Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "Lift And Separate" by Marilyn Simon Rothstein, Served with a Recipe for (Cape Cod) Potato Chip-Crusted Cod (+ a Giveaway!)

Happy Wednesday! On today's TLC Book Tour stop I'm reviewing Lift And Separate, a funny and moving novel about a woman on her own by Marilyn Simon. Accompanying my review is a recipe for Potato Chip-Crusted Cod, made with Cape Cod Potato Chips and served with a Cape Cod mock-tail, inspired by my reading. And, at the end of the post, there's a giveaway for a chance to win a copy of the book!

Publisher's Blurb: 

Marcy Hammer’s life has been turned upside down. Her husband, the head of a global brassiere empire, didn’t think twice about leaving her after thirty-three years of marriage for a 32DD lingerie model. Now Harvey the Home-Wrecker is missing in action, but Marcy’s through thinking about what a cliché he is. What she needs now is a party-size bag of potato chips, a good support system, and a new dress.
Striking out on her own is difficult at first, but Marcy manages to find traces of humor in her heartbreak. Even while devastated by Harvey’s departure, she still has her indomitable spirit and her self-respect. She has no intention of falling apart, either, even when her adult children drop a few bombshells of their own and she discovers a secret about her new, once-in-a-lifetime friend. Life may be full of setbacks, but by lifting herself up by her own lacy straps, Marcy just may be able to handle them all.

Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (December 1, 2016)

My Review:

A witty and wise look at a woman who gets the rug pulled out from under her--more than once, but finds the strength, courage, and humor to get her life together. Lift And Separate is the story of Marcy Hammer, an early 50's wife and mother, married to the cheating head of a lingerie company and facing life on her own with her children having left the nest and her marriage seemingly over. Lift And Separate wasn't quite what I was expecting but it was an enjoyable read. Although the book blurbs on the back cover call it funny and moving, I was anticipating more laughs than touching moments but instead of just being a comedy, those heartfelt moments make it a richer and smarter book. The humor is certainly still there of course, with a good amount of snark to Marcy and some of the supporting characters that I really liked. Although at times feeling beaten down by her husband's betrayal and life events, Marcy manages to keep her wit and rise above it all and that made me root for her. Even though we are of the same generation, Marcy and I don't share a lot in common life-wise, but that didn't matter--I was firmly on her side. Her friends, Dana and Candy and her three grown children were likable characters too and I liked the interplay each had with Marcy. I found myself caught up in the story and its resolution and sad to see it end. This is the author's first book but hopefully it won't be her last!

Author Notes: For more than twenty-five years, Marilyn Simon Rothstein owned an advertising agency in Connecticut. She grew up in New York City, earned a degree in journalism from New York University, began her writing career at Seventeen magazine, and married a man she met in an elevator.  Lift And Separate is her debut novel.

Connect with Marilyn via Facebook.

Food Inspiration:

There was food to be found in Lift And Separate like spinach shakes and egg-white omelets, lots of junk food including a Sara Lee pound cake and a party-size bag of Cape Cod potato chips, a family-sized bag of sour cream and onion chips, Nestle’s Crunch bar, Hostess Cupcakes, and Godiva chocolate. There was ice cream--a chocolate ice cream soda, a Fribble milk shake and a Cone Head Sundae (an upside down cone on a scoop of ice cream made to look like a clown), a small vanilla scoop with a drop of butterscotch syrup, and a Jim Dandy (a kitchen sink sundae with three kinds of ice cream and three kinds of toppings) and a favorite banana cake with chocolate icing and sprinkles, cranberry juice with vodka in it, fat pumpkin muffins stuffed with cream cheese, salami slices and sandwiches--chunky chicken salad, tuna salad, and a turkey club, a dinner of steak charred with a pink center with hot sauce on-the-side, coleslaw, and rice and a Chinese food buffet with American food worked in, brisket and noodle pudding warm with apples, egg scrambled with sweet red onions and a toasted bialy, lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs and meatball pizza, casserole, Caprese salad, cannoli, corn chowder, Chilean sea bass, Moroccan lamb stew, a chocolate and cherry marzipan cake and haddock chowder. Drinks included cranberry juice with vodka and in a can, coffee, Starbucks coffee, ginger ale, Diet Coke, and chamomile tea,

So plenty of food to choose from, but I decided to go with fish--specifically cod for my book-inspired dish. There is a scene in the seafood department of the grocery store where Marcy is contemplating buying fish in her local grocery store and a woman in front of her is buying swordfish. "She was wearing red pants adorned with minuscule pink whales, a canvas belt with dolphins, and a pink polo shirt with a goldfish logo. Personally, I thought, when I'm dressing, I never mix fish."  

All that fish got Marcy thinking back about the memories of cod--an inside joke with her husband.

"Thinking of cod made my eyes well up. I put on the sunglasses and the tears ran down my face. About a year after my wedding, Harvey and I went fishing and brought home an ocean of cod. Each evening for weeks, we had cod for dinner, and before I prepared it he would say, “What’s for dinner?” and I would respond, “We haven’t had cod yet today.” It was an endless inside joke, and the joke always made us feel closer."

I also wanted to give a nod to Marcy's junk food diet and all of the Cape Cod potato chips she ate, so I decided to make a Potato Chip-Crusted Cod. Plus, with the book's New England setting, the whole cod and Cape Cod thing was fun--so I also added a Cape Cod-ish mocktail to the mix.

