Category Archives: Book Reviews

Potato Peel Pie You Can Actually Serve for Company Dinner or Breakfast!

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society has been so popular that people have been trying to figure out how to make potato peel pies. In reality, of course, they were fit only for the palates of those who were on the edge of starvation, but it did pique my interest. What were they made from, and could I make a version that would actually taste good? I looked online and learned that they were made from potatoes, a bit of beet, and a bit of milk, but the only actual recipe I could find called for frozen, shredded potatoes and no potato peels. That didn’t satisfy. Allrecipes.com sponsors recipes for sweet potato pies, but not potato peel pies. Therefore, I took up the challenge, and as it passed muster for my personal Bake Off judges (my husband and son), I’ll pass it along to you:

Perfectly Delicious Potato Peel Pie
(the way they might have made it if they’d had the ingredients)
(Serves 6)

Ingredients:
3 large potatoes
3 beets: tops chopped and boiled for 2 minutes in lightly salted water
1/2 pound bacon fried with one chopped onion
4 eggs whisked with:
2 teaspoons fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup milk

How to make:
#1.Preheat oven to 350°F.
#2. Peel potatoes and place peelings in an 9″ pie plate. Arrange.
#3. Slice potatoes into thin chunks and boil in salted water for 1/2 hour (until fork-tender).
#4. Boil the beets (washed but unpeeled) in slightly salted water for 45 minutes.
#5. Fry 1/2 pound of bacon with one medium chopped onion. Don’t drain off fat.
#6. Cook chopped beet greens for just 2 minutes in boiling water. #7.  Drain and rinse in a collander to remove juice and stop cooking process.
#8. Whisk together:
4 eggs
2 teaspoons fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
#9. Add cooked greens to egg mixture.
#10. Pour egg mixture and greens into pie pan.
#11. Spoon fried bacon and onions over top, complete with drippings.
#12. Bake uncovered in an oven at 350°F. for 1/2 hour. Remove from oven. If there’s any extra fat or juice, pour it into a small container to save for the beets.
#13. While the pie is baking, and after the potatoes are cooked, mash the potatoes with:
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup milk
Whip in a mixing bowl until really fluffy (can add a little more milk if needed)
#14. After the pie has baked for 1/2 hour, remove and cover with mashed potatoes. Return to oven, kick up the heat to “broil” at 450° and bake until the top starts to brown, around 10-15 minutes, but lower your rack so it’s not the closest to the broiler, to keep it from burning (one slot down works best). Keep an eye on your pie, because it will go from not looking brown at all to being very brown in a matter of a few minutes.
#15. If you don’t like beets, then you’re done with your pie, but you need the greens and stems, so you may as well serve the beets while you’re at it! (Low high, high nutritive value!) To finish off the beets, pour out the hot water and rinse them in cold water for about 3-5 minutes until they’re cool enough to handle. By gently rubbing the skins, they will slide right off.
#15. Cut off the ends or any dark patches, and return them to the pan (to keep warm).
#16. Pour the leftover juice from the pie onto the beets to season them. If there wasn’t any grease bubbling around the edges, then you can also just add butter and salt to taste. (Some people like onion and garlic powder and pepper too.)
#17. Serve it up good and hot for dinner!  It’s almost a dinner in one, because it has your protein, veggies, and starch, but a few sides make it all the better!      Last night I served the pie and beets with a fresh fruit salad and mulled cider. The three of us ate half of it for dinner . . . and the other half this morning for breakfast with hot chocolate, English muffins, and the rest of the fruit salad.  Of course, during World War 2, I don’t suppose people had bacon, and the pie could be made without (or with a cup of cubed chicken, ham, pork sausage, or whatever you have on hand and like), but meat definitely adds to the flavor! If you try it, let me know if you like it, will you?

They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house;
and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures
” (Psalm 36:8).

