That Camden Summer

Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Welcome to day three of


First I want to welcome the five new followers who have shown up in the last two days. I'm so glad that you've decided to become dear readers on my blog.

I hope everyone had as wonderful of a day today as I did. It was a beautiful day here in Northern Indiana - the weather was perfect, just warm enough to make it feel like summer but not hot enough to make it unpleasant. So I spent the afternoon outside reading my book for the day. Reading outdoors always makes me feel like I'm on vacation - and so does reading a book a day because that was the only time, prior to working on this project, when I ever managed to read a book every day.

Here's my family in the Summer of 1986 on The Log Ride (I can't remember the real name of it because we always just called it The Log Ride) at Cedar Point Amusement Park. We went to Cedar Point every summer during my childhood. My second favorite Cedar Point memory was when we tricked my Grandmother into going on the White Water Rapids ride. She didn't want to go on any rides where she would get wet so we spent about ten minutes convincing her that there would be no water involved. No Grandma, of course you won't get wet on this ride. Those people over there are just taking off their shoes and removing their wallets because someone filled their head with crazy lies about this ride. You're not going to get wet. And ignore that guy over there who is getting on the ride wearing a poncho, he just has a really bad fashion sense. She remained skeptical but still went on the ride, and she got soaked. But, she's a good natured person so she forgave us for it rather quickly.

And my favorite Cedar Point memory involves my Dad and Uncle Andy playing a Toss-the-Quarter game over and over again until they won all three of us the giant stuffed California Raisins that we desperately wanted. It took them an hour to win all three stuffed Raisins, and I remember being so deliriously happy when they won those for us.

And now dear readers I would like to hear more of your summer memories (and thank you to those who have already shared summer memories.)

And now I think I'm actually going to talk about today's book (What? Why that's crazy talk!).

Today's book, "Fiercely independent Roberta Jewett is returning to her hometown of Camden, Maine, with her daughters in tow. Having just endured a scandalous divorce, Roberta only wants to settle down and create a decent life for herself and her children. Romance is the furthest thing from her mind, but when Gabe Farley enter her life Roberta soon learns to trust in love again. The endearing characters and pleasing plot to be found in That Camden Summer make for an excellent romance read."

It's been awhile since I've read a fluffy, trashy romance novel, so I figured it was time. Although I had a hard time finding a romance novel with the word summer in the title, so I had to settle for the kind of pseudo-trashy novel that isn't really that trashy at all, but that nevertheless still follows the typical formula that all romance novels seem to use.

All the typical romance novel elements were there:

  • Two people who can't stand each other when they first meet. - Someone please explain to me why that's romantic. I'm dying to know because I just don't see the appeal of the whole "I hate you until I love you" thing. Is it because people enjoy reading about couples who don't follow the typical dating rule of: I have to be on my best behavior for the first six months so I don't scare the crap out of you with how weird and dorky I am, and then after that I can slowly start to act like me again? Are people dating vicariously through these books and enjoying reading about two people who put all their bad qualities out on the table right from the start? Actually that's not such a bad idea - in fact, I kind of like it - you can just skip right over the beginning six months of acting like a respectable person and go straight to the "Yeah I'm a dork, so what" stage. So according to romance novels displaying your bad qualities right from the start is the first step to lifelong love - so why don't we all just skip over the boring beginning part of relationships and just exchange lists of our bad qualities that go a little something like this, I talk in my sleep, I'm so cheerful in the morning it will make you want to put your fist through a wall, and I regularly make lame Little House and Dallas jokes. Can you live with that? And then we can all just get on with our lives and stop having to act like the normal people that we're not.

  • Too much explanation. The author feels the need to let us know on page six and again on page 26 that one of the characters is a negative person instead of just letting us figure that out on our own during the course of reading the book. I'm not fond of authors that operate from the point of view that their readers are all morons, so that aspect of the book started to grate on my nerves after awhile. But I think I must be one of the few people who shares that opinion because the books that over-explain (is that even a word?) seem to be wildly popular. So maybe the public enjoys that. In that case, let me give it a try: Dear readers, I like to ramble, and I don't know how to use commas correctly. - Don't you all feel better now that I just pointed out the obvious to you?

  • A predictable happy ending. - I do see the appeal of reading a book every now and then that has a totally predictable ending. Sometimes it provides a nice break from reading books that have so many twists and turns that I end up feeling like I have literary whiplash. But I can usually only read one book like this per month before my gag reflex starts to kick in and I end up thinking Am I ever going to develop standards?

Considering the kind of book that this was, I think it was good. It wasn't great, but it wasn't awful, and I didn't end up hating every single character by the end the way I do with most romance novels, so I consider that a point in the author's favor.

And now it's recipe time. I make today's recipe with honey because I can't eat refined sugar. But in my pre-food restriction days I made this with sugar, and I've found that's it's really good either way.

Strawberry Ice

1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries, thawed if frozen

1/3 cup honey or 2/3 cup sugar

1 cup warm water

1 tbsp lemon juice

In a 2-cup measure stir the honey/sugar into warm water till dissolved. In a blender container or food processor combine strawberries, honey/sugar mixture and lemon juice. Cover and blend or process till mixture is nearly smooth. Pour into a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Cover and freeze for 4 to 5 hours or until almost firm.

Transfer the frozen mixture to a chilled large mixer bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes or until fluffy. Return fruit mixture to loaf pan. Cover and freeze for 6 hours or until firm.

Let the strawberry ice stand about 20 minutes at room temperature before serving.

Variation: This can be made with any kind of fruit. I have tried it with cherries, pineapple, blueberries. The strawberry and cherry flavors were my favorites.