Friday Favorites: Ice Cream, Omelets, and a Gothic Thriller

Calories and carbs be damned! Tuesday was my sixty-third birthday, and for the first time this year, we went to my favorite ice cream stand—Fielder’s Choice, where I got a hot fudge sundae made with their fabulous peanut butter ice cream. So, so good!

On a less caloric but still delicious note, Clif has come up with an omelet that uses four simple ingredients—eggs, water, crumbles, and sriracha sauce.

This morning, Clif made me one for breakfast. How tasty and satisfying it was.

This year, my birthday was a little on the quiet side. Usually the kids come from New York and North Carolina, and we have a jolly celebration as we combine three birthdays—mine and Clif’s, both in September, and Dee’s, which is the end of October.

This year, of course, there was no jolly celebration with the kids. And, yes, I missed it very much. We’ll be having a Zoom party on Sunday, but it’s not the same as having everyone at our cozy home in the woods.

Therefore, on my birthday, I gave myself the gift of time, something I rarely do. The day was fine, and instead of doing household chores in the afternoon, I allowed myself to take time out for reading.

Mike, my son-in-law, had recommended Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and relaxing on the patio, I read several chapters of this book.

What a snappy, excellent novel! As the title suggests, this is a Gothic story story set in Mexico in the 1950s. Noémi, the spunky heroine, must travel to the hinterlands of Mexico, to find out why her cousin Catalina, recently married, has sent Noémi and her father a desperate letter begging for help. Off Noémi goes, somewhat reluctantly, from Mexican City to an old, shabby mansion high in the mountains.

Catalina’s husband, Virgil, and his family are satisfyingly creepy, and it isn’t long before Noémi is determined to rescue her cousin. From what, I will not say. I don’t want to spoil the story. I will, however, add that Moreno-Garcia manages to weave in class and race in a satisfying way while never detracting from the vividness of the various characters, especially Noémi, the determined star of the novel. I always admire a heroine who can run in high heels, something I could never do.

While this is a horror novel that builds to an exciting conclusion, Moreno-Garcia allows her characters space to breathe, something I think is essential for any novel, regardless of genre. For me, a story with relentless action is tedious, and the characters are usually flat.

Moreno-Garcia is a young writer with a good writing style and a keen sense of who her characters are. I definitely will be keeping an eye out for her next book.


And click here to read about Thistles and Kiwis small pleasures.

75 thoughts on “Friday Favorites: Ice Cream, Omelets, and a Gothic Thriller”

  1. Happy Birthday to you, dear Laurie!🥂🎉 Birthday calls for ice cream, I’m glad you didn’t count the calories. The omelette looks yummy and I’ll take a closer look at the book in a minute. I’m currently reading Goethe’s “Faust” in German, wondering how anyone can possibly translate this wonderful poetic language and rhythm 🤔

  2. So glad you had a good birthday despite missing your family. I agree about characters needing breathing room in scary books. When my granddaughter was younger we read together “Gregor the Overlander,” which was wonderful, with enough pleasant breaks to relieve tensions of the very exciting stories. Then we started the Levan Thumps series; ugh!! It was one terrifying crisis on top of another, and we bailed at about volume 2.

  3. Happy birthday Laurie …September must be a good month for birthdays as my daughter is due to have her second baby any time in the next few days. Loved the ice cream and I think giving yourself the gift of time to read is perfect.

  4. Happy birthday, Laurie! That sounds like an excellent way to celebrate during these times. The sundae looks wonderful. So does the omelet. And your description of the book has reminded me that I’ve been reading too much non-fiction of the serious variety lately. It’s been a while since I got lost in a good story.

  5. Happy, happy birthday! A woman does have to celebrate her birthday with ice cream, and you definitely did that. Applause to Clif because that omelet looks delicious, and reading a good book is always a good thing. Hope you have a good Zoom meeting, but, no, it is definitely not the same as a family visit that includes hugs. 🙂

  6. Happy Belated Birthday, Laurie! I’m glad you treated yourself – so important 🙂 and that sundae sure looked good! Isn’t it funny that to us we find a stolen hour with a book to be what we want more than anything?

