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Pacific Northwest Radio Interview with Outlander Kitchen’s Theresa Carle-Sanders

The randomly drawn winner of the Rafflecopter contest, who will receive a digital Outlander Kitchen Cookbook is:

Allison Wood from Campbell River, British Columbia!

There will be another opportunity to win a hardback of this great cookbook, watch this space!

Outlander Kitchen. Two household words that have culminated in a cookbook, which after years of hard work, is a dream come true for Theresa Carle – Sanders. I had the opportunity to meet Theresa for the first time in Seattle at the Outlander Fan Retreat, an event put on by Random House to welcome Diana Gabaldon’s newest novel, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood.

OK Image Random HouseTheresa has worked with Random House to publish her cookbook, based on recipes Diana describes in the Outlander series. Interest in all aspects of Outlander have skyrocketed with the new series (now finishing Season Two, Dragonfly in Amber), which is a collaboration of excellence by Sony, STARZ, Tallship Productions (Ron Moore and Maril Davis), and Diana Gabaldon.

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Recently, Lori Ness of Northwest Prime Radio had a chance to talk to Theresa about her new book.  Lori is no stranger to the Outlander world, having already interviewed Diana last year, as well as Àdhamh Ó Broin (Gaelic Consultant to Outlander). Listen here to hear Theresa chat with Lori about Outlander Kitchen.

This week, ONE lucky listener will win an electronic copy of Outlander Kitchen. At the end of the week, watch for my review of her cookbook (I’m gonna COOK!) and another chance to win . Click the Rafflecopter giveaway link to enter:

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For a schedule of Theresa’s appearances, click here (opens a Facebook link).  She will be in Seattle on Wednesday, July 27th at the Book Larder, a Community Cookbook Store (tickets are free, but limited and are available here).  Signed copies of Outlander Kitchen can be purchased at Talisman Books & Gallery.  Double-signed books may be purchased from The Poisoned Pen.   Diana wrote the foreword in Outlander Kitchen, so pick up a copy to read that an open the door to your favorite Outlander recipes!

Photo from OK FB pageCongratulations Theresa!

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Photos from Outlander Kitchen, Random House (O’Malley Photography), Northwest Prime Radio.

En France: Cauchmars, Godemiché, et Mamalons Percé

Last week we left off with the destruction le Comte St. Germain’s cargo ship, who vowed to make Jamie and Claire pay for their meddling.  This week’s Season Two Episode Two opens with visions of a woman in a beautiful costume (previously on display at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City), but who is that woman?  CUT!  Jamie is making passionate love to his bride, and both appear to be enjoying it.  All of a sudden Claire becomes Jack Randall who encourages Jamie by saying “don’t stop” and what happens next is a scene from American Psycho.  It’s a nightmare, a cauchmar, but Jamie feels Black Jack is alive…in his head.

dontstopThis face instead of Claire’s would give me nightmares, too.

Fast forward…

Running out of the house gowned in 18th century Dior, Claire is splendidly magnificent in a very simplistic way, ready for an outing, after insulting the maid and the footman.

dui                                          Terry’s Dior inspired gown.

As we travel through the streets of “Paris” (which is actually Prague), we are delighted by the scenes of regular life as viewed from the street. Ballast paved streets. Those streets never cease to amaze me in thier simplistic sturdiness. Ballast laid in patterns and filmed in such a way as to appear to be a fan to engage the flames of the political intrigue.  I’m sure none of that was meant to be; it’s how I see it in my mind’s eye.

ballaststreet                                          Ballast streets of “Paris.”

We listen to Claire’s tale about the Eiffel Tower, WWII, the coming revolution, but we don’t know where she is headed.  She is obviously looking for something, and then she arrives at her destination.  La Apothicaire de Maitre Raymond.  She enters the mystical world of Master Raymond, through a blue facade, wearing blue, and he calls her Madonna (sounds Spanish, though) and they launch into a repartee of herbal-speak.

adea                                                  Maitre Raymond

But the Maitre has already heard of Claire, from le Comte St. Germain, no less!  Maitre Raymond is well cast and just as froggy as I expected him, despite his wig. Claire finds a friend in Maitre Raymond through their mutual frenemy, le Comte.

What is Outlander without a good sword fight?  Murtagh takes Jamie through the ranks of getting back to his old physical self.  We see him struggle with the blade, his hand tremble, and he finally finds the verve and fends off Murtagh’s blade.  Old Jamie is coming alive!  By the way, sword fighting is just too cool for words.

adaara                     Training with his faithful Godfather, Murtagh.

