Monday, March 1, 2021

Weekly Eats: Read the Book or See the Movie?


A weekly round up: eats, watches, and reads.  In this week's edition my husband and I pulled off getting dinner on the table every night and treated ourselves to steak to celebrate.  On the TV and reading front I've had a lot of recent crossovers so for fun I put together a "read the book or see the movie" list for ten titles that came to mind.


No pictures, but lots of Clif bars before workouts followed by cheesy English muffins with fruit afterward for 2nd breakfast.


Thai curry was once again the star of the show.  I air fried a block of tofu and simmered up more coconut milk with thai curry paste.  The other items in play are rice, roasted sweet potatoes, and coleslaw mix.


Monday: leftover chimichangas.

Tuesday: our Costco has been out of orange chicken forever and they finally got some in.  Hubs gets props for the cooking.

Wednesday: Hubs gets props for overseeing leftover cleanout night.  Hubs had the last chimichanga and the steps finished the orange chicken.  I made another batch of quickie thai curry.

Thursday: ravioli!

Friday: mandatory pizza night.

Saturday: hubs was very set on steak and even more wonderfully he was also very set on going to the grocery store to get it.  I did my part by prepping the portobello caps and zucchini and making the mashed potatoes while he went to town on the grill.

Sunday: I had the worst case of meal planning fatigue and so I "phoned a friend" a.k.a. I asked the hubs to come up with a plan.  His first pick was lasagna, and once he said the word I got back into the spirit of the thing.  It's all too easy and probably healthier to just cook up some frozen broccoli but I decided to be fancy and get salad.  Stepson #2 has not been a salad eater in the past but I was feeling adventurous so I gave him a small bowl and upped the odds of success with croutons.  My scheme worked because he acted like he eats salad everyday.


On the treadmill I finished season 9 of Call the Midwife and with the hubs we kicked back a few more episodes of High Maintenance.


First off, I finished The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, which is book one behind the His Dark Materials TV show that hubs and I saw last month.  As soon as that was done I picked up Mildred Pierce.  I re-watched the movie a few weeks ago which made me want to re-read the book.  With all of these book & movie combos I thought it was time to do a book vs movie analysis.  Here are a few that come to mind:

Call the Midwife

Verdict: TV show!  The show is inspired by Jennifer Worth's three memoirs but doesn't tie itself down to them.  It uses the premise and a few of the stories and then does its own thing.  The show deals with dark topics but each episodes resolves into "life is wonderful and everything's gonna be alright".  Worth pulls no punches in recounting the misery of human life and hopelessness that she witnessed as a midwife, and at time I felt miserable and hopeless while reading.

To give you an example of the differences between the book and show, Dr. Turner gets exactly one sentence in the book and is never mentioned again.  One of the major story lines on the TV show is about a nun who leaves the order to get married.  The real story was a total buzzkill.  Yes she left the the 1980s because she had a problem with the ordination of women in the Church of England so she converted to Catholicism.  I'll take the TV show's fictional version of the story for both of these characters.

His Dark Materials

Verdict: TV show!  The show and the book are very similar, but I don't feel that I would have been able to "get into" the book without the visual of the TV show.  I just wanted "a little more" so I was more than happy to read the retelling of the story, but honestly the books aren't giving me anything that I didn't get from the show. Up for debate: it's going to be a while until the 3rd season comes out, so should I wait for it or should I go ahead and read the 3rd book????

Mildred Pierce

Verdict: book!  Just in case you're not familiar, it's about a depression era housewife who kicks her deadbeat husband out and bootstraps her way from nothing to success only to be faced with...well that's enough of a preview, go read the book if you want to know what she's faced with.  But the main character is simply awesome and the story telling and the writing are tiiight and oh so satisfying.  The original movie was hampered by the censorship code and they had to leave a ton of stuff out.  I'm a "sometimes" fan of Joan Crawford in that there are a few movies that I love her in and a lot of movies where I feel like she's trying too hard.  I like her in this one but just not as much as the fictional Mildred.  A few years ago there was a mini series with Kate Winslet, but my gripe with this version is that they just "photographed the book" without bringing in anything new...the book is still better.


