For FALL 2010's delicious offerings of books, art, food, film, and unique travel--check out the NEW ISSUE of our online magazine FEAST--you will not go away hungry-- http://www.feastofbooks.com/

Between issues, read our blog posts as we and our special guests share thoughts, ideas, and recommendations about books, art, food, film, and travel. We love to hear from our readers, so please post a comment! Thanks-- Rosemary Carstens, editor

SNAX ONLINE is moving during the first quarter of 2011 -- stay tuned!

Snax Online is undergoing a redesign and will be moving to a new location. Check back from time to time for a link. In its new format, this blog will cover a wider range of topics but also its usual five. In the meantime, keep up with what's happening in the world of books, art, food, film, and travel at http://www.FEASTofBooks.com --

See you in 2011!!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Divakaruni brings us One Amazing Thing . . .

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni knows how to weave a story out of disparate threads, bringing them together in an intelligent and compassionate human tapestry. In her latest book, ONE AMAZING THING (Hyperion 2009), the well-regarded author of Sister of my Heart, The Palace of Illusions, and The Mistress of Spices, brings together a cast of nine characters spending a long, tiring afternoon in a passport and visa office. Each has their reason for going to India, and each holds him or herself privately away from the others, focusing inward as they wait. When a violent earthquake rips through their building and traps them, the nine must struggle together for survival. As hopes for rescue seem to dim, each shares the story of a most compelling moment, a turning point, in their lives—something that shaped and molded them into who they are today.

The literary device of stranding a group of very different and unassociated people together in a situation like this, forcing an intimacy that would never happen under ordinary circumstances, has often been employed by writers to create a stage upon which human frailties can be revealed. Divakaruni has taken this device and made it her own—primarily with her ability to portray characters with such clarity that readers can identify compassionately and quickly care about the outcome of their imagined lives. As in our own lives, each has their secret grief and loss, joys and pleasures; each has experienced the indifferent cruelty unintentionally visited upon those around us; and each, when life is squeezed down to survival mode, often realizes what they value most.

Author’s website: http://www.chitradivakaruni.com/
Her blog: http://www.chitradivakaruni.com/blog/

See a video interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wi_-ZYmt28U

-- Rosemary Carstens

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Stuff You Never Knew About Slow Cooking . . .

I recently sat down to look over a copy of MAKE IT FAST, COOK IT SLOW: The Big Book of Everyday Slow Cooking by Stephanie O’Dea (Hyperion 2009). This is not a book about gourmet cooking with tiny, cleverly arranged dabs of food on a big plate, often sprayed or drizzled with swirls of some sort of exotic liquid for artful effect. This is a great book for us regular cooks who want quality meals with less fuss that can be eaten and enjoyed by all, from kids to the fussiest of palates.

In 2008 Stephanie O’Dea vowed to use her slow cooker every single day for a year, reporting highlights and disasters on her blog at http://crockpot365.blogspot.com. Amidst her spectacular discoveries: crème brûlée! Have you ever imagined you create anything beyond a good stew or roast, or maybe a soup, in a slow cooker? This success led to a guest spot on The Rachael Ray show. Stephanie was inspired to expand her efforts even more imaginatively and, with the input of a growing following and many experiments (both duds and delights), this cookbook was born. Visit her blog for a sneak preview of what’s in store.

I’m amazed at the range of offerings, from beverages, breakfast, baked goods, casseroles, seafood, and meatless mains to snacks and fondue, desserts, and nonfood fun stuff. All recipes are gluten free and have been tested on her own family and friends.

If you constantly wake each morning wondering, “What am I going to fix for dinner,” this cookbook may be the answer. It’s timesaving without resorting to fast food takeout; you just throw a bunch of ingredients in the pot, then walk away to tend to your day’s bigger challenges, sitting down at meal time to something guaranteed to appeal. I can’t wait to try it!

Happy eating and cooking in 2010!

-- Rosemary Carstens