REAL DEAL ‘MENTER CHEESE
It’s a dip, it’s a sandwich spread, it’s great in a grilled cheese, or dolloped on top of a hamburger, and it’s the social glue that binds us down here in the South. Now don’t be afraid to take this to your next book club meeting—the real stuff is nothin’ like that neon orange junk you buy in a tub at WallyWorld. And don’t use the pre-shredded cheese for this recipe, cuz it just ain’t the same as when you shred it yourself. This makes a big crock of stuff, and sealed tightly in a container in the fridge, it’ll last a week or more.
- 1- 8-oz. pkg. extra sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
- 1- 8-oz. pkg. Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
- 2-4 oz. jars sliced pimentos, undrained
- ½ or more cup mayonnaise—Duke’s preferably
- 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. (or more) hot sauce
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
Let the cheese come to room temp before grating if possible. Combine grated cheese in large bowl, add pimentos with juice, and mix thoroughly with a fork. Add mayonnaise and seasonings and mix again. You can add more mayo if your mix doesn’t seem smooth enough. Make into sandwiches or use as a dip with raw carrots and celery sticks, or spread on buttery Club crackers.
RENT THE BREEZE INN!
Did you know that MKA’s very own fixer upper—The Breeze Inn on Tybee Islandmdash;is available for rent?! You and yours can chillax in beautiful beach cottage comfort in the very spot where MKA’s most recent bestsellers have been penned, surrounded by junking treasures uncovered by the author herself. Call Diane at Mermaid Cottages and book yourself in for the full MKA experience! If your crew won’t all fit at the Breeze, Diane has 30+ one-of-a-kind cottages sprinkled around the island, all just a short ride on a beach cruiser away from each other. Get yourself on “Tybee time” and discover the magic of slowing down.
If you’re reading this, the chances are very good you’re a member of a book club. I’ve been meeting with book clubs all over the map recently—including the famous Pulpwood Queens Book Club weekend in Jefferson, Texas in February, where I was one of a dozen authors sharing in the hijinks of a weekend-long party celebrating girlfriends and reading. At the Pulpwood Queens shindig, the authors acted as waiters and cooks serving dinner one night, and at two subsequent nights of parties, we dressed up as our favorite Barbie and characters from the Wizard of Oz.
Not every book club function I attend is that elaborate—or that far-flung. In February, I met with the Outlaw book club in Decatur, only a few miles from my home, where the members played a cutthroat dice game to determine the winners of the door prize autographed books I’d provided. That same month I spoke to a slightly more sedate book club luncheon in Dataw Island, S.C. Just this week I met with two clubs here in Georgia, on Wednesday with a book club in LaGrange, and on Thursday, I met with women from The Ridgerunner book clubs in the Big Canoe community north of Atlanta.
Of course, with a June deadline looming for my next book, I’m not always able to travel to meet with clubs in person, but when that happens, I usually try to arrange a phone chat. The way this works is that the book club hostess calls me up on the night of the pre-arranged club meeting, hooks me up to a speaker-phone, and we proceed as usual—except I don’t get to sample their wine or appetizers!
I’d love to do more book club appearances, so if you’d like me to join your club—either in person or on a phone chat, send a request to the book club sign-up form on my website and we’ll see if we can get you scheduled.
I happen to be a member of not one, but two book clubs, one here in Atlanta, that’s been going strong for 12 years, and another, in Ohio, The Goddesses, that’s been in existence for nine years. Both clubs celebrate the strong bonds of friendship and our shared love of books by arranging outings and field trips. The Goddesses are particularly imaginative with themed outings. When we read SEABISCUIT, for instance, the hostess borrowed a van and ferried everybody to a nearby racetrack—even doling out $2 to each member to place their bets. When a book club selection is made into a movie, our Atlanta club tries to attend as a group, as we did recently for JULIE AND JULIA. But our favorite gatherings have been the getaway weekends to members’ beach homes and mountain cabins.
It’s no coincidence that my next book, tentatively titled SUMMER RENTAL is about three lifelong friends who plan a month-long summer getaway to a beach house on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
When we were undertaking the restoration of my family’s beach house on Tybee Island, Georgia, we made plans for it to also be the perfect spot for a book club getaway, since it is in a rental program with the awesome Mermaid Cottage Vacation Rentals. The Breeze Inn has bookshelves brimming with beach reads, board games and a selection of chick flick DVDs to watch on the big screen TV. The kitchen is outfitted with everything you’d need to whip up breakfast for a bunch, or just appetizers, before heading out to one of Tybee’s great casual restaurants. The screen porch is the perfect place to gather for aprés beach cocktails, and all the beds are made with high thread-count all-cotton linens—and good reading lamps by every bedside. We’ve already hosted a few book club gatherings, and hope many more will be able to experience The Breeze Inn in the months to come. Look for a feature about the Breeze, written by yours truly, with scads of mouth-watering photos in the June issue of BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS, which goes on sale in Mid-May.
This month’s contest is all about you women in book clubs. See the details in the right-hand column, and make sure all your friends enter too.
In the meantime, happy spring and happy reading.
All my best,
Do you have a book club? If your club is reading one of my books, I would love to call in and join your discussion. You never know, I may even be able to drop by in person if it works out right. E-mail us with your request and we’ll see what we can do! Be sure to include a snail mail address and info about the size of your club.
IN STORES NOW!
ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY!
I want to hear all about your book club. Tell me…What is the most fun you’ve had? Did you take a trip together? Have a great dinner party? A fascinating discussion that took you to some unexpected places? Or did one of your gatherings just become “one of those nights” that you’ll never forget for one reason or another? Share your tales with me. As usual I’ll publish some of my favorites on my blog. The winner gets a fab summer-themed basket full of goodies to share with their book club—autographed copies of The Fixer Upper, beach towels, cocktail mixes, and a stack of Fixer Upper cups to mix ’em in. The winner’s next book club gathering could be the most fun yet!
BEFORE & AFTER
The Breeze Inn has come a long way! Check out this video for more about the transformation.