The French look on as though Murtagh and Jamie are savages…oh wait, they are Scottish Highlanders and a bit like aliens to the locals, certainly savages to the British.  Murtagh, full of insults, to the people, the country, and the aroma.

Yet, we would think he is a stout Jacobite and he suggests that to kill the rebellion, the head of the snake (Prince Charlie) must be cut off.  Such words!  Me thinks he just wants to hasten his return to Scotland and stop wasting wine by selling it instead of drinking it.  After returning to Jared’s Paris apartment, the real action starts.

ftrAnd how about the asymmetric design of Claire’s dress? Just a hint of what is to come.

Without prolonging the details, the rest of the episode exposes different parts of decadent French culture, complete with a penile scene at Madame Elise’s with Jamie and Murtagh in the company of Bonnie Prince Charlie. While le Prince is attempting to convince Jamie to act on his behalf in seeking an audience with Le Roi Louis Quinze de France. Why? Because the Prince is not accepted at court, so Jamie has to do his dirty work.

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So what was the deal with the dildos?  While Jamie and Murtagh clearly look uncomfortable during the “wifely” display at the brothel, the Prince was all for it, exclaiming he would buy all the dildos on parade!  Murtagh stands up to the Prince after Jamie does, but Charles wants only to hear God the Almighty whispering in his ear “Be King, be King, you are the King of Scotland.”   So to show his divine nature to his newfound friends, he goes to dip his sword into the nearest honeypot.  The Prince is well played.

Were there really male appendage toys in France at the time? Yes, there were and here is an example of one that is believed to be from 18th century France.

dilNo thanks, not for purchase or otherwise.  Image from Science & Society.

Continuing on with the body part theme, Claire goes to visit her friend, Louise de la Tour de Rohan, a social butterfly of the French court and while in need of Claire’s friendship, well suited to the Fraser cause.  Waxing?  And by a Turk?  Yes, it is a big thing there and while Louise is undergoing 18th century depilatory, we meet Mary Hawkins. The shy stutterer, who is aghast at Louise’s lack of shame while she spreads ’em on the chaise lounge ready to have her Brazilian bikini wax.

OUCH.  Never having done anything like THAT down THERE, the ripping of linen off flesh had me cringing

adfadfadamore than Claire and Mary…

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Mary, where has Claire heard that name before?  She can’t place it, but will.  Louise extends the much anticipated invitation to court, ready for the next phase of stopping the rebellion.

Never meek, Claire goes for la cirer de sexe and shocks Jamie with her hairless honeypot.  As he enjoys bringing her pleasure, he again has the Claire-turns-into-Randall image, which is the quickest way for Jamie to experience coitus interruptus.  Again we see a frail man, still in the construction phase of his lean-to from that fortress he had prior to his torture at the hands of Captain Randall.

Red, I’m seeing red.

redSo is Jamie.  And Murtagh.  Not enough red in the socially right places, though.  THAT infamous red dress appears down Jon Gary Steele’s magnificent staircase, exposing at least down to Claire’s second rib.  Having seen the dress in person, it is a sight to behold, even holding Murtagh’s gaze longer than is proper. There is no other way to gain the King’s attraction than by distraction, from others.  Terry pulled off the corset-less masterpiece and Claire is held into the dress by pure sempstress genius, no tape, no nuthin’ but red holding in her girls.  Jamie can’t see down to her navel, and the “third rib” is purely colloquial, since you could see her third rib because the dress was that low.

No escape for Murtagh, but clearly his sensibilities are in shock as are Jamie’s. Jamie, being a Renaissance man, accepts Claire’s fan as good enough, albeit with a suggestion to have a larger one (which she procures).

I’m sure I’m not the only one who noticed the rather short nature of Claire’s dress, well above her ankles.

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This apparently was a trend in the 18th century and is when shoes became a fashion accessory, just like those to-die-for gladiators Claire wore with the red dress.

satradfadfaTo read more about dress fashions, click here.

The last episode was also all about Terry’s stunning costumes.  Louise prances about in the bow-tie dress (was the neckline lower than her aereolae and the bow covered them?), Claire in her red dress, Mary looked magnificent in lavender satin.

adfea In runs Annelise de Merriac, who throws herself into Jamie’s arms while Claire, Louise, and Mary look on, puzzled.  I guess Jamie forgot to tell Claire of his monk-inducing and failed pursuit of the lovely Annelise (you can read a bit more about Jamie’s desire to be a monk in The Exile).  BUT, Annelise to the rescue, she takes Jamie to meet King Louis on his, er, throne.

kingthroneUp to now, this has to be the funniest part of the episode, watching the King try to pinch one off.  The poor man has stage fright! Parritch!  Bring some parritch!  Jamie’s grand introduction to the King and all he can do is suggest he eat a bowl of oats, mid valsalva maneuver.