Visiting The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

If you like class and charm combined with country girl/city girl complexities and romantic confusion—complete with a cloud of mystery and a climate of World War 2 concerns— you’ll probably be captivated by The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  Alan enjoyed the story as a novel when it came out in 2008, but ten years later, it’s become a movie . . . still totally charming, but focused more on the young woman who wrote the book than on the original story itself.  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was a fictitious name for a group of friends  who ended up discussing books during World War 2 as a means of keeping up their spirits. Although the entire story is fictitious, is does give a somewhat lighthearted sense of insight into the courage and daily lives of the people who lived on Guernsey during the Nazis’ occupation in World War 2.Guernsey is a small island in the English Channel off the Normandy Coast, and although it’s technically a part of the Channel Islands rather than the British Isles, the citizens are still very English in their consciousness, considering Queen Elizabeth II their monarch and looking to England for their defense. The story begins in 1946, shortly after the end of World War 2, when a young London writer goes to the island of Guernsey to do research for a writing project. Through fan mail, she discovers that there is a “Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” which meets every Friday night. This piques her interest, and she embarks on an adventure to learn more about the society and the island. As in all the best stories, there are ups and down, twists and turns, and subplots of mystery, romance, and drama. There is a city-slicker fiance to consider . . . but also the alluring charm of simple sincerity. Juliet (the heroine) finds herself falling in love with the irrepressible spirits of people and their island home.But, what would a story be without complications? Aren’t the endings happier when there are problems to be solved, troubles to be overcome, and broken hearts to be mended through forgiveness, love, and understanding? After all, isn’t that what life is all about?If you have a couple of free hours some evening and want a movie to warm the cockles of your heart, try The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.       And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged” (Luke 7:40-43).

 

Rise Up, My Love (307): How to Access the Song of Solomon Study Sequentially

Studying the Song of Solomon has been one of the highlights of my life, but it’s finally come to an end (at least for now). This post will serve as the final “bookend” on my blog, but it will be the first post that comes up for anyone who scrolls down the right-hand side of Summer Setting’s home page and clicks on the “Rise Up, My Love” tab. Therefore, for anyone who would like to read the posts beginning at the beginning rather starting at the end, I wanted to let you know that you can access the entries sequentially on my home page by typing into the window box that has the word “Search” next to it in the upper right-hand area of the page. For example, if you type in: Rise Up, My Love (1) and then hit “Search,” it will bring up the first post, which was written exactly six years years ago, on October 7, 2012. Here’s the link:

https://kathrynwarmstrong.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/rise-up-my-love-meditations-on-the-song-of-solomon-1/

If you have any thoughts or questions to share, I’d love to have you post them in the comment box below. May God bless you in your journey toward finding, knowing, loving, and surrendering to the God of the Universe, who loves you, and me, and all of us, more than we will ever comprehend!

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen” (Jude 24-25).

Have You Considered the Relationship Between Israel, the Church, and the Middle East?

Published just in time to celebrate Israel’s 70th anniversary, Darrel L. Bock and Mitch Glaser have collaborated as editors on a book explaining the current conflict in the Middle East from a biblical viewpoint. Written by theologians on both sides of the Atlantic in meticulously researched articles, the book walks us through the conflict step by step, explaining not only the historical background but the present situation and future prophetic promises concerning the role of Israel in the world: “God always intended to use the Jewish people as his bridge of redemption to a sinful and broken world” (Dr. Darrell Bock, 262).

As an evangelical Christian, I have always believed the Old Testament teaching that God gave the land of Israel to the Jewish people as an eternal inheritance. What I didn’t realize is that I am part of the 82% of white evangelicals who hold this position, but according to a Pew Research Center poll, less than half that many Jewish or Catholic Americans agree (187). I was a little amazed, but then it occurred to me that if you don’t believe the Bible, then of course you wouldn’t have any particular basis for believing the Jewish people have any right to an independent nation of their own. However, as recently as 2017, the FBI reported that Jewish people are subjected to more hate crimes than any other religious group in America, and the statistics aren’t much different in Europe (197). Even for those who don’t believe the Jewish people have a “right” to the land,  doesn’t it seem good that every group of moral, law-abiding people deserves to have a haven of refuge where they can “secure domestic tranquility,” just as we have in America?

I loved this quote from an AIPAC document, pointing out the shared values between America and Israel: “Both nations were founded by refugees seeking political and religious freedom. Both were forced to fight for independence against foreign powers. Both have absorbed waves of immigrants seeking political freedom and economic well-being. And, both have evolved into democracies that respect the rule of law, the will of voters and the rights of minorities.” Perhaps these common values are shared by many nations around the world, but I deeply appreciate being able to live in a land that enjoys democratic rule “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” and I am thankful for other countries that provide similar freedoms. As far as I know, Israel is probably the truest democracy in the Middle East. Would you agree?

