Bring on the Cucubrits
Our Lovely Daughter has a teeny tendency to get obsessed with things. When she was in third grade, for instance, she was obsessed with Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted—it was the only book she read all year and she read it over and over and over. Then the next year, she only read stories about the Titanic (the ocean liner, not the movie of the same name).
One thing about LD—you can’t accuse her of being unable to focus.
As an adult, she’s translated that determination into a remarkable success in her field (she’s in public relations), but the occasional obsession still pops up. For one thing, she’s dead serious about her fitness classes—and she’s extremely competitive too. In fact, I borrowed one of her lines—that unless she could be on the board in her spin class (in other words, unless she logged the most miles), she didn’t want to go—and gave it to Gideon (who’s also very competitive) in Clickbait.
One the obsessions we’ve benefitted from as a family is her vast and enduring love for delicata squash. I had never even heard of the variety until a few years ago when she still lived in Portland and CH and I had gone out for dinner with her. The restaurant—Ned Ludd in Northeast Portland—had a display of squash on the divider next to our table, and one of them was a delicata. She waxed eloquent on the subject—and was quite disappointed that it was only a decoration, not a menu item.
Delicata is seasonal—in Portland, anyway, you can only find it in autumn around Thanksgiving, but not much beyond. It doesn’t keep as well as butternut or acorn squash, the kinds we were used to growing in our garden and that can hang around nonchalantly for months. So when delicata is in season, we make a point of having it. Often.
In Clickbait, Gideon introduces Alex to delicata as a one of the “gourds of many colors and suggestive shapes”—like so:
If you’re lucky enough to be able to find them at your local grocery or farmer’s market, here’s the way CH prepares them—he always makes them at least once whenever LD comes to visit.
Roasted Delicata Squash
2 delicata squash
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
2. Peel off as much or as little of the skin as you wish. (Delicata squash skin is not particularly tough and gives a nice contrast in texture. I tend to peel off the skin from the ridges and leave the skin in the valleys.)
3. Split the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and pith. (You can clean the seeds and bake them just like pumpkin seeds.)
4. Slice the squash into C-shaped crescents about ¾ inch thick and place them in a large bowl.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-4 tablespoons maple syrup
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
5. Drizzle the squash with the olive oil, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
6. Turn the squash out onto a baking sheet and arrange the pieces so that they’re all lying flat. Pour any remaining oil/syrup over them.
7. Bake at 425°F for about 20-30 minutes or until soft.
8. Serve with the browned bottom sides facing up.
After the disastrous ending of his first serious relationship, Gideon Wallace cultivated a protective—but fabulously shiny—outer shell to shield himself from Heartbreak 2.0. Besides, romance is so not a priority for him right now. All his web design prospects have inexplicably evaporated, and to save his fledgling business, he’s been compelled to take a hands-on hardware project—as in, his hands on screwdrivers, soldering irons, and needle-nosed pliers. God. Failure could actually be an option.
Journeyman electrician Alex Henning is ready to leave Gideon twisting in the wind after their run-ins both on and off the construction site. Except, like a fool, he takes pity on the guy and offers to help. Never mind that between coping with his dad’s dementia and clocking all the overtime he can finagle, he has zero room in his life for more complications.
Apparently, an office build-out can lay the foundation for a new relationship. Who knew? But before Alex can trust Gideon with the truth about his fragile family, he has to believe that Gideon’s capable of caring about more than appearances. And Gideon must learn that when it comes to the heart, it’s content—not presentation—that matters.
Now available from Riptide Publishing. http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/clickbait
About E.J. Russell
E.J. Russell holds a BA and an MFA in theater, so naturally she’s spent the last three decades as a financial manager, database designer, and business-intelligence consultant. After her twin sons left for college and she no longer spent half her waking hours ferrying them to dance class, she returned to her childhood love of writing fiction. Now she wonders why she ever thought an empty nest meant leisure.
E.J. lives in rural Oregon with her curmudgeonly husband, the only man on the planet who cares less about sports than she does. She enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.
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To celebrate the release of Clickbait, one lucky winner will receive $25 in Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 10, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
|What I loved about this book, the interracial coupling, the interracial adopting, and the realness of a family going through the struggle of a loved one diagnosed with dementia.|
I myself have gone through this the last few years up until my grandmother passed away last year, and the struggle is real, for everyone. If this is you, I highly suggest support groups, because it can be so difficult.
What I wasn't too keen on was sooo much back and forth between the two MC's. How Gideon seemed so shallow and had a prissy, specific type. I didn't find him endearing at all, up until he offered Ruth a break. I really didn't like the fact that a bargain had to be made for three date.. I'm sure it was meant to be"fun" but it almost made Alex seem a little bit desperate and it really seemed beneath him. Alex is a stand-up guy, and if Gideon couldn't see that in his own, he wasn't worth it.
It really turned around for me though once G got his head out of his ass and started becoming the friend Alex's sister, Lin, always said he was.
On a side note, I think a story about Gideon and his girls would be fun, kind of like Sex in the City style, when they were younger before jobs and boyfriends.
All in all I give it 3.5*