Stuck in yet another awkward situation, Claire makes a quick exit to get some air, with a much larger fan, after discussing peters and pricks with the French noblewomen, and spying Miss Mary talking to a very young man.  Who is the young man?  Definitely not her intended, as he was described as old.  She still can’t place where she knows Mary from, either.

Enter Monsieur Duverney, there is no other man more hilarious than he.  Louise baits him into thinking Claire wants an assignation, which leads to the man making a complete and utter fool of himself by fondling Claire’s red-clad feet.  Jamie tosses him off the balcony, and a soggy Minister of Finance emerges from the pond, wig in hand. After le Monsieur promises his friendship to the Frasers, in walks the King, with his most recent paramour…and her breasts.

swmsIn another stunning declaration of her talent, Terry gives Outlander fans another infamous dress, the Nipple/Swan Dress. This was so well done and even Murtagh appreciated the costuming, much to Jamie’s chagrin.

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The final scenes encompass the disastrous previous meeting with the Duke of Sandringham and his duplicitous nature. Murtagh swears to be his undoing, Jamie succeeds in garnering a sale of port, and Claire…Claire orders Jamie and Murtagh awa’ to deal with the Duke? Very un-Jamie like, to let Claire give him the fluff in public.  Ah well, Claire decides to dish on the Duke that she is aware of his two-faced actions and in the process meets Alex Randall, the younger brother of the very much alive, Jonathan Randall. To say that Claire was visibly shaken at the news of Black Jack’s survival is an understatement.  In addition, Alexander Randall was the very man with whom Mary Hawkins was conversing.  aaaaaaaaa

Fireworks. Thundering explosions. The chaos outside mirrored Claire’s own internal chaos of Jamie’s reaction – if she tells him – that Black Jack Randall was alive.  Well put: what then?

There was a lot of material covered in this episode, and mixing of different areas of the book, Dragonfly in Amber. Some additions, but all in all, Ron Moore et al did a fantastic job on the episode.  Terry Dresbach hit a grand slam on costumes.

Most photos from Starz.   All opinions are my own.

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Droughtlander: The End.

Finally the epic stretch of Droughtlander is over.  The End.  Finis. For the majority of fans in the US, Starz aired the Season Two premiere of Outlander’s Dragonfly in Amber on Saturday, April 9, 2016.  Ron Moore, the Executive Producer, wrote the first episode, “Through a Glass, Darkly” and did he ever deliver a gripping epic end to Droughtlander. If you haven’t seen Episode 201 yet, then I suggest you tuck away this blog to read later.    At the end of Season One we leave Claire and Jamie on the boat, full of reassurances that all will be well.
Image from Starz
Opening scene of Season Two, we find Claire describing her pain as she is lying on the ground, then gets up and is looking around, at the stones, and through the grass as she realizes she is missing something – a something that is a ring from which a jewel has probably fallen out.

