Review + Recipe: A Fun Trip to Crazy Town

Review: Let's Pretend This Never Happened
by Jenny Lawson
First, let me apologize. I'll tell you why later.
Okay, now on to the review.
If you like to snort your drink through your nose, this book is for you. If you ever wondered if your family is nuts, this book will provide the answer. And if you are looking for a new best friend, you're about to meet her. 
Oh yeah, Let's Pretend can do all of that and more. It's like the ginsu knife of the book world. So now how much would you pay? 
I entered Jenny Lawson World about a year ago, mainly through a chance Google search for "giant metal chicken" (don't ask, I don't remember why). The first five search results all pointed me to The Bloggess, where I spent about 10 hours straight reading every blog post from Jenny Lawson, including the one about Beyonce, a giant metal chicken. Beyonce is now so popular that she has her own Facebook page. Click here for proof.
Jenny herself is quite an online sensation, with 3 million or more visitors to The Bloggess every month and god knows how many thousands of Twitter followers.
In the last year, I have decided that Jenny and I are best friends ... she just doesn't know it yet. I've laughed when she told me about her latest purchases, I've rolled my eyes when her long-suffering husband Victor just didn't understand, and I've shed tears of sadness and laughter (sometimes at the same time) over her struggles with real life. If that isn't a best friend, what is?
In Let's Pretend This Never Happened, Jenny touches on some of her famous blog topics, but then out-ginsus herself (what? it's a word) with tales of her childhood, a taxidermy-obsessed dad, meeting her saint of a husband, and how she deals with depression. Caught you with that last one, right? Yes, Jenny is totally upfront with every aspect of who she is, and that's what makes her so damn likable.
I promise that at some point during this book you really will either spit something out of your mouth laughing or you will read bits to someone so many times that they will ask you to stop. The book is that funny.
And, handily, it will provide you with a big yardstick by which to measure your own family's nuttiness factor.
Once you've finished the book (and it won't take long), don't despair. You have years and years of Bloggess posts to catch up on, and many many characters to meet. Like Juanita, or Ermione Granger, or Copernicus-the-Homicidal Monkey, or the adorable Hunter S. Tomcat, or Hamlet Von Schnitzel (see cover of book).
You can also see how Jenny's stalking of Nathan Fillion and Wil Wheaton went. Or you can buy some of her products, like notebooks that say "People To Kill." Who wouldn't want that?
Now back to the apology - I am sorry that you are about to spend WAAAAY too much time on the computer. It's all my fault ... or Jenny's.
See? Real friends share the blame.

Recipe: Tomato Jam
So you know how I like to give you a recipe inspired by the reviewed book? For a macabre joke, I could have gone with schnitzel, but no. This one is perfect. Mainly because when I first served this to a friend she said "Tomatoes and jam? That's crazy talk." Exactly. Tomato jam is spicy and sweet, just like Jenny. Serve it with goat cheese and crackers (cause that's how we roll in the South), on hamburgers, or on a grilled cheese. Can it or refrigerate it, depending on your time. Oh, in the photo the tomato jam is center row on the right.
3 pounds of tomatoes
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon or lime juice
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2-3 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons pectin
Chop up the tomatoes (other than the core and stem, of course). Combine them with all ingredients except pectin in a big pot. Put the heat on medium-high and let it all come to a slow boil, stirring it every few minutes. Then turn the heat down to simmer and let it cook for about 2.5 hours. It will start to thicken as it cooks. Be sure to stir it occasionally so it won't stick. You can read Jenny's blog during this part.
After 2.5 hours, check the consistency and add pectin if you need to thicken it. Can the jam in jars (find instructions online), put it in Tupperware in the fridge, or serve it as soon as it cools. Makes a good gift, too. Want to preserve more food? Buy this book.

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