It would have been healthier to bake the fillets, but sometimes you just want fried fish. I accompanied my fish with tarter sauce, lemon, micro greens and a few extra chips.  

(Cape Cod) Potato Chip-Crusted Cod
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serves 2)

flour for dredging (about 1/3 cup or more if needed)
salt, pepper, and Old Bay Seasoning to taste
2 eggs, well beaten
1 bag Cape Cod Potato Chips (I used Original)
1 1/2 lbs wild cod fillets, not too thick, cut into 5-6 oz pieces
vegetable of sunflower oil for frying (enough to fill pan & begin to cover sides of fish)
lemon wedges, tarter sauce to serve

Prepare Dredging/Coating: Place the flour into a shallow plate or container. Season flour with salt (not too much because your chips are salted), pepper and Old Bay Seasoning if desired. In a second container, beat the eggs until well mixed. Place 3-4 large handfuls of chips into a plastic bag and crush them well with your hands--you want small pieces of the chips still visible but small enough to stick well. Pour crushed chips into a third plate or container.

Prepare Pan: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Use enough oil to cover the skillet and come up about half-way up the sides of your cod fillets.  

Coat Fish: Pat fish dry with a paper towel and one at a time, dredge each fillet in the seasoned flour, covering it completely and shaking off any excess. Next dip the flour-coated fillet into the egg mixture to coat, gently shaking off any excess, then place the fillet into the crushed potato chips, gently but firmly pressing the crushed chips into the fish on all sides. Set fillet aside on a plate and repeat with remaining fish. 

Cook Fish: Check oil temp by dropping a chip crumb into it and if it sizzles lightly and bubbles gently it is ready. If it appears to be too hot--chip turning color rapidly and hissing/popping, turn down the temp and allow to cool before frying fish. 

Carefully place your fillets in the oil and cook for about 2 minutes--carefully watching to make sure it is not browning too quickly. Check them and if bottom is golden brown, gently turn each fillet over and cook another 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until golden brown. You may have to adjust the time depending on the thickness of your fillets. If too thick, you may want to reduce the oil temp and cook for longer to ensure fish is cooked through.

Serve: When fillets are done, gently lift them out with a long, slotted fish turner or spatula and place on a plate covered with paper towels. Serve hot with lemon wedges and tarter sauce if desired. Enjoy!

Notes/Results: This worked out perfectly. I loved the crisp, light coating of the crushed chips. It gave both texture and flavor to the cod. I actually think the kettle chip style worked better than rippled or ridged chips would have since they are so light. Overall, the coating stayed on the fish pretty well--you just have to make sure to press it on gently but firmly and handle it gently once it is coated. I made a simple pantry tarter sauce--veggie mayo, capers, garlic, dried dill and black pepper which was good both with the fish and the extra chips. ;-) I was going to make a Cape Cod cocktail (vodka and cranberry juice) but I'm still on two kinds of asthma meds that say to stay away from alcohol so I just combined my cranberry juice with Ginger Ale for a mocktail version. Not a healthy dinner but you can't beat the occasional fish fry, so worth the indulgence. I would happily make this again.

I'm linking this post up to the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post

Note: A review copy of "Lift And Separate" was provided to me by the publisher and TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.

***Book Giveaway***

The publisher is generously providing a copy of Lift And Separate to giveaway (U.S. and Canada addresses, please) here at Kahakai Kitchen.

To enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway below, leave a comment please (Because I like to read them!) ;-) telling me about your favorite junk/snack food or why you would like to win a copy of the book

There are a couple of other optional ways to get more entries to win: 1) Tweet about this giveaway or 2) follow me on Twitter (@DebinHawaii)
(Note: You can still get extra entries even if you already follow me on Twitter.)

Deadline for entry is Monday, February 6th. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good Luck!


  1. I'm a sucker for some good fish and chips. That looks great, I could devour some now.

  2. This sounds so good! Cod is one of the few fish I like, and who doesn't like potato chips? You're cod looks amazing! I agree, there was a lot of food mentioned in the book.

  3. My favorite snack food is chocolate. I'd love to win this book because I love reading stories about women, and Marcy overcomes some really hard times, and that is inspiring even if it is fiction.

  4. chocolate is my favorite junk food. a day wouldn't be complete without some :)

    fruitcrmble AT Comcast DOT net

  5. I love the cover and title of this book, and it sounds like what is inside is just as fun!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  6. Very indulgent recipe! Cape Cod potato chips are really good!

    best... mae at

  7. Love the title Lift and Separate (cute cover too). Sounds like an interesting read and your cod looks delicious! I love Cape Cod chips. I'm a chocoholic, but don't consider chocolate "junk food" -- it's health food! :)

  8. Chips, my favorite junk food, because chocolate doesn't count - it's good for you! I rarely deep fry anything, but would make an exception for this potato chips crusted cod, it sounds great, as does the book.

  9. I laughed out loud at this: "Personally, I thought, when I'm dressing, I never mix fish." Too funny.

    The fish looks awesome -- good job!

    Popcorn .. l always my go-to. :)

  10. Potato chip crusted cod? Yes, please! I pinned this one.


Mahalo for visiting and for leaving a comment. I love reading them and they mean a lot!

All advertising, spam, inappropriate (or just plain rude) comments will be promptly deleted. I do appreciate your right to free speech and to your opinion but I'm not into mean, rude, or mean snarky (non-mean snarky is just fine!) ;-)