Missing stone

The first minute or two is enough to gut wrench anyone and bring the strongest to tears.  Ron’s writing and Claire’s performance in the opening scene is a powerful promise to the remainder of the episode and keeps (me anyway), on the edge of my seat waiting for the next scene.
 As Claire discovers from a passing motorist, after she almost rips his head off, that it is indeed 1948 and the English have won the battle of Culloden, she has us all feeling the pain of loss in seconds, as if we had been on the battlefield losing the centuries old clan system and way of life.
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Frank arrives to the hospital to find the wife he was convinced hadn’t left of her own volition.  Claire’s body language screams “I DON’T WANT TO BE HERE” louder than any verbalization can, and in fact, her spoken words give that very same attitude.  Here is where my first thought of a missed opportunity to have a grieving Frank is missed. Frank responds with a very flat “And I’m so very grateful” line after Claire tells him she is back, and the entire sequence is enough to make me just want to fast forward a bit.  It was flat and uninspiring, sounding nothing like a man who is relieved his wife-who-has-been-missing-for-years should feel. I have my own speculations on this front, which will be revisited later in the season.  On a side note, as Claire looks out the hospital room window, we see a lady walking a dog across the streeet and that dog belongs to Ron and Terry (information from Maril Davis’s tweets).
Discussions Frank has with the Reverend Wakefield are all excellently placed and are enough to believe he does have the patience of Job and is trying to pass along that patience to Frank. Claire bluntly tells Frank she is pregnant and Frank, for a microsecond, is happy and elated before he realizes that it couldn’t be his and not only because his wife has been gone for two years. Yes, two years. There is a comment where he says she’s been gone for two years and I thought I didn’t hear it correctly, but I did.  We have a compressed timeline in the show and book readers know she was gone for three years.  In the show she disappeared at Samhain 1945 (in the Outlander book it’s Beltane 1945), which would be six months later than the book.  We do know she returns in 1948, as stated by the passing motorist.  So she has been gone (for the show) about 2.5 years.
During the interchange and when Frank realizes that his wife has been well-swived by another man, we see him nearly explode in a rage and beat Claire, which actually reminded me of Black Jack Randall.  Instead of showing Claire’s hallucinatory moment with Frank as he leaned over the bed and “became” Captain Randall, this would have been a better placement of her hallucination given the violence both Jack Randal was prone to and the instant that Frank began his resentment of Claire.
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We see him balling a fist, a la Black Jack Randall, and he lets his flash of anger dissipate; however, the seed has been planted.
What is this about Frank being sterile? I’ve often wondered how Frank knew he was sterile and this bit comes out during a talk with Reverend Wakefield.  Frank confides in the Reverend about how he and Claire had been trying to conceive to no avail and that one year earlier he had his fertility tested to find out he was sterile. WHAAAT? His wife is gone a little longer than one year (the show) and then he has his swimmers checked?  I have a feeling this is setting us up for future events and if you’ve read the books, you will know what I’m referring to.  If you are a show fan, well, just tuck that bit of info behind a door labeled “Frank Can’t Have Kids” and hopefully we will have enough seasons to unlock that bit of business. Diana is known for revisiting scenes and topics several books and years later, so don’t forget about this tidbit.  While the Reverend speaks of little Roger, he tells him that this is an opportunity to be a father to a child who otherwise would not have one.  Sage advice and well done.  By the by, Roger is just the cutest little kid.
Claire and Frank are new to each other again, neither can know of the experiences the other has had the past two-plus years, but Claire does confide in Mrs. Graham, who believes her far-fetched story and helps her to ease the instantaneous disruption of her past life.  Claire realizes she must tell Frank the entire story and does so after she tells him she wants to keep all questions and comments at bay until the end.  Frank tells her she doesn’t have to tell it and can do so in time, but she must tell and tell she does. It’s my opinion that Frank doesn’t really believe her, but then even he can’t explain how Claire came into possession of the historian-verified authentic 18th century clothing.  If it smells like a duck, sounds like a duck, and walks like a duck, it must be a duck.  Claire and Frank strike a bargain (keep this bit of info handy for any potential future seasons) and off they go to Boston – after he burns her clothes.  Brilliant acting and story lines, hated the burning of the clothing. Frank the historian burns history he could have had a chance to preserve, especially articles from his beloved Jacobite era.
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I realize it was to erase the past from Claire’s mind, but I see it as a missed opportunity for Frank (who has no small ego by the way) to have the clothing preserved in a museum.
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One.  More.  Step.  That’s all Claire needs to touch down in America with her own two feet.  She accepts Frank’s hand, the camera moves from her face and pans down to…Jamie, holding her hand to get off the ship at La Havre, France, 1745.
I’ll just shout it here… THIS WAS BRILLIANT and had to be the best film editing of the episode. Hats off to Ron, Metin, and the entire production team for this. I’m not alone, the audience at the premiere held at the American Museum of Natural History on Monday, April 4th, thought so too.  Tears, yelling, sighs, heavy breathing, and applause. You name it, it happened in that instant.  Bravo. It happened again at the screening on the 9th.
We are reacquainted with an injured Jamie and his dour godfather, Murtagh, as they disembark the ship in France. Jamie is happy to be off as Claire is confessing that she thought she might have to throw him overboard a few times during the crossing.  Here is where I found the set up to be strange (go ahead, strangle me).  We know they filmed with a real ship in the Clyde area of Glasgow.  Now, I’m a 21st century boater and this is from my experience boating – there is VERY little chance that any captain would EVER set up a ramp off the bow of a ship.  Of any size.
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The bow is the part of the ship that feels every single movement of the water.  Why they didn’t have the ramp off the port side and onto the quay, I have no idea.  Strange. Weird.  Unrealistic. The midship region has less movement and is less susceptible to rocking, safer for loading and unloading, provides a shorter span, etc.  Let’s not forget that unloading comes from the bilges and they would have to go up more steps to remove goods from the bow. Someone help me out as to a good reason this was done, other than “it’s TV.”  This is the last bit that made me realize I was watching a show and not embodied in the characters so well played by the cast.
Claire is full of suggestions on how to stop the rebellion but Jamie wants to know how to win.  Alas for the lass, she doesna ken how to win.  We see Jamie very uncomfortable, clearly still affected by his pain, both physically and mentally.  Claire tells Jamie that being in France is where they can stop the Prince and that they can ask his cousin Jared to set them up with introductions, since he is a well-connected Jacobite.  So it’s settled, meet Jared and then face the wrath of Murtagh because they refuse to tell him what they are up to…until it is the proper time.
Fast forward to a meeting with Jared, Jamie’s Fraser cousin who is steeped in politics and the wine business.  He, a skeptic Scot in a time of political deviance, doubts Jamie’s desire to meet with the Jacobites in France.  He ends up revealing the 200+ reasons, in the form of his very scarred back, why he has reason to rise up against the [English] King.  Of course he can’t tell Jared why, so this will have to suffice.  They strike a bargain, Jamie squeezes a quarter out of a nickel, leaving Jamie in charge of Jared’s wine business, earning a 35% share of profits, a place to stay, along with a loose promise of backing by the Clan Fraser. Voilà!  Problems solved.
Capture7Until Claire meddles again, that is.  While at the docks at La Havre, she witnesses what appears to be a body being unloaded (from the mid-ship, no less!) from a ship, she decides to investigate.
Capture8Now look at the above photo, it is almost a slack tide, as noted by the wet rack line on the seawall in the background to the left, and the ramp isn’t at a significant slant.  Now look at the next photo:
Capture9Same body being carried off, yet the ramp is at a greater angle.  The last two images are taken from a time when they were filming at a very low tide:
Capture10Oops. A little problem with continuity. Bulkheads and living on the water are my life, so this is very noticeable to me.   Enough of tides, let’s get back to bodies.
Puss filled blisters. Fever. Not a good thing.
Capture11Claire pushes past the seamen to examine the sailor, makes Jamie stay back because she can’t get the pox, which is what she thinks it is.
Capture12Enter le Comte St. Germain, and another body. into the storeroom.  Her proclamation of the smallpox has not gone over well, the port master tells le Comte that his ship must be destroyed, and Claire has made a new enemy.   This is yet another perfect example of Claire completely overstepping her 20th century bounds into the 18th century, not realizing how her actions endanger others, even though she thinks she is helping.  She doesn’t realize the danger she puts herself and others in; however, trouble does seem to find her, she doesn’t always find the trouble.
Le Comte insults the Frasers and he learns that they are related to Jared.  It is quite evident that the actor (Stanley Weber) is a native French speaker, even to my novice ear (I did take French many years ago), making it obvious that Claire, Jamie, and Jared are not native French speakers – it all fits well.   Le Comte swears they will both pay and we see the infamous burning of the ship described in the book come to the screen.  Jamie and Claire exit stage right with le Comte glaring at them.
And that’s a wrap.  What did you think?  Did you think it was a good opener for Starz?  Except for a few things noted, I believe it to be an excellent start to the season.  Gripping, intriguing, suspenseful; all good traits to hook new viewers.   The acting is excellent, the small touches and nuances were superbly done.  Hats off to everyone.
Comment and be entered to win a little something something!
Disclaimer: All views are my own while all images are from Starz.

