Sunday, August 29, 2010

Visit to Aaron's Books & Susan Gregg Gilmore

On Wednesday afternoon, I had the honor of attending a fabulous event at Aaron's Books in Lititz, PA. It was a "high tea" with all the "fixins" in honor of author Susan Gregg Gilmore! As most of you already know, Aaron's is my all-time favorite bookstore and Susan is one of my favorite author friends so I just had to be there -- even if it meant not being able to get Booking Daughter off of the bus after her first day of middle school. (She totally understood because she loves books too!)

Susan Gregg Gilmore first came to Aaron's last summer when she was promoting her debut novel LOOKING FOR SALVATION AT THE DAIRY QUEEN (my review.) I immediately fell in love with her infectious charm -- she's absolutely adorable and so sweet. This year, she returned to talk about her latest novel THE IMPROPER LIFE OF BEZELLIA GROVE. I was fortunate enough to get my hands on an ARC of this book and I have to tell you that I thought it was fabulous! You can read my review here.

Susan began by telling us a little bit about herself and the background of BEZELLIA. She then read some excerpts from the novel and opened up the floor for questions. I could have listened to Susan for hours -- she's so funny and genuine! And I absolutely love how passionate she is about her novels and her characters.

Of course, it was a tea party so we also had lots of wonderful food! Sam made so many beautiful things including deviled eggs, lots of different finger sandwiches, and assorted mini muffins. We also had pound cake which, if you've read the novel, you already know is a major comfort food in Bezellia's life. I knew Susan had made tons of pound cakes in preparation for the release of THE IMPROPER LIFE OF BEZELLIA GROVE, so I decided to get her recipe!

Susan Gregg Gilmore's Pound Cake
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, plus more for pan

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

3 cups sugar

5 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

With a mixer, cream butter and shortening together. Add sugar a little at a time. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Stir dry ingredients together in a bowl and add to mixer alternately with milk, starting with flour and ending with the flour. Mix in vanilla. Pour into greased and floured tube pan and bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

I made one pound cake following this recipe exactly and dripped an almond glaze on top. In addition, I made a lemon version of the cake (the one Susan prefers) by adding one tablespoon lemon juice. I also made a lemon glaze for this cake by mixing confectioners sugar with lemon juice. Both cakes were yummy (of course, I had to try both of them), but I think the lemon one was just a tad bit better!

Overall, I just had a wonderful time visiting with Susan and my friends at Aaron's Books. Of course, I brought home a few books too -- not that I needed any more. I think my guilt for not being home got the best of me because Booking Son and Booking Daughter each got a brand new book! How about we just call in a First Day of School Gift?

Isn't this just the best picture? From left to right: Todd Dickinson (co-owner of Aaron's Books), Sam Dickinson (co-owner of Aaron's Books), and Susan Gregg Gilmore. Front: Aaron of Aaron's Books fame!

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.


Sandy Nawrot said...

Shamefully I've never read any of her books but I've got her on a "project" in I need to read everything she has written I think.

holdenj said...

Looks like a great time! The poundcake sounds wonderful.

Beth F said...

Awwwww what a great photo. And the event sounds like it was a great hit. I can't tell how much I wish I lived closer to Aaron's. One of these days, one of these days!

The recipes look fabulous and I love lemon, so I'll likely be making that variation.

caite said...

I love lemon pound cake...ones others have made since I have never baked one myself. But this sounds like a great recipe. m

bermudaonion said...

What a fun event! I can't wait for Susan to come to my neck of the woods this fall!!

Jenn's Bookshelves said...

I'm beyond jealous! I've had a few opportunities to meat Susan in the past two weeks but due to my traveling we haven't had a chance to meet yet.

I can't wait to try out the recipe. My husband is quite a fan of pound cake, so I have a feeling I'll be trying it out sooner than later!