Verdict: TV show!  I saw the show and then read the first book and started the second one before I realized that the show and the books were identical.  I've quipped before that the book doesn't have Sam Heugan with his shirt off, and I'll add that it also doesn't have Caitrionia Balfe with her shirt off, so that's two more reasons to use the books as door stoppers and watch the show.


Verdict: both...but I give the edge to the books.  I think you should watch the show because it's a good story with great actors, but I feel that the TV show shortchanged Deborah Feldman's real life story.

The Girl on the Train

Verdict: the book is better but I also enjoyed the movie.  Cheers for Emily Blunt and yay for Lisa Kudrow.

Orange is the New Black

Verdict: both!  Yes the book is way better and it was painful to watch the TV show keep coming up with excuses to keep Piper in jail BUT they gave us Crazy Eyes so they are forgiven.  I think I watched the first three seasons of the show before the story line got too ridiculous for me.  Actually forget both the show and the book, the kitten parody is where it's at:

And Then There Were None

Verdict: book!  There have been many movie and TV versions, but all of them mess up the ending so as far as I'm concerned there is still room for another version.  The 2016 TV show is by far the best version with the #2 spot going to the 1945 movie.  The book's ending is nothing short of genius, and I was nothing short of furious when the TV show, which got everything else right, shied away from the book's ending.

Double Indemnity 

Verdict: both!!!!  The book is just as spicy as Mildred Pierce and the movie doesn't have any problem getting the story on to the screen while staying on the right side of the censors.  The book's biggest problem is that it doesn't have Barbara Stanwyck, but the author did the best he could;-)


Verdict: both!!!  The book and the movie are nearly identical EXCEPT for one small detail in what happened to Rebecca that completely changes the narrator's motivation.  The movie was gorgeously shot and the book is gorgeously written.

Give me some of your "Read the Book vs See the Movie" throw downs!


  1. What a great book and movie list! You are so good at this. I only remember a few:

    To Kill a Mockingbird (the 1962 film): both!
    Sense and Sensibility: (1995) both!
    Schindler's List: film! The focus on the dramatic and tragic parts makes it a lot more gripping.
    Breakfast at Tiffany's: book - the film feels to fairylandish compared to the book.
    Oscar Wilde plays: films! After all, these were plays and hence they stick to the hilarious dialogues.
    Thanks for this, Birchie!

    1. I need to revisit To Kill a Mockingbird. I can't remember if I ever read it and I haven't seen the movie since high school.

  2. Dang. I need to spend more time on Netflix (since I don’t get any of it on the ‘mill LOL). I’m going to have to give Midwife a go...I’m almost done with Grace and Frankie. Outlander is too graphic for me...but I’ve only caught glimpses and have not sat through an entire episode, so I realize I’m not being very objective...

    1. You are being 100% objective with Outlander. The first episode is probably the least graphic and if everything else wasn't 100% right I wouldn't be watching. You'll be in good hands with Midwife!

  3. well you sure gave me a bunch of tv shows and movies to take a look at. We are bored! Tofu with red curry sauce is also one of my go to meals

    1. It's so easy & so good. Lol, now all I need is someone to give me TV shows...there is just nothing on.

  4. Your lunches look so yummy! Air fried tofu. Hmmm...gonna have to give that a try!

    I liked Orange is the New Black book but have never watched the TV show. I am going to have to convince hubby to give it a try. I also want to watch Call the Midwife. If I would not have been a teacher, I think I would have been a midwife.

    1. Did you get an air fryer? Then yes tofu is a must! The OITNB book is way, way better than the TV show so you've had the best of it. I feel pretty confident that you'll like Midwife.