 

The Return of Outlander – In All Its Obsessable Glory

This is it Outlander fans, the end of Droughtlander is a mere days away.   Recent photos released by Starz has gotten many to think about how the new season will start, what do you think?  The Puget Sound Sassenachs ran a poll  (join here!) a couple of weeks ago asking when they thought the story would pick up for Season 2.  The overwhelming winners were 1) On the dock where they left off from Season 1,

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or 2) With Claire in the hospital bed

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What do you think?  I think it is the hospital bed as the opening scene, and this is because during an interview with Diana after SDCC, she mentioned that the season would be starting differently from the book and that we would be seeing a lot more Frank.  So after seeing the trailer with Claire sitting in a hospital bed, that was the first thing that came to mind.  For the record, Diana did not divulge anything, just that that it was different.  For those attending the premiere on April 4th in NYC, you will know the answer soon!  How do you think it will start?  Comment on the blog, and you will be entered to win an Outlander poster (from Season 1).

obsess

Starz has recently rolled out a new slogan for their shows – obsessable.  Certainly Outlander in print and television media qualifies as obsessable; and didn’t the show recently win an award for being the most binge-worthy show?  That seems to be about the same as obsessable.  Kudos to Starz for giving us a name for our behavior toward Outlander.  If you’d like to read the article about Starz and the rebranding, click here.

Want more ways to win? Enter the rafflecopter contest to have more ways to win, and don’t forget to tune in on April 9th for the rollout of Outlander – Season2.

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Vive Les Frasers!

All images from Starz Season 2 Trailer or the Outlander Facebook page.  Edits are my own.