Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Light the Menorah with Meredith Schorr-ah...plus an e-book giveaway

It's time to revive Adam Sandler's Hanukkah song, but maybe he could list some famous Jewish authors. Meredith Schorr would be up there along with Jennifer Weiner, Stacey Ballis, and Dana Bate. And she definitely deserves to be, as her novels are fun, entertaining, humorous, sexy, and romantic. The perfect beach read...or something to curl up with in front of a fireplace (or a menorah) on a cold day.

Today, Meredith is here to celebrate the recent release of her fourth novel, How Do You Know? which is first in a new series she is starting up. She's also helping us bring in Hanukkah at CLC, by sharing some special memories. Finally, she has something else to celebrate along with Hanukkah...her upcoming birthday next week! And for a gift, she has one e-book of How Do You Know? for a lucky reader anywhere in the world! I just finished reading it the other night and gave it FIVE stars on Goodreads.

A born and bred New Yorker, Meredith Schorr discovered her passion for writing when she began to enjoy drafting work-related emails way more than she was probably supposed to. After trying her hand penning children’s stories and blogging her personal experiences, Meredith found her calling writing chick lit and contemporary women’s fiction. She secures much inspiration from her day job as a hard-working trademark paralegal and her still single (but looking) status. Meredith is also the co-founder of BookBuzz, a live author/reader event held annually. She is a loyal New York Yankees fan and an avid runner. To learn more fun facts about Meredith, visit her at Whitney Dineen's blog, where she's talking about the things she can't live without.

Visit Meredith at her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Nosh on this!

My family is not religious, but being Jewish is a big part of what keeps us close. The holidays are when we come together for family dinners. Although members of the family have come and gone for various reasons (divorce, death, etc.), the holiday menus have not changed all that much throughout the years. We have matzo brie during Passover; brisket and matzo ball soup on Rosh Hashanah; bagels and cream cheese to break the Yom Kippur fast; and latkes—fried potato pancakes—for Hanukkah. Latkes are neither low calorie nor healthy, but they sure are yummy!

When my maternal grandmother (“Nanny Tessie”) was alive, she was the master of the latkes. I remember the smell of the pancakes fresh from the frying pan—piping hot and the perfect combination of soft on the inside and crispy on the outside—wafting into the kitchen, and running circles around Nanny Tessie waiting for samples. Even into her eighties, Nanny Tessie refused to use a food processor to grate the potatoes because she said they didn’t taste as good. Instead, she worked tirelessly all afternoon, grating each potato by hand. As she got older and her arthritis intensified, she called upon her granddaughters—Melissa, Marjorie, and Meredith (me) to help. Even though it was hard work, I loved taking even a small amount of credit for the resulting deliciousness. (And assisting Nanny Tessie meant more samples for me…)

I’m not a good cook. At all. Though I’m a foodie and have a strong palette, I am much better at eating food (and getting it all over my clothes) than preparing it. Each member of my family is expected to supply something edible to our holiday gatherings. Through the years, my contribution has tended to be something store-bought, like a bottle of wine or dessert from a bakery. My family has always accepted this. They never questioned it or expressed dissatisfaction with this arrangement and it never bothered me either—that is until I turned forty.

When I reached the big 40, I decided it was time to do some heavy lifting. I wanted to prove to my family and to myself that I could do anything I set my mind to—even cook. I put very little pressure on myself, choosing a single side dish and usually one with a very simple five ingredients or less recipe.

Most recently, I made the stuffing for Thanksgiving—a side dish that my family all but gave up on after Nanny Tessie, the queen of stuffing, passed away. Mine wasn’t nearly as good as Nanny Tessie’s, but it was passable. I’m also the go-to person for charoset on Passover. With Hanukkah approaching, I might tackle latkes. And just like Nanny Tessie, I will grate the potatoes by hand. But not because it will taste better—because I can’t figure out how to use my food processor…

I’m not a good cook and I’m also not good with electronic appliances. :)

Happy Hanukkah!

Did this leave you craving latkes? If so, visit our holiday post from a few years ago, where Melissa A shares a recipe.

Synopsis of How Do You Know?:

What if you were approaching the end of your thirties and all of the life milestones you took for granted in your youth suddenly seemed out of reach?

On the eve of her thirty-ninth birthday, Maggie Piper doesn't look, act, or feel much different than she did at twenty-nine, but with her fortieth birthday speeding toward her like a freight train, she wonders if she should. The fear of a slowing metabolism, wrinkling of her skin, and the ticking of her biological clock leaves Maggie torn between a desire to settle down like most of her similarly aged peers and concern that all is not perfect in her existing relationship. When a spontaneous request for a temporary "break" from her live-in boyfriend results in a "break-up," Maggie finds herself single once again and only twelve months from the big 4.0. In the profound yet bumpy year that follows, Maggie will learn, sometimes painfully, that life doesn't always happen on a schedule, there are no deadlines in love, and age really is just a number.

Read an excerpt over at Book Mama Blog.

Thanks to Meredith for sharing her memories, as well as her latest book!

~Introduction by Melissa Amster

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Worldwide. Giveaway ends December 21st at midnight EST.


Janine said...

I always found the lighting of the menorah a great tradition

Unknown said...

I have never observed a traditional Jewish holiday being celebrated. I find, from reading about it, that it is centered on family, much as all holiday celebrations are.

Meredith said...

Thanks so much for hosting me on Chick Lit Central. So happy to be here!

Jessica said...

I don't celebrate Hanukkah and I don't really know much about it. I like the lighting of the menorah.

Nova said...

I do not celebrate Hanukkah. I think the tradition of one gift for each of the eight nights of the holiday is interesting.

Nova said...

I do not celebrate Hanukkah. I think the tradition of one gift for each of the eight nights of the holiday interesting.

rhonda said...

I love the ceremony of candle lighting latka eating opening presents.

Connie said...

Although I am not Jewish, I am very happy to see how reverent the lighting of the menorah is. We all need to slow down and learn to give thanks for all that we have.

Dolly said...

I'm interested in learning about many different traditions of various religions and cultures. I enjoy the history behind Hanukkah, the re-dedication of the Temple.

Radwoman said...

Happy Hanukkah! !

Arielle Joy said...

Growing up in a Jewish home, I love that Hanukkah is having a little focus right now, just in time for the holiday! When I was young, I think my favorite part was a combination of the presents and the general happy mood that everyone was in. There was presents, decorations and food-lots of food! Nowadays the presents are always welcome, but definitely not the focal point. I'm more excited about the food :)

Mary Preston said...

I know so very little about Hanukkah. Happy to learn more.

bn100 said...

the food's interesting

kevinnelson said...

Meredith Schorr's blog post celebrates Hanukkah and her fourth novel, "How Do You Know?", with witty references to famous Jewish authors. Schorr shares personal reflections on Jewish traditions, her grandmother's cooking skills, and her desire to prove herself in the kitchen. The post resonates with readers and introduces the novel. personal injury lawyer virginia beach