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Unearthed Blog Party!

July 14, 2016

Unearthed Blog party

I’m thrilled to be part of Book Club Cookbook‘s Blog Party celebrating Unearthed: How an Abandoned Garden Taught Me to Accept and Love My Parents by Alexandra Risen.

Alexandra Risen’s parents were born in the Ukraine and survived some horrible conditions during World War II.  After the war ended, they moved to Canada and raised a family.  They were cold and distant and Risen’s father rarely spoke to her leaving her emotionally damaged.

She swore she’d never marry and have a family but she eventually did.  She and her husband found a fabulous property in the city and decided to buy it even though the house and its abandoned garden needed an untold amount of work.  Restoring the garden helped Risen heal emotionally and allowed her to forgive her parents.

Told in the present day and through flashbacks, I thought Unearthed was a wonderful story of triumph over psychological pain.  Risen grew up in a dysfunctional family and wasn’t able to let go of the hurt it caused her until she restored her garden.

The garden was a mess when they bought the house – it was so dense and overgrown, Risen wasn’t even sure what it contained.  As they worked their way through it, they found hidden gems and learned to forage items for use.  She shares tips for foraging (and emphasizes doing it safely and responsibly) and recipes throughout the book.  I don’t think I’ll try any of the recipes but I loved their creativity.  Here’s one for Mulberry Granita:

2 cups black mulberries
juice of 1 lemon
4 cups water
1 cup sugar

  • Combine water and sugar in a saucepan over low heat until all the sugar is dissolved. Allow the syrup to cool.
  • Purée mulberries and lemon juice in a blender or fruit processor. You should have approximately 1 1/3 cups of purée.
  • Combine the syrup and the fruit purée. Pour into a deep pan and cover with foil. Place into freezer.
  • After one hour, take a fork and scrape the ice crystals from the sides and bottom of the pan. Fluff and mash them back into the liquid. Repeat 30 minutes later. You can continue to do this at 30-minute intervals, until you have dry separated ice crystals that are approximately the same size, or you can let it sit overnight.
  • Before serving, let granita defrost for 5 minutes. Scrape off ice crystals using a fork and serve immediately in a tall glass.

I think this would be a great book for book clubs to read – there’s a lot to discuss and you might even want to try preparing one of the recipes together.  If you love memoirs, gardening, and/or unique recipes you’ll want to check out Unearthed!

Review copy provided by Book Club Cookbook.   I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

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20 Comments leave one →
  1. July 14, 2016 6:23 am

    This sounds like a great story, and I love the combination of gardening info with recipes.

  2. July 14, 2016 8:08 am

    This sounds like a unique memoir… the combination of gardening and recipes is very appealing.

  3. July 14, 2016 8:29 am

    Gardening is good therapy. Sounds like an interesting memoir.

  4. July 14, 2016 9:43 am

    This really does sound like a good book club read.

  5. bookingmama permalink
    July 14, 2016 9:43 am

    Yum — reminds me a little bit of those frozen ices that we had on the High Line.

  6. July 14, 2016 10:22 am

    What a wonderful way to deal with emotional pain! Thanks for sharing….and I might have to give this one a look.

  7. July 14, 2016 10:38 am

    Working in a garden combines physical duties with the time to daydream and reflect, so yes, I like the idea of this book and it sounds like an interesting one to me!

  8. Patty permalink
    July 14, 2016 10:58 am

    Love the granita recipe!

  9. July 14, 2016 11:13 am

    Sounds like a good book! I like mulberries- I forage them every summer right as school gets out, there’s lots of trees in our neighborhood overhanging public walks. Except I missed them last year and this… they’re only ripe for two weeks and the birds get most of them.

  10. July 14, 2016 7:16 pm

    I like the sound of this book as well! 🙂

  11. July 15, 2016 11:51 pm

    It does look like a good book club pick! I’m not sure if I’ve ever tasted a mulberry.

  12. July 16, 2016 7:47 am

    Some of it sounds so sad I don’t know if I could read that now. But it does sound like a good story. A garden where you can heal is a good theme.

  13. July 16, 2016 9:29 am

    There sure are a lot of damaging families out there. I guess a memoir of a happy family would be humdrum.

    Don’t mulberries have great big seeds that would make the granita stick in your teeth? Maybe there’s a seedless type?

    best… mae at

  14. July 16, 2016 9:51 am

    This does sound like a wonderful book club book, I can’t believe I haven’t heard of it until now.

  15. July 16, 2016 12:46 pm

    This sounds lovely and more than a bit heartbreaking. I love these kinds of memoirs though and it definitely sounds like a good book club pick. That mulberry granita sounds delicious!

  16. July 16, 2016 1:14 pm

    Mulberries don’t have big seeds, they’re rather like blackberries. I never get enough from my trees and am planning a new gardening technique on them. The book sounds really interesting.

  17. July 16, 2016 2:12 pm

    I don’t remember ever seeing or trying mulberries.

  18. July 16, 2016 6:40 pm

    How I wish I knew how to garden! Have a great week. Cheers from Carole’s Chatter

  19. Beth F permalink
    July 18, 2016 6:50 am

    We have a mulberry tree so this is a great recipe for me. I love the sound of this book, gardening, cooking, things to think about. Sorry I was so late getting here this week — we were off camping and had almost no internet connection.

  20. July 19, 2016 2:41 pm

    Sounds like a good one for me and Anna

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