Finally, the book is written from the perspective of God’s love for all, and I’d like to end with Mark Bailey’s conclusion: “If one is not careful, one will look through the colored lens of politics and end up despising either the Arabs or the Jews, or both. A proper gaze through a biblical lens will engender a genuine love for Palestinians, Arabs, Israelis, and Jews alike as people created in the image of God, the object of his love, and all viable candidates to receive the love of Christ through our proclamation of the Gospel message” (201).

By the way, if you’ve never read the Bible, and wonder why anybody thinks Israel “deserves” their own state, here are a few passages about God’s giving the land of Canaan (present day Israel) to Abraham (the “Father” of modern Jewish people).

Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:1-3).

And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee” (Genesis 13:14-17).

And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God” (Genesis 17:8).

Of course, Muslims and Jews both descended from Abraham, and this is part of the problem. I’m not sure if the Koran has anything to say about which land belongs to whom, but in the Bible, a distinction is made between Abraham’s two sons, Ishmael (via Hagar, progenitor of the Muslims) and Isaac (via Abraham’s wife, Sarah, progenitor of the Jews):

 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year” (Genesis 17:15-21).

 

 

The Hermeneutics of the Biblical Writers: Learning to Interpret Scripture from the Prophets and Apostles

The title is a mouth full, but the book is well worth chewing. If you ever wonder how to interpret the Bible, this might be a good study for you. Is the Bible to be taken literally? Did Moses really exist as a person? Is the Bible just a set of untrue stories written to teach moral principles, or did all these things really happen?

Hermeneutics is the study of the methods and principles used to interpret something (in this case, the Bible, although the same techniques could be employed in a study of the U.S. Constitution for those of us who are interested in constitutional law). In short, how do you read the Bible so you can understand what the authors were trying to teach…and who were the authors, anyway? I believe the best hermeneutics require understanding the “author’s intent.” In the case of the Bible, the author is God (who inspired human authors), and our understanding of authorial intention and logic should be derived from studying the normal use of language, facts of history, context, grammar, and ultimately the individual words, guided by the Holy Spirit, who also superintended the original writings.

The book defends the evangelical position, positing that the prophetic hermeneutic of the Old Testament flows seamlessly into the apostolic hermeneutic of the New Testament, and that the intention of the writings are to provide a redemptive history for all people, so that all of us will be redeemed and love God, worshiping Him because of his mercy and good works. A truly biblical hermeneutic will spur us to grow in our faith and trust, respond to life with appropriate moral choices, and develop a worldview based on God’s redemptive works throughout the universe.

There is a wealth of information concerning particular issues in biblical interpretation, but the author also points out that ultimately his book is meant to give evangelicals confidence in embracing a literal, historical interpretation of Scripture. The biblical authors read and responded to Scripture the way they demand us to read it: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). The biblical authors were consistent, and there was no hermeneutic shifting in the Scripture.

I love Abner Chou’s conclusion: “The Bible comes with ‘hermeneutic included.’ We may not always get everything right but that does not mean a standard does not exist. Rather, the biblical writers have set that standard. For a Christian, our hermeneutic then must be one of surrender and obedience, one that bows before how the Author has demanded his children read and seek what he has confluently intended through the human author.” Amen!

Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:14-17).

Are You The Same Kind of Different As Me?

When Same Kind of Different as Me came out last October (2017), one of my friends told me that I’d love it and to watch for it. So, when it came up on the play list during a recent flight to Hawaii, it was the first thing I watched!  Same Kind of Different as Me is based on the New York Times’
best selling memoir by Ron Hall and Denver Moore.  Ron, a successful art dealer in Fort Worth, Texas,  is married to Debbie,
a woman “with a heart bigger than the whole state of Texas.”

When their marriage almost ends, they embark together on a mission to serve others that’s prompted by a dream Debbie has one night. The story is full of suspense, pain and healing… the transformation of men and women by the power of love.

It all started in a rescue mission in the slums of Dallas, Texas  but has expanded to inspire millions to help with the homeless in America.

