Category Archives: CYWTTSAT Review

Book Review: “Words That Make A Difference”

Photo of book, "Words That Make A Difference" for blog on book review on, a blog by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of "Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T."

Reading and studying "Words That Make A Difference" is a great way to learn more vocab!

On my hunt to find another creative vocabulary book, I came across Words That Make a Difference: and how to use them in a masterly way, written by Robert Greenman. Words That Make A Difference offers  yet another way to ATTAIN a great vocabulary through context. The book features hundreds of words that were used in passages from the RENOWNED newspaper, The New York Times. The book also includes a vocab list at the beginning and offers an easy tool at the end to clear up common linguistic mistakes, such as understanding the difference between “affect” and “effect.” There are about 400 pages of vocab words used in context, a sentence definition of that word and also how to sound it out. This book will keep you busy! Words That Make A Difference is a self-guide to learning words by reading passages that were written by vocabulary experts. It’s interesting and it makes learning fun.


SURREPTITIOUS   suh ruhp TI shus: acting in a secret, stealthy way

“‘The video pirates would take portable video cameras into movie theaters and surreptitiously tape the feature films being shown,’ Ms. Pirro said. She said they would then return to their base of operations and, using hundreds of conventional videocassette recorders, mass-produce copies of the movie.”

Words That Make A Difference was published in 2000, so it can be considered a “classic.” For words that make a difference today, Erin McKean writes a column for the New York Times NEMESIS called, Week In Words, a field guide to unusual words in this week’s Wall Street Journal. Erin highlights vocab that is not likely to appear on standardized tests but is fun NEVERTHELESS. 

Photo of mirliton or chayote squash for post by charis freiman-mendel, author of "cook your way Through The S.A.T.", on book review of "words that make a difference"
Mirliton (AKA chayote squash)

Erin wrote this in the February 11, 2012 column:

the mirliton squash (also known as a chayote) can be swapped for bitter melon varietals.

The word mirliton comes from a French word for a kazoo-type flute, although the squash itself is often called a “christophene” in France. It is also pronounced as “mella-ton.”

April 25th is National Zucchini Bread Day… consider baking a mirliton bread to celebrate! Scarlott Paolicchi recently featured my Zucchini Brownies recipe and fun fact vocabulary from Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T. on her blog, Brownies aren’t exactly bread…but close enough?

  •  ATTAIN = achieve, acquire
  • RENOWNED = famous
  • SURREPTITIOUS = acting in a secret way
  • NEMESIS = rival
  • NEVERTHELESS = still

School Library Journal Review Of CYWTTSAT

Text of review of "Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T." published in the School Library Journal February, 2012 nonfiction for grades 5 and up

Thanks to School Library Journal for reviewing “Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.” in the February, 2012 “non-fiction for grades 5 and up” section. The review has some S.A.T. vocab both in the criticism and in the praise.

  • Criticism: The paragraphs aren’t ELOQUENT (ouch!)
  • Praise: but their BREVITY lends itself to memorization and review.
  • Praise: Her mother . . . stays DISCREETLY in the background.**


** my Mom especially thanks SLJ for their description of her.

  • ELOQUENT = fluent, persuasive
  • BREVITY = conciseness
  • DISCREETLY = unobtrusive Chicken And Dumpling Soup

Carrie Kaufman reviewed “Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.” for She and her nine year old tested my recipe for “chicken and dumpling soup.” I was nine when I cooked my first serious meal, so maybe I can be an INSPIRATION. Here’s the recipe, which they cut in half for the test:

 photo of recipe for chicken and dumpling soup from "Cook your way through the S.a.T." for charis post on

This is the “fun fact blurb” that goes with the recipe. Try to figure out the definitions in context before you take the match test:

photo of "fun fact blurb" for chicken and dumpling soup from "Cook your way through the S.a.T." for charis post on

Here’s the match test (the answers are at the end of the book and on a list on the website):

photo of match test for chicken and dumpling soup from "