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!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bill Varney’s imaginative pairings provide a taste adventure . . .

Strolling down Main Street in Fredericksburg, TX, you might stop in at FROMAGE DU MONDE, known for its fine cheese and gourmet market—and the creative cookery of general manager BILL VARNEY! Varney doesn’t just walk into a room, he fairly bounces—he exudes enthusiasm and good will and meeting him just brightens any day. He is enormously knowledgeable about herbs and is the former owner of Fredericksburg Herb Farm where he honed his skills in raising herbs and learning how to use their delightful array of flavors in surprising ways to enhance any meal.

The day I lunched at Fromage du Monde, we topped off a meal of quiche and fruit with an unusual but delicious summer dessert. If you’d like to serve something different that your guests will love and ask you to repeat again and again, try this:

Lemon Verbena Peach Cobbler with Habanero Cheddar*

4 to 6 cups sliced peaches
1 cup sugar
½ cup butter
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon verbena leaves
Zest of 1 lemon
A cup flour
¾ cup sugar
1 cup milk
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
Cinnamon to taste
1 cup grated habañero cheddar cheese

Mix peaches with 1 cup sugar in bowl and set aside. Melt butter in 9x13 inch glass baking dish. Mince ¼ cup sugar, lemon verbena leaves, and lemon zest in food processor. Combine flour, remaining ¾ cup of sugar, milk, salt and baking powder in a large bowl and mix well. Stir in the lemon verbena mixture. Pour over the melted butter in the prepared baking dish. Spoon the peaches over the batter. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Then sprinkle with the grated habañero cheddar cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until bubbly and lightly browned.

Yields 10-12 servings
*© 2010 by William Varney

Fromage du Monde is located at 226 W. Main Street, Fredericksburg, TX – (830) 992-3134

Bill Varney’s latest venture is UrbanHerbal, an online source for information about herb gardening and their use in food, home, health, and beauty: http://www.urbanherbal.com

--Rosemary Carstens

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

BLISS: Breathtaking Landscapes and Cultural Conflict

BLISS (Turkish w/English subtitles, 105 minutes, released by First Run Features Feb. 2010). Based on the acclaimed novel by Zülfü Livaneli and filmed in some of Turkey’s most awe-inspiring natural settings, Bliss is a riveting tale about love, honor, freedom, and redemption. When 17-year-old Meryem’s virtue is called into question after she is found unconscious and disheveled by the side of a lake, the village’s elders gather and demand that the family uphold an ancient moral imperative to kill her. A distant cousin is ordered to carry out the sentence, but, instead, Meryem and Cemal embark on a surprising journey.

Cemal is a deeply troubled young man, just returned from war and experiencing flashbacks of the violence he encountered. Meryem, too, is experiencing flashbacks to the violence she endured. Both are stoic in their attempts to deal with their emotional trauma and to meet their cultural obligations. When they encounter a professor who is also seeking peace and clarity in his life, Cemal and Meryem begin to see each other and their traditional lives in ways that provoke deep inner conflict and force them to reexamine their futures.

The landscapes chosen to serve as backdrop for Bliss are incredibly beautiful and provide glimpses of Turkey I’d not seen before. The stark contrast between nature’s grandeur and the vast dichotomy between traditional and modern Turkey heighten the emotional impact of this poignant, deeply affecting film.

See a trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnEMhcaLTuM

-- Rosemary Carstens