For as long as I can remember, I've been a reader. A voracious reader, consuming the backs (and sides) of cereal boxes, my mom's church bulletins, and whatever books were lying around, all with equal gusto.
My true love, however, was fiction. Every now and then, I come across a line or paragraph that feels so incredibly, thrillingly, true that I feel like it is actually possible to understand humanity. Just a little.
I was indiscriminate in my youth, accepting loaned books and recommendations from others as easily as I would accept candy. I didn't have the resources to be picky.
Eventually, I was able to become more discerning. Glorious years, however, were spent in books - current fiction and literature from the (admittedly problematic) canon, making up for lost time. Time I would never get back. Time that had been spent with the likes of Danielle Steele, John Grisham, and the Babysitter's Club.
Then Max was born. I was prepared to have less time available for reading. I wasn't prepared to have a diminished interest in fiction.
Perhaps I just didn't have the brain capacity to empathize, to learn about new characters and problems while I was getting to know my own little guy. Maybe I just found the conflicts so out of the realm of my day to day life, I no longer could care. Maybe I could no longer see truth in the fiction I was reading. Maybe it is totally something else.
So I hung up my fiction hat for awhile, subsisting on long-form non fiction articles and a smattering of non fiction books.
Somewhere along the way, about a year and a half after Max was born, I found my way back to my first, my true love.
A new title from a well liked author made a nice reintroduction with this old friend. After that, a collection of short stories from the wonderful Alice Munro. From there, my confidence slowly rebuilt to the present, in which I can actually read a non-fiction book and not worry that I will no longer be able to read fiction again, backsliding into those former reading habits.
These days, I can finally nestle on the couch with our old, ratty, giant comforter (never just a throw blanket!) and a snack and delve into a book - a book of whatever I feel like at the moment. Currently, those books are Susan Sontag's On the Pain of Others and Posession by A.S. Byatt.
And the snack? The perfect snack for reading has to be individually-sized. Individually-sized for the private, interior world you are inhabiting. Luxurious, as well. Like these toasts - sourdough bread with a creamy layer of Biscoff, apricot compote, slices of Granny Smith apples, a drizzling of fresh orange juice, and just a sprinkling of fleur de sel.
By the way, Biscoff is running a "Spread the Love" contest! Facebook fans will vote for the grand prize winners. The contest ends on August 25 (11:59 p.m. EST).
The top three winners of the challenge will be announced on August 30, 2013.
First place – A trip to Belgium for two and a tour of the Biscoff factory
Second place – $1,500
Third place – $1,000
sourdough or french bread, toasted
drizzle of fresh orange juice
fleur de sel
For the apricot compote:
13 apricots, pitted and halved
2 teaspoons juice from a Meyer lemon
3-4 tablespoons sugar
To make the compote: Put everything into a pot. Cook on low for about 8-10 minutes, until warm and the apricots start to break down. Chill.
To make the toasts: Generously spread the Biscoff over toast. Add a layer of apricot compote. Arrange slices of apple on top. Drizzle a bit of fresh orange juice. Finish with a sprinkling of fleur de sel.
Biscoff Spread is a sweet, creamy spread made with Biscoff Cookies. Try this delicious European alternative to peanut butter or chocolate spread. Vote for the best photo in Biscoff’s “Spread the Love” contest and you could win a year’s supply of Biscoff products!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Biscoff. The opinions and text are all mine.