In an interview, I heard Denver say something to this effect: “The movie tells the story of a nobody who shares the good news with everybody that Somebody can save anybody.”  Here’s another wonderful quote from Dallas’ obituary (after the book was written): “Miss Debbie saw through all the anger and confusion and saw straight to his heart,” Mr. Hall recalled. “It was like the old hymn he used to sing on the plantation, ‘When nothing else would help, love lifted me, love lifted me.’ He said it was her love that gave him hope and reason to change.” (https://www.dallasnews.com/obituaries/obituaries/2012/04/08/denver-moore-homeless-man-turned-inspiring-author-and-speaker-dies-at-75)

Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” (John 12:32)

Love Lifted Me
(by James Rose, 1912, public domain)

  1. I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore,
    Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more,
    But the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry,
    From the waters lifted me, now safe am I.

    • Refrain:
      Love lifted me!
      Love lifted me!
      When nothing else could help,
      Love lifted me!
  2. All my heart to Him I give, ever to Him I’ll cling,
    In His blessed presence live, ever His praises sing,
    Love so mighty and so true, merits my soul’s best songs,
    Faithful, loving service, too, to Him belongs.
  3. Souls in danger, look above, Jesus completely saves,
    He will lift you by His love, out of the angry waves;
    He’s the Master of the sea, billows His will obey,
    He your Savior wants to be, be saved today.

Are You a Follower or a Leader?

Are you a leader or follower by nature? Do you think one is better than the other? American culture puts a high premium on being a leader, but this isn’t what Jesus taught, as Joe Stowell reminds us in his book, Following Christ. God calls us first and foremost to be Christ-followers, not leaders! In truth, I don’t think any of us make good leaders until we’ve learned to become good followers.

Joe is the president of Cornerstone University, where six of our seven kids began their college training, and I think this book is spot on! Ever hear of “Wrong Way Reigels”? He was the University of California center who became infamous for scoring a touchdown. . .at the wrong end of the football field during the 1929 Rose Bowl! His team lost to Georgia Tech by one point, and Joe points out that Reigels’s problem was living by “instinct without direction,” which is an issue for each of us.

Perhaps the most crucial of all life’s questions is: Do we want to be the master of our own fate and the captain of our own soul, as the poet William Ernest Henley wrote, or would we rather follow the guidance of a higher being (God!) who is infinite in his knowledge and wisdom, capable of accomplishing his will, loves us more than we love ourselves, and has our good (and that of all people) and his glory as his game plan?

The only hitch is, we have to surrender to Christ, and most of us are either afraid to trust him because we’re not sure he’s really God, or we don’t believe He truly loves us and has our best interests at heart, or we don’t want to share our “glory” with God! By nature, most of us find it hard to believe that God really loves us more than we love ourselves. We are also proud and resent the idea of giving God the glory. We’d rather seize control of our own destiny and bring glory to ourselves, so at strategic crossroads, even Christ-followers often fail to obey, even though we know good and well what we ought to do. If we want to be true Christ-followers, then we need to commit to obeying Christ even when it seems impossibly hard (and probably is, apart from God’s grace and strength).   We’ve each been given one life to live. . .one challenging but glorious adventure. For those who do not believe in God, or have chosen to take a position of being agnostic, they must default either to being their own leader or following some earthly leader, but I would rather be a follower of Christ. Because, as Joe Stowell points out, having “the real, risen, transcendent, ever-present resident Christ to relate to me in the very depths of my being apart from the inherent trappings of visibility is an advantage with which no earthly relationship can compare.”

Amen! There is no Best Friend Forever who was with us at the day of our birth, can abide with us forever, and loves us with an everlasting love. God alone, in the person of Christ’s Holy Spirit, offers to indwell us and provide guidance, purpose, abundance of joy, and life eternal. Besides all this, there’s another wonderful promise attached to being a true Christ-follower: “If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make  you free” (John 8:31-32). Being a Christ follower offers us true freedom and can lead us out of the prisons we’ve made for ourselves.

One of my favorite books as a child was Follow My Leader, a story about a teenage boy who is accidentally blinded by a friend’s carelessness and has to find a way out of the hatred that poisons his soul as a result. If you find yourself feeling imprisoned by hatred or embroiled in sin, My Leader (Jesus) can help you find your way out! Don’t believe me? Well, it’s not about me, it’s about God, and He’s the one who made these promises: “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jeremiah 33:3). Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).

Will you join me and the multitude of pilgrims who’ve become Christ-followers?