Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Book Club: Need a Laugh? A Cry? Both? This Month’s Pick Will Do That & More – I’ll Show Myself Out by Jessi Klein

This month’s book – I’ll Show Myself Out: Essays on Midlife & Motherhood by Jessi Klein

Capsule x HelloFresh

Welcome to Capsule’s book club! We’re SO excited to bring you a new book each month to devour and savour. Whether you indulge in a few hours of luxurious alone time each Sunday with a glass of something and a delicious meal, or finish your day with a chapter or two, we invite you to relax and enjoy, and if you’re so inclined, connect with fellow Capsule readers and your own family and friends to have a yarn about the book you’ve just read. And we’ll be matching each book with a special offering from our friends at HelloFresh (they’re the ones who’ll have dinner sorted, so you can spend more time engrossed in your book).    

This month it’s all about the quick and easy because GOSH there’s too much else to worry about in life right now! We’re diving into a hilarious yet heartfelt collection of essays that’ll have you laughing and probably crying – I’ll Show Myself Out by Jessi Klein –  that you won’t want to put down! 

HelloFresh is a meal kit delivery service designed to bring delicious, easy and healthy ingredients and recipes to your doorstep and this month’s featured recipe is the super yum and super easy Quick Chicken Strips & Carrot Couscous Salad. It’s ready in just 25 minutes and you’ll find the recipe below!

And if you need any more reading recommendations, click here for our previous book club instalments!

I’ll Show Myself Out: Essays on Midlife & Motherhood by Jessi Klein*

At first, you wouldn’t necessarily think that a book of short essays would be in-depth enough to cover the all-encompassing world of motherhood but perhaps it’s exactly right: the short, sharp moments of ‘how is this my life?’ that make up so much of being a mother. (Plus, the very format of the book means it’s super easy to dip in and out of, which is perfect for people who don’t have much time, e.g. all mothers).

Jessi Klein is an award-winning comedy writer from shows like Transparent, Inside Amy Schumer, Big Mouth and Dead To Me, and her first book of essays, You’ll Grow Out Of It, is legitimately my favourite book of all time, where she wrote with her trademark dark humour about the typical journey of a women’s 30s: The Bachelor, buying a wedding gown, battling infertility, trying to sleep with a mascot at Disney World… classic coming-of-mid-age tales. And that dark humour is funnier and darker than ever in this set of essays about becoming a mother at 40 and suddenly having your entire look completely different from before.

I'll Show Myself Out: Essays on Midlife and Motherhood by Jessi Klein
I’ll Show Myself Out by Jessi Klein

Chapter titles including ‘On The Starbucks Bathroom Floor’, ‘Underwear Sandwich’, ‘The Car Seat’ and ‘Demon Halloween’ talk with great effect about the ‘insane and banal’ mix of motherhood and the list of endless life admin that can stretch out in modern life.

As a non-mother, the idea of reading a book where about 90% of the content is motherhood-focused would be – with any other writer – generally my idea of hell (kind of like reading about a country you’re not sure you want to visit, that nobody tells you good things about). But in Jessi’s hands, it’s masterfully funny and speaks to the absurdity of being an adult woman who still is waiting for a grown-up to help out before realising – with horror – that you ARE the grown up.

If you are someone who has struggled with reading full books in the pandemic slash global conflict, essay memoirs are a great way to get that reading muscle working again without having to remember who’s who and what’s happened so far. And in a two-year period where everybody’s mental health has been tested, there’s something deeply satisfying about reading a woman’s very honest account of the many, many times she’s been close to losing her s**t on a daily basis. Becoming obsessed with one Beyoncé song as a way of coping with your exhausting life? Relatable. Assuming that life would be easier if you had a wife? Relatable. (The essay ‘My Future Lesbian Wife’ is a conversation that has happened around many a dinner table in my world). Getting a break from the daily grind of admin and then having no idea what to do with yourself? Relatable.

The best reading offers you a break from your own world and in this busy day and age, it’s about finding an escape that you actually have time for. The essays in I’ll Show Myself Out are short but as heartfelt as they are hilarious and they’ll make you feel less alone as an adult woman who still feels pretty unprepared for all the things that make up being an adult woman. And seeing as HelloFresh is a little bit like having a wife – someone else to meal plan and grocery shop for you – this book is the perfect match!

Recipe:  Quick Chicken Strips & Carrot Couscous Salad

This meal features classic Kiwi-style spices in an easy marinade for tender chicken breast, while carrot and spinach bring colour and flavour to couscous. 

Chicken Strips & Carrot Couscous Salad with Dill-Parsley Yoghurt 

For 2 people 

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 Carrot 
  • 20g Butter 
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Water (3/4 cups)
  • 5g Chicken Style Stock
  • 95g Couscous 
  • 10g Chicken salt 
  • 10g All-Purpose Seasoning
  • 100g Greek Style Yoghurt 
  • 50g Mayonnaise 
  • 1 tsp fresh dill
  • 1tsp fresh parsley
  • 1 Cucumber 
  • 1 bag of spinach
  • 320g Chicken Breast  

Method:

• Grate carrot (see ingredients). Finely chop garlic. • In a medium saucepan, melt butter with a drizzle of olive oil over a medium-high heat. Cook carrot until softened, 2-3 minutes. • Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. • Add water and chicken-style stock powder, then bring to the boil. • Add couscous, stir to combine, then cover with a lid and remove from heat. Set aside until the water has absorbed, 5 minutes.

• While couscous is cooking, cut chicken breast into 1cm strips. • In a large bowl, combine chicken salt and all purpose seasoning and a drizzle of water. Add chicken and toss to coat. • In a large frying pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil over a high heat. Cook chicken strips in batches, tossing occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 3-4 minutes. Set aside.

• While chicken is cooking, remove lid from couscous and allow to cool a little. • In a small bowl, combine Greek-style yoghurt and mayonnaise with dill and parsley. Season to taste and set aside. • Roughly chop baby spinach leaves and cucumber. • In a large bowl, combine couscous, baby spinach and cucumber. Season to taste.

• Divide carrot couscous salad between plates and top with chicken strips. • Drizzle with dill-parsley yoghurt to serve.

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