Tuesday, December 18

Posted by Laurel Garver on Tuesday, December 18, 2012 16 comments
To mark the release of her new YA contemporary novel CHASTE, Angela Felsted invited bloggers to share a favorite holiday cookie recipe. What does this have to do with her book? Interestingly, it's the GUY who's the gifted cook in her story that pushes hard against gender role stereotypes.

Guys who cook are awesome. I happen to be married to one. He makes amazing gourmet meals, and I deal with the bills and taxes. Because running a home is a team effort and you want players in the positions where they have actual skills.

So while I don't really cook, I do like to bake every now and again. I like the predictability--that if you follow the formula, you get good results. So I'm sharing an old favorite I have fond memories of making with my mother.

Molasses Crinkles

Cream together:
3/4 c. vegetable shortening
1 c. brown sugar

Mix in:
1 egg
1/4 c. molasses

In a separate bowl, combine:
2-1/4 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger

Mix dry ingredients into wet incredients. Chill for several hours.
Form dough into walnut-sized balls. Dip tops in sugar, then water to create crackled texture.
Bake, sugared side up, on a greased cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 9-12 minutes. Yield: 4.5 dozen cookies.


When he steps into his physics class on the first day of senior year, Quinn Walker is too exhausted from staying up all night with his three-month-old nephew to deal with moral dilemmas. As a devout Mormon who has vowed to wait until marriage for sex, the last thing he needs is a very hot and very sexy Katarina Jackson as his physics partner. Regrettably, he has no choice.

Kat feels invisible in her mansion of a home six months after losing her older brother in a fatal car crash and will do anything to get her parents’ attention. Since her pastor father has no love for Quinn’s “fake” religion and her ex-boyfriend refuses to leave her alone, she makes an impulsive bet with her friends to seduce her holier-than-thou lab partner by Christmas.

View the trailer:

Available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble.

What do you think of guys who are domestically skilled? How about girls who take the initiative in relationships?


  1. A friend of ours (he's a prof and his wife is a doctor) is amazingly skilled with braiding. He does his daughter's hair in the most gorgeous 'dos. He's got a lot of moms (and some dads) googling "fancy braids."

    1. That's a cool skill I don't hear too many men bragging about!

  2. Mmm...sounds delicious.
    I get pretty passionate about issues with gender roles--maybe because I'm married to a guy who excells at a lot of things seen as "girly." For a living he makes violins, but he also writes, paints, sews, knits (on occasion), cooks, bakes, decorates...all better than I do.
    Once a friend of mine read a chapter from a WIP at a large SCBWI critique group. The mc is a boy who likes to draw... After he finished, one person said, "Oh, I love that the main character is gay." Apparently she had decided this (which was completely false) based only on the fact that there was a guy who liked to draw. My husband piped up and said, "So...would you think that I'm gay--or that all the male illustrators in this room are gay?" And she actually answered, "Well, I probably would guess that if I didn't know you." !!
    The weird thing is that despite our push for equality in the past century and a half, a lot of these gender roles are completely modern. I mean, my husband comes from a long line of tailors, who supported their families through sewing. Knitting was probably invented by men. Painting and drawing were almost exclusively male trades until the nineteenth century (with some notable exceptions). And of course most of history's greatest chefs have been men.
    Oh, well, I'll stop rambling. :)

    1. I'm totally with you on this one, Faith. I bet our husbands would get on like a house on fire. My hubby is ALSO good at knitting, crochet, sewing, painting and drawing. One's hobbies and skill sets have NOTHING to do with sexual orientation. Most would consider it sexist to assume that all female attorneys are gay, so let's not do the reverse, and assume the same about guys with certain skills. AMEN!

  3. What's with all the cookie recipes today?? OH, MY...now I'm so hungry and want to bake. lol

    My hubby is quite acclimated in the art of breakfast. For the life of me, I can never keep everything warm when I cook a big breakfast. Thus, I don't cook big breakfasts; he does.

