Sunday, January 10, 2010

University Book Store's Birthday Soiree 110/110 on 01/10/10

I just got back from a wonderful evening at the University Book Store, celebrating its 110th birthday. To commemorate the date, they published a book of 110-word pieces written by mostly local writers. I wrote a "Grilled Birthday Cake" recipe which I'll share below.

But first I must say, I can't put it down. I love this little book. I love reading what these amazing writers wrote in 110 words.

Stesha Brandon drew a number of author names out of a hat to read in front of everyone. I knew I was going to be called. Knew it. But it wasn't all that bad. My voice quavered a few times, but my tongue behaved and didn't stumble over itself too much. I forgot to say that I worked at UBS one winter break for a few weeks during college. I'm pretty sure I spent most of my paycheck on books there. Kind of a scam when you think about it, but one in which both parties end up happy.

You want to know the best part about it? Tom Robbins was called to read his very funny piece in the book. Now I can say I did a reading with Tom Robbins! And you know what else? My book sat right next to his new book on the 110/110 bookshelf. Yeah. Well, they were placed alphabetically. Still.

I forgot my camera, as usual, but friend and fellow contributor Holly Cupala took some pictures for me with her fancy phone. She said, "Do you want me to take it of you next to your book?", and I said, "No, I want you to take a picture of my book next to Tom Robbins' book." She laughed, but also made me get in one of the photos. I'll post them when she sends them to me.

That was the other amazing part of the evening. I knew a ton of the contributing writers at the event: Meg Lippert, Kirby Larson, Dia Calhoun, Deb Lund, Karen CushmanMartha Brockenbrough, Jaime Temairik, Liz Gallagher, plus a few who didn't make it or I didn't see: Justina Chen Headley, Laura McGee Kvasnosky.  There, I've name dropped and linky linked. Go read their books. Better yet, buy their books at University Book Store and get a free copy of the 110/110 book!

Now for the Grilled Birthday Cake recipe that appears in 110/110:

One pound cake, slightly aged
1 cup chocolate chips
½ cup heavy cream
Fresh strawberries

Cut thick slices of pound cake.

Make chocolate ganache: Heat cream on low heat. Stir in chocolate until fully melted. Keep warm.

Fire up grill on medium high. Once pre-heated, swipe grill grate with oiled rag. Place pound cake slices on direct heat for 10 seconds, or until grill marks form. Flip and repeat.

Serve warm. Drizzle chocolate ganache and serve with fresh cut strawberries or fruit in season. Insert candle and make a wish.

Happy 110th birthday, University Book Store!


  1. Hello Julie,

    I am a chef, passionate foodie, and a poet. I was surfing the web looking for fellow food poets and found your site. I like your work and enjoyed your blog. Look forward to more!


  2. Thank you, Elizabeth! Always great to meet a fellow foodie. I'm enjoying some Hawaiian BBQ this week and will post something about it soon.

  3. Oh my goodness, yummy. Ok, I'm so embarrassed to ask this question, but do you think it would work on a George Foreman grill (bracing self for barrage of squicky tomatoes thrown at me)...?

  4. Holly - you definitely can. It won't get that tinge of smoky flavor, which I like with the chocolate, but it will look the same. I don't think facebook has a "send me a squicky tomato" app, so you are in luck :).