eats, life

Book Review: “Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel” by Gail Honeymoon

It’s Melissa again. I recently wrapped up “Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel” by Gail Honeymoon. After reviewing “The Alice Network” by Kate Quinn, we chose this as our June book, and we made another great pick! This time, it was my turn to host Book Club, and after reading this quirky story, I was excited to plan a completely Eleanor Oliphant themed evening.

First, let’s start with the review:


4 out 5 stars

“Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel” by Gail Honeymoon is the unique story of Eleanor Oliphant, a young woman who, after experiencing extreme childhood trauma, struggles to move forward in her life. Eleanor lives by a strict routine, from eating the same meals to scheduling out repetitive days of the week. When Eleanor develops a crush on a local singer, her beloved routine falls to the wayside, and she opens herself up to chaos. Along the way, she finds some friends who will help her pick up the pieces as she tries to uncover the truths of her childhood.

The book is brilliantly written and fun to read, which is why I give it 4 out of 5 stars. Gail Honeymoon does an incredible job of making you feel as uncomfortable as Eleanor acts at many moments throughout the book. Honeymoon also leaves you wanting to know more about what happened to Eleanor. Without giving away too much, Honeymoon also incorporates a twist at the end, which I had wondered about from very early on. Once you read, you’ll have to tell me if you had the same thought too! Overall, I highly recommend this book, and you should BUY IT NOW!


Hitting Close To Home

I wanted to include one side note about how this book hit very close to home for me. From very early on, the book talks about Eleanor’s caseworkers coming to visit her. Because of her extreme childhood trauma, Eleanor was placed in the foster care system. I work for Arms Wide Adoption Services, and we are dedicated to finding forever families for children in foster care. While reading, I found myself wondering,

“Had Eleanor been adopted, would this entire story be different?”

This question made for a great Book Club discussion. Although we decided we’re unsure adoption would have changed Eleanor’s life, we did decide people too often assumed Eleanor was fragile. We think if someone pushed her more about her past, she could have faced her demons earlier on. This may have helped her establish a healthier, more normal (but probably still fairly strict) routine.


Now, More On Book Club

I have mentioned Eleanor’s routine a lot so far! When she found something she liked, she stuck with it forever. Throughout the story, Eleanor would eat the same meal or drink the same beverage every day. That’s why I decided to offer an Eleanor Oliphant themed spread for our Book Club.

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From left to right: Cheese scones, ingredients for vodka colas, Magners Irish Cider, and pasta a la pesto. Cheers to Book Club, and cheers to you, Eleanor Oliphant!

If you’re interested in making these delicious gluten free cheese scones, you can find my recipe here. I also show you how to turn it into a delicious B.L.A.T. sandwich!


If you want to keep up with my Book Club, we are currently reading and set to discuss on Wednesday, August 8, 2018:

“The Pisces: A Novel” by Melissa Broder

eats

Cheese Scones (Gluten Free)

Melissa here. I recently hosted Book Club! The main character of the book, “Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel” by Gail Honeymoon, lives life by a strict routine, and often eats and drinks the same things every day. Channeling Eleanor, I decided to create a themed evening. One of Eleanor’s favorite, repeated lunches is a cheese scone from a nearby Mediterranean restaurant. Despite the lack of cheese scone recipes in the American metric system, I converted a couple different UK recipes, and came up with these amazingly dense cheese and herb scones. With one of the Book Club members having to eat gluten free (She has Celiac Disease you guys, don’t judge.), I adjusted the recipe to use gluten free flour and baking powder.

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On left: Cheese scones.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups gluten free flour
  • 2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 4 tablespoons butter, salted, softened, cubed
  • 2 teaspoon of dry herbs
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup milk, divided
  • Variety of additional seasonings to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, and line baking pan with parchment.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, and mustard powder and whisk together in medium bowl.
  3. Add softened and cubed butter to mixture and use hands to combine. Mix until mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
  4. Add dry herbs to mixture (I used oregano and parsley).
  5. Mix in 1 cup of cheese, reserving the rest to top scones with.
  6. Slowly mix in 3/4 cup of milk (1/4 cup at a time) until mixture becomes doughy. Reserve last 1/4 cup for brushing on top.
  7. Once you have a doughy mix, spread out on counter top. Cut into squares or circles OR spread out into a large 1/3 inch thick circle and cut into pizza-like slices (which is what I did).
  8. Lay on lined baking pan, brush with remaining milk, and top with remaining cheese.
  9. For additional flavor sprinkle with onion flakes, garlic powder, cracked pepper, and more dry herbs. (Or a variety of seasonings of your choosing!)
  10. Bake for 18-22 minutes until golden.
  11. Enjoy!

These were a huge hit at Book Club! Fortunately, there were plenty of leftovers, so Joey and I decided to take these Cheese Scones one step further. We made:

Cheese Scone B.L.A.T. Sandwiches

B.L.A.T. = Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado, and Tomato

The picture below speaks for itself, and our tummies were quite happy! Especially since instead of using mayo, we used Thunderbird Whitebird Sauce from Wassi’s Meat Market, which you can and should put on everything. To make these delicious sandwiches, all you have to do is slice the scone in half, fry a little on the cast iron, and top with all the delicious B.L.A.T. ingredients. IT WAS SO GOOD!

img_3463So next time you want to impress your Book Club who has just finished reading “Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel” by Gail Honeymoon or want an excuse to make a delicious Cheese Scone B.L.AT., look no further than right here.