Book Report: Orange is the New Black (Or, Pornstache and Pumpkin Bread)

Our computer crashed last week, and for a few days it felt similar to the few minutes after you finish the last of the candy corn. You would give anything to have just one more candy corn. But then after five or ten minutes or so, you brush your teeth and get on with your life. That’s how it felt without the computer! No Hulu? Oh. Em. Gee. Facebook updates only intermittently on my phone (I don’t have room for the app on there, so it’s slowish and partial only to George Takei)? Sure, my Twitter use was unaffected, but I only know a few real people on Twitter, and the rest are news-based, celebrities or magazines I just want to keep up with.

So, I read more. It was a natural transition and something I’d been wanting to do more of anyway. Don’t get me wrong– I read a lot as it was! I simply wanted to not feel tethered to a machine, and wanted to feel more often that swirly sense of relaxation and anticipation that only books can bring. However, as I ran out of things to read on my Kindle, I realized I couldn’t check more out from the library because I needed my computer! That was annoying. I wonder if on the newer Kindles, I can check out directly from my tablet? At the moment, I have to go to my library’s website and check out from my computer. It’s not something I saw as a problem before, but now my eyes have been opened…

I finished Orange is the New Black, finally! Like everybody else, I devoured the TV show as soon as it hit Netflix. While I loved the show, I wasn’t too eager to go out and buy the book– but I was curious to see how it compared to the show. The English major in me can’t stop contrasting and comparing! However, I don’t tend to like non-fiction. I like to research, though, so untangle that one. Maybe it makes me feel like I’m writing a thesis paper? Who knows. At any rate, after waiting weeks for the library to send me Orange is the New Black, once it finally hit my Kindle I let it languish for a bit.

The thing that tipped me over the fence was this: How awesome is Pornstache’s character? I mean, right? He’s the character you love to hate. Well, I love to hate him, and I’m not the only one. I was watching this interview and Pablo Schreiber (the guy who plays Pornstache) mentioned that of course he’d read the book, and he went on to praise it– and well, he was just too cute to not read the book after that. I’m not made of stone.


It turned out to be a really easy read, and I ate it up just like I ate up the show. I even found Piper the writer to be more likable than Piper the character– but I suppose they have to write Piper that way on the show, to make her more Nancy-like. Part of the wonderfulness that was Weeds was that Nancy often had good intentions (notice the caveat there) but she had the tendency to make really bad decisions. Or to be single-mindedly selfish. It was all about Nancy, and that’s what made the show push along. I can see the writing on the wall with OITNB enough to see that Piper is the New Nancy, and thank God, because I miss Weeds! There are already too many Virgin/Whore tropes on TV, and we didn’t need another one.

Kerman gets a little preachy towards the end of the book– but why not? After getting emotionally involved, which you can’t avoid, that’s the perfect time to hit us with more stats and I did appreciate the How to Help Your Local Prison appendix at the end of the book. It’s not really called that, of course, but my eBook is back at its eLibrary, on its eShelf, and I can’t remember what that section was called. Maybe I should send some of my unwanted books to Chowchilla? They certainly read a lot in that book (and on the show).

So, if you have a few extra dollars, buy the book– and if you are broke, rent it. It’s worth a read, definitely, whether or not you are into the show. Don’t let your feelings about Laura Prepon’s Scientology leanings sway you in the wrong, I’m-not-gonna-read-this-book direction.

In other news, I made a pumpkin bread that was so good, it disappeared before I had a chance to wash the bowl. Yup. And don’t tell anybody, but I used some of that coconut oil that was hanging around in the pantry. We had so much coconut oil lurking in the house after my husband’s Paleo debacle. I gave one jar away, started using another jar on my face and legs (magic, I tell you, if a little messy), and there was still one jar left, way in the back, behind unused jams and Bahlsen gingerbread Christmas cookies that I’ve probably selfishly hoarded past their eat-by date. We were out of butter, so I used that jar.

The basic recipe is from here, but I changed it, of course. Do any Greeks really follow a recipe to a tee? Because I haven’t met them. Oh, and I accidentally Greekified it with a honey syrup instead of frosting. Because have you met me?

Greek Pumpkin Bread

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp pumpkin spice (or mix together cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom and lemon peel as you like it)

1 1/4 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 1/4 cup pumpkin puree

3/4 cup greek yogurt mixed with water (or runny yogurt, or buttermilk– which is what the original recipe called for and I didn’t have)

Mix all the wet things and spices together very well, then add the dry things. Mix the heck out of it, then scrape it into a buttered or oiled loaf pan, and then bake for one and a quarter hours in a 350 oven. I put tin foil over it so it wouldn’t burn after the first hour, baked it for fifteen more minutes, then took the foil off and baked it for fifteen more minutes– so really 1.5 hours for me. My oven’s a bit tetchy and on the cold side, though, so use your common sense. What is this, a food blog?

Once it cooled, I flipped the bread out onto a dish and had my daughter poke (read: stab) it a bunch of times with a wooden skewer. She was so happy to finally brandish a weapon type thing in the kitchen! And even happier to stab a poor, unsuspecting pumpkin bread a bunch of times. Should I be worried?

While she did that, I warmed about a cup of honey with a shot of Jack Daniels. Once the alcohol cooked off, I spooned the liquid onto the pumpkin bread. Even if it looks a bit swimmy, just keep ladling. Overnight, the bread will soak it all up. When we were done with this part, I asked Iso, “How long do you think we should wait before we cut into it?” It was a rhetorical question, really, because I didn’t expect my eight year old to have an opinion about it, but she said, “Ten seconds. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10. There! Can I have some?” Something gingerbready, soaked in honey? She was all over it.

And now it’s gone.

And since you are still here, have you heard the new Of Montreal? #LOVE




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