Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Book Tour Stops Here: Sad Desk Salad by Jessica Grose & a Much Happier Hawaii-Inspired Desk Salad with Ahi and Creamy Miso Dressing

Usually is a book's description that hooks me. With Sad Desk Salad by Jessica Grose, it was the title. A sad desk salad is the lunchtime standby of the working woman--that meal you consume at your desk--either working or while surfing the net. I have had many a sad desk salad in my working life--whether consumed at an actual work desk or at my kitchen table as I work from home--often getting my own blog post out or seeing what my friends are doing on their blogs. As Alex, the blogger main character in Sad Desk Salad puts it, "We get the most readers around lunchtime, when girls in offices all over the East Coast eat their sad desk salads and force down bites of desiccated chicken breasts while scrolling through our latest posts. We get another traffic bump around four, when our West Coast counterparts eat their greens with low-fat dressing.

Alex Lyons is one of four writers for Chick Habit, a popular website for women, where she is responsible for ten posts a day--mostly salacious celebrity gossip and stories about those not-so "regular" people that you might see on Jerry Springer. She spends her days waiting for news feeds to drop stories interesting enough to write about and post to hit her work quota of one-million page views per month. Although she tries to tell herself she is achieving her dream of being a professional writer, it doesn't really feel that way and her conscience suffers--basically, in her words, it feels like she "gets paid to be a bitch."

Scrambling for blog-worthy fodder when her monthly numbers are down, an email from an anonymous source drops a red-hot story in her lap--one of a famous "tiger-mom"-style author and current senate candidate's quadruplet college-age daughters has been caught doing something she shouldn't. Alex has to decide whether to run the story, hit a career home-run while potentially ruining the girl's life, or stick to the ethics she struggles with. 

Paperback: 304 pages
 William Morrow Paperbacks October 2, 2012

Author Jessica Grose is a writer and editor, previously a senior editor at Slate and an editor at Jezebel. Her work has appeared in the New York TimesGlamourMarie ClaireSpin, and several other publications, and on She lives in Brooklyn with her husband.

Sad Desk Salad is a light chick-lit read, funny--in a snarky way which appeals to me. I relate well to snarky. ;-) It paints an entertaining picture of blogging and how obsessed with celebrity screw-ups the media is with lots of pop culture references. At the end of the day, it's not at all deep and meaningful, but it entertains and is a quick and easy read to enjoy over a few days of consuming your own sad desk salads. 

For my book-inspired dish--although it is always a little sad eating lunch at your desk, your meal itself doesn't have to be sad at all. I livened up that sad desk salad and gave it some Aloha and some Hawaiian-style inspiration because, as a good friend from the rainy Northwest once reminded me as I was "bitching" about a particularly bad day I was having, "It can't be that bad! You live in Hawaii--one of the most beautiful places on earth!" I can't argue that fact. A quick walk outside or peek at the beach, or being stuck in traffic with a water view seems much less harsh than a gloomy day that matches your mood. Elevate that salad and it becomes something to look forward to instead of something to endure.

My "Much Happier Hawaiian-Inspired Desk Salad" features a bed of local mixed baby greens and little sweet tomatoes, local avocado and papaya. It's topped with some seaweed salad, edamame and fresh ahi poke (if you don't know the Hawaiian staple poke look here), and is garnished with green onion and black sesame seeds. There is a little of one of my stand-by salad dressings on the greens, a Creamy Miso Dressing (recipe below).

It is impossible not to be happy when feeding yourself this sun-soaked flavorful (savory, sweet, tangy, briny, with a kick of chile) salad with a favorite pair of chopsticks. (Tip from Deb--most salads should be consumed with chopsticks--makes it more fun!). Even consumed at a desk or work table, this salad is an escape to paradise. ;-)

Creamy Miso Dressing
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes about 1 Cup of dressing)

1/3 cup, light (white) miso

2/3 cup soft tofu 
1 tsp, honey or agave
1/2 tsp, dry yellow mustard 

2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons, rice wine vinegar or brown rice vinegar

black sesame seeds (optional)

In a blender or food processor, blend all ingredients except sesame seeds if using, together until smooth. Stir in sesame seeds. Taste and add additional seasoning as needed. Store in a tightly-closed jar in the refrigerator for--should keep 4-5 days or more.

Note: A review copy of Sad Desk Salad was provided by the publisher and TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always my thoughts and opinions are my own.



  1. that salad looks very colorful and happy :)

  2. I appreciated the snark as well :) I have to say your salad looks a lot better than any salad I've ever eaten at my desk :):)

  3. The book sounds really fun - and the salad looks much better than any of the sad desk salads I've ever had.

  4. Joanne (eats well with others)October 18, 2012 at 12:44 AM

    I'm a big fan of snarky also so I think I'd really like this! Also...your sad desk salad looks pretty happily delicious to me!

  5. Now THAT is one happy salad, and one I'd be happy to be eating RIGHT NOW! I love me some ahi poke! Too bad I'm practically on the other side of the world right now (I'm on the US East Coast) ...

    Thanks for being part of the tour!


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