    1. Once we're through advent, I'm all for cookies for breakfast from Christmas to Epiphany! :-D Ah, yes, the having four things hot at the same time. I totally struggle with that, which is why I rarely cook at all.

  4. I guess I don't often think of gender issues, until someone brings them up. I've always thought that men and women should be free to celebrate the gifts and talents they've been given.
    My husband and my dad both can sew. I can't. And my mom doesn't. I've never thought there was anything wrong with that.

    I know a guy who knits with his wife and sons.
    Another family we know is all about dance - wife, husband and daughters. The husband and wife met through ballet. The husband works as a firefighter, and his wife owns and directs at her own dance studio. She choreographed a beautiful Easter dance for her husband and oldest daughter to perform at worship . . .and it was awesome.

    We need to let go of our stereotypes about gender roles for the world to be a healthier and happier place.

    I'm not saying I don't have my own problems with that - I had a tough time trying to date guys who couldn't fix cars . . .my dad is a retired airplane mechanic who likes fixing cars, motorcycles, and planes. I ended up marrying an electrical engineer who also likes to tinker with cars and motorcycles. I'm not sure if that was about gender bias, or just about marrying someone I understood. (I had to learn a few car part names to have conversations with my dad)

    1. "Men and women should be free to celebrate the gifts and talents they've been given." Great sentiment.

      It's funny that you deliberately sought someone unlike your dad, because in my experience we tend to end up attracted to someone who IS like him. Sounds like that's what you eventually discovered. :-)

  5. Laurel, this blog post is great! I love that you talk about the issues head on. For me, I've been shying away from reading YA more lately because it feels like many of the characters are gender-based stereotypes of people and not as three dimensional as they could be. We have archetypes down to a T.

    The good boy who needs to grow a backbone. The bad boy with a heart of gold that only the heroin can see. The girl with perfect grades that's a social outcast and misunderstood. I don't know we we link gender to certain interests like drawing, music, and cooking, but I think it can be limiting.

    1. I know what you mean about certain tropes and archetypes, or dare I say stereotypes, rarely being challenged in YA. That's why voices like yours are needed!

  6. Ah - this is an interesting premise and a very real one. I remember seeing girls go after boys in other relationships in high school and college, just to see how much damage they could do. And likewise with guys.

    On a happier note, I finished your book! loved it! the ending was so beautiful - your descriptions of Dani's sketching took my breath away. Yeesh this sounds very cliched... I think I did a better job in my review on Goodreads.

    1. I agree. It's quite a real phenomenon that girls can use their attractiveness as a weapon--something I don't hear many talking about.

      Thanks so much for the wonderful review on Goodreads. You labor in silence for years never knowing if what you think is pretty good will ever see the light of day, let alone really touch someone and be quoted back to you...well all I can say is WOW. That made my year. Honestly. And my next book has LOTS more Theo in it. Stay tuned!

  7. It's funny I guess I dont have those gender roles- when I went to cooking school there were fifteeen guys vs. two girls. Your cookies sound yummy.

    1. I'd heard that about pro cooks--that it's male dominated. I wonder if that's partly due to the chef lifestyle of working weird times of day, making it a tough career for those with families. Can't say I'd want to work their kooky hours.

  8. mmm... crinkles. Those sound fantastic!!! You know, I tried to make cookies once. I renamed them "brickies" and they stuck to the pan like glue. My great aunt, who was a FAB baker laughed at me, "You always grease the pan, silly" she said... :P

    Anywho! I HAVE read Chaste, and it is AWESOME! Here's wishing Angela tons of success, and you a very wonderful holiday season~ <3

    1. You'd probably have great success if you used baking parchment every time. Not every recipe calls for a greased sheet. Butter rich cookies would end up like greasy French fries instead of crisp if you used a greased sheet. Parchment wouldn't affect the texture, though.

      CHASTE is on my TBR. Hope to get some downtime to read more soon! Nothing like getting super sick right before Christmas to add even more stress. Whee.