#Bookcook American God’s American Pie

About the Book – American Gods by Neil Gaimon

You can find my review here

Days before his release from prison, Shadow’s wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America.

Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break.

Scary, gripping and deeply unsettling, American Gods takes a long, hard look into the soul of America. You’ll be surprised by what – and who – it finds there…


Ahh, the quintessential American dessert. What better way to celebrate the war between the old gods and the new than with a slice of apple goodness.

I hear even Thor likes a slice in Valhalla or Biloxi. Wherever he is at this moment.

Here is a great recipe for an apple pie I have made a few times. Don’t drop it on your metal breastplate, apple goo never comes out of the ringlets.


APPLE TART WITH ALMOND PASTE FILLING RECIPE

“What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore, it knows it’s not foolin’ a soul.”

American Gods – Neil Gaimon
Apple Tart with Almond Paste Filling | wildwildwhisk.com

Apple Tart with Almond Paste Filling

  • Prep Time 25 mins
  • Cook Time 50 mins
  • Total Time 1 hr 15 mins 

This Apple Tart has a hidden layer of delicious homemade almond paste underneath the apples. It is a wonderful dessert for Fall and will for sure be a hit at any of your holiday dinner parties. Course: Dessert Servings: 8 – 10 Author: Wild Wild Whisk

Ingredients For crust:

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 oz unsalted butter 1 stick
  • 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoon cold water

For almond paste:

  • 1 cup almond meal/flour
  • 1/2 cup powder sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For apple topping:

  • 2 large honey crisp apples or 4 small ones
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter – melted

Instructions

  1. For almond paste, add almond meal, sugar, egg white, almond extract and salt to a bowl, mix well until combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Almond paste can be prepared well in advance and store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
  2. For the crust, place flour, sugar and salt in the food processor fitted with the dough blade and pulse a few times to mix.
  3. Cube the butter and add to the flour mixture. Make sure butter is cold. Pulse several times until butter is about pea size and mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Add cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the dough starts to pull together. Be mindful not to overmix, you still want chunks of butter in the dough to create a flaky crust.
  5. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured board and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic and rest in the refrigerator for an hour.
  6. Roll dough out into a circle about 1/4” thick and large enough to fit your tart pan. Transfer the dough to your tart pan and lightly press into the bottom and sides. Let the extra dough hang off the edge, then take your rolling pin and press along the edge of the pan to take off the extra dough.
  7. Cover the dough in plastic and place in the freezer.
  8. Move your oven rack to the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400°F.
  9. Peel and cut apples into 1/8” thick slices.
  10. When the oven is ready, take the crust out of the freezer. Take the almond paste, lightly spread and press it to the bottom of the crust so it covers the entire surface.
  11. Arrange the apple slices on top of the almond paste. Brush the melted butter all over the apples. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle on top.
  12. Bake for 50 minutes.
  13. Let cool on a wire rack before serving.

Graphic Novel Review of “American Gods Volume 1: Shadows (Neil Gaiman’s American Gods: The Shadows #1-9)”

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Russell, P. Craig et al. American Gods.

Stats

4 out of 5 Stars
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published March 13th 2018 by Dark Horse Books
Original Title American Gods, Volume 1: Shadows
ISBN 1506703860 (ISBN13: 9781506703862)
Edition Language English

Summary

“What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore, it knows it’s not foolin’ a soul.”

― Neil GaimanAmerican Gods

30430From the publisher, “Shadow Moon gets out of jail only to discover his wife is dead. Defeated, broke, and uncertain where to go from here, he meets the mysterious Mr. Wednesday, who employs him to serve as his bodyguard–thrusting Shadow into a deadly world where ghosts of the past come back from the dead, and a god war is imminent.

Collecting the first nine issues of the American Gods comic book series, along with art process features, high res scans of original art, layouts, character designs, and variant covers by BECKY CLOONAN, SKOTTIE YOUNG, FABIO MOON, DAVE MCKEAN, and MORE!”

My Thoughts

“Hey,” said Shadow. “Huginn or Muninn, or whoever you are.”

The bird turned, head tipped, suspiciously, on one side, and it stared at him with bright eyes.

“Say ‘Nevermore,'” said Shadow.

“Fuck you,” said the raven.”

― Neil GaimanAmerican Gods

6050678-07Reading “American Gods Volume 1” was a challenge for me. It wasn’t due to the source material or anything like that. It is hard for me to remove my personal bias towards anything that is not the book. I have a similar difficulty with movies where I love the book. American Gods is a brilliant bit of urban fantasy. I mean it is Gaiman, so of course it is. Everything the man touches is fantastic.  The man could write a jingle for a used car salesman, and it would be magic.

This graphic novel was able to add magic to an already magical and well-done story. Since the prose is pretty much word for word of the source material, the magic was in the form of the stupendous graphics that were done by Scott Hampton and many others.

Much like a cinematographer, Hampton added atmosphere and aura to the words and gravitas of the scenes. He used a combination color palette of muted colors and psychedelic hues.  Some scenes, depending upon the action going on took a somber tone that matched the narrative. Other scenes, when the magic was buzzing, the images blaze off the page like a kaleidoscope of otherworldly colors. The whole story seems like a fever dream in a lot of ways. It is beautifully done and effective.

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Other illustrators took a hand in this volume, and they read like a who’s who in current famous comic illustrators and designers. They drew various vignettes and variant covers in their respective styles. Becky Cloonan from “Gotham Academy” fame and Fabio Moon who designed one of my favorite graphic novels of late, “Daytripper, ” among others.  The story lends itself well to many design interpretations, and this was demonstrated well here.

Conclusion

“All your questions can be answered if that is what you want. But once you learn your answers, you can never unlearn them.”

― Neil GaimanAmerican Gods

Volume 1 is grandly done. If you are a fan of the book or TV show, it can only add to your personal experience, and that is saying something. Most of the time, movies, and graphic interpretations screw it up. “American Gods Volume 1” is thankfully not one of those instances.