Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Getting Lit in KidLit: ADVIL CALENDAR 2014 - Sydney Taylor Edition with Exciting Guest Laurel Snyder!

It's important to me, as a bloody bloody atheist, to honor holiday claptrap in all its varied flavors and denominations. Claptrap all around! I love claptrap! Livens up the place. If all of us were nonbelievers like me, life would be so dull! We'd have no SantaCon, no fabulous book-themed bat mitvahs. The market for candles would dwindle to those people who want their powder room to smell like cookies. Well. The market for candles would dwindle to those people who put a toilet in a closet and then call it a "powder room."

And my drive home from work would become a whole lot less jaw-dropping. Never change, Parkville.

In the past, Your Neighborhood Librarian has celebrated the Festival of Lights (which started yesterday) with as many Hanukkah-themed schnepsels as I could find. There aren't many.

Laurel Snyder, author of imaginative, heartfelt middle grade novels and more picture books than you were quite aware of, tried to help me with that Hanukkah post but eventually threw up her hands and suggested we just pass around a bottle of Scotch. So this year I asked her an easier question, "Which character of YOURS would you want to drink with?

Laurel Snyder

"Hmmm," said Laurel.

"You'd look divine sitting in a bathtub of bourbon,"
she thought, eyeing Baxter with treyf intent.
"I think I'd want to get wasted with Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher. He's incredibly impressionable, and so could be talked into just about anything. 

Plus, he's newly discovered his love of Manischewits (always concord grape, never blackberry!). I can imagine a crazy bar crawl of shots, and lots of meandering religious conversations. Maybe we'd even stop by the rabbi's office for some talmud talk, and a sip of scotch.

Talk about pickled pig's feet!"

When I suggested that Baxter would be a very popular companion on a crawl through - for example - the French Quarter in New Orleans, Laurel replied, "Yes, well, I think he'd be a popular fellow. I don't partake. But lots of people like their drinks bacon infused these days. BODY SHOTS!"


Oops. Nope. Not going to go there. The Internet is a dangerous place (don't forget Rule 34) and 30 seconds of browsing just nearly brought my (kosher, vegetarian) lunch back up.

Instant party - just add Sammy
Instead, let's check in with one of my favorite brand websites. The recipes on the Manischewitz website include delicacies like Balsamic Mushroom Matzo Panini with Mango Jam and Faux Pho, made with egg noodles.

We highlighted the Manischewitz Jello Shot two years ago in our Eight Days of Drinking Hanukkah post, and it has since been taken down from the Manischewitz site! Denied! So glad I copied it before it was snuffed out like a Hanukkah candle half an hour after sunset. There's still a recipe for "Over 21" Potato Pancakes, in case you wanted to booze up your breakfast. (No bacon!)

Among Laurel's characters, I know I'd like to drink with Annie and Molly from Seven Stories Up. Time travel brings them together, and a shared sense of adventure makes them friends.

PLUS they get to sneak around a fancy hotel, through hidden rooms and dumbwaiters, and OH that was my favorite kind of adventure when I was a kid. If Laurel and I had known each other back then, I am pretty sure she'd have been with me when I crawled through the suspended ceiling of a university gym to get to the swimming pool like Bender in The Breakfast Club. In case you've ever wondered, yes that works.

It would take a physics miracle to get Molly and Annie back together once they're legal, but hey, I know physicists. I could make that happen. We would hang out on the 13th floor of the Belvedere Hotel in Baltimore (the grand old pile that served as the model for the hotel in the book) and drink simple, tart Belvedere cocktails:

Belvedere Cocktail
2 oz vodka
3-4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
3-4 oz Simple Syrup (if I were making this at home I'd use Ginger Simple Syrup)
Shake and strain over cubed ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with a wedge of lemon and a sprig of mint or rosemary.

Doesn't that look nice? That's nice. I mean, let's face it, cookie-tinis and JELL-O shots are for crazy people.

Oh but now you want to know what we're drinking tomorrow, don't you? Let's just say it's not so much what but where - we're buckling on the swash and taking to the high seas!