  7. I’ve always believed that if we can have a Christmas season and an Easter season, we can have Birthday seasons, too. I’d say you got a fine start on yours, and I hope the rest of it’s just as enjoyable. How long a birthday season should last is a little variable, but I’d say a week is minimum! You surely could tuck a bit more reading and another omelet into it!

  8. Happy Birthday Laurie! and to Clif as well!
    September sure is a big birthday month – I just spent the last couple of weeks rustling up birthday bakes to gift since we are not really getting together to do any face-to-face celebrations.

    That omelette sure looks good (even though I just finished me a huge plate of scrambled eggs with mushroom) – does Clif mix the Sriracha sauce into the egg?

    The book sounds so compelling – but I cannot read horror/thrillers as my overactive imagination goes into overdrive and I am unable to sleep after.

    Have a safe and restful weekend!

    1. Thanks so much! Yes, Clif mixes the sriracha sauce into the eggs. I tend to be a wimp when it comes to horror, too, but this book is creepy rather than scary. I was able to read it without any problems.

  9. Yes, a birthday season sounds good! Happy birthday, Laurie. We were born in the same year–I beat you into the world by coming in June. And good for you for treating yourself. If we don’t do that, what are holidays and celebrations, anyway? I was tempted by ice cream today in the grocery store, but with no celebration in sight for a while, I was able to resist. And yes, reading is a luxury and a treat–and on your patio, it would be perfection.

  10. Oh you did have a happy birthday – despite restrictions!
    The book sounds interesting – I have sent this link to a friend who does not read blogs but devours books and is a member of a very sedate Book Club who are always trying to stretch their genres (!)

  11. Happy Birthday! A treat to celebrate a special occasion is very different from indulging regularly so enjoy without guilt. Well done for spending an afternoon reading – it is so easy to keep ploughing on with chores and forget to rest.

  12. If there is ever a time to be kind to yourself, it’s on your birthday. And here’s a present from me: I’m giving a nice donation to Sara Gideon to send your current US senator a message that she is being watched. Because a very sad thing happened on your birthday.

  13. I’ve caught up with your posts now Laurie, and wishing you a Happy Birthday!

    The Evacuation Level 1 was lifted from our area a few days ago, and now we have good rain as of yesterday.

      1. We had relatively clean air for the first time in over a week yesterday. Unfortunately, another plume of smoke has rolled in within the last 2 hrs, and the windows are closed again and the soffit fan is off.

      2. A west wind cam through and blew the smoke out again. So much depends on weather patterns. We had a normal looking sky and clouds at sundown yesterday, I saw stars last night, and we have a beautiful, normal sunrise today. 🙂

  14. Happy happy birthday dear Laurie and to Clif too! Here’s wishing you both many more happy years to come! 🤗🎉

  15. Happy Birthday and what a wonderful way to celebrate with that fabulous sundae and a great book!🙂 I know it’s definitely not the same as having your family home, but I hope you guys had a wonderful time today.🙂

  16. Happy, Happy Birthday, Laurie! So sorry I am not more timely with this. When I get busy, all of my fun things get pushed down the road.

    That ice cream looks amazing, and that omelet (had to check the spelling on that!) looks almost as good.

    Celebrations these days are hard, when you think of what they used to be. My mom is coming up on her 80th birthday and it’s not going to be what I had hoped.

    Good for you for taking a bit of reading time – it’s my favorite sport! And thanks for the recommendation – always looking for a good read. Looking forward to your next one!

    Be well, and may this year be better than the last. ❤

  17. That sounds like an exciting read. I very much enjoyed Joan Aiken’s gothic thrillers some years ago. (She also wrote The Wolves of Willoughby Cjase series.) I am putting this one on my list. Happy very belated birthday, reading late, as usual, several posts to read in a satisfying sequence.

      1. Her adult gothic novels were most enjoyable and she wrote one of my favourite novels of my early thirties, Foul Matter. It’s a sequel to another novel….quite different. I need to read it for a third time and see if I find it as meaningful thirty years on.

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