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 🙂
Ashlie´s last blog post ..Pretty Darn Perfect Pizza Crust

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Sara April 19, 2011 at 11:39 AM

My friend makes the most amazing friendship bread, I love it so much!
My favorite novel is The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Sara´s last blog post ..Last Weekend

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David April 19, 2011 at 11:51 AM

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

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Heather April 19, 2011 at 11:57 AM

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

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David April 19, 2011 at 11:58 AM

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!

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David April 19, 2011 at 12:01 PM

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

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Chris M. April 19, 2011 at 12:09 PM

Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Thanks.

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Maurilia April 19, 2011 at 12:10 PM

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

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David April 19, 2011 at 12:11 PM

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”

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Pauline Hall April 19, 2011 at 12:32 PM

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

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Susan April 19, 2011 at 1:51 PM

The Pact by Jodi Picoult

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Pat R April 19, 2011 at 1:58 PM

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

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Susan April 19, 2011 at 2:08 PM

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!

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Candice April 19, 2011 at 2:26 PM

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

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Catharine April 19, 2011 at 3:48 PM

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

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lauren April 19, 2011 at 4:13 PM

That book sounds great! My fav is probably Gone With the Wind or The Great Gatsby.
lauren´s last blog post ..Sour Cream Noodle Bake

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lauren April 19, 2011 at 4:14 PM

I like you on FB! 🙂
lauren´s last blog post ..Sour Cream Noodle Bake

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lauren April 19, 2011 at 4:14 PM

I subscribe to you via google reader 🙂
lauren´s last blog post ..Sour Cream Noodle Bake

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Jeanette April 19, 2011 at 6:31 PM

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.
Jeanette´s last blog post ..A Gluten-Dairy-Egg Free Birthday Celebration

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Doris April 20, 2011 at 10:18 AM

I love any book about true crime by Ann Rule.

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Debby G. April 20, 2011 at 3:48 PM

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.

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Angela April 21, 2011 at 8:40 AM

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!)

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Angela April 21, 2011 at 8:41 AM

I like cooking on the side on Facebook!!

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Angela April 21, 2011 at 8:42 AM

I get your emails!

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Angela April 21, 2011 at 8:43 AM

I follow you on Twitter!

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Wendryn April 21, 2011 at 9:57 PM

Already subscribed via RSS – does that count?

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Wendryn April 21, 2011 at 9:59 PM

The Wizard of Earthsea is my favorite novel.

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Wendryn April 21, 2011 at 10:04 PM

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

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Jen O April 22, 2011 at 7:56 AM

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

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Shaina April 22, 2011 at 9:49 AM

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.
Shaina´s last blog post ..Homemade Potato Chips and Avocado Ranch Dip for an Earth Day Virtual Picnic for the Planet

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Maurilia April 22, 2011 at 7:06 PM

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

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Megan'sCookin' April 27, 2011 at 7:00 AM

I love Friendship Bread! I’m to late for the contest but it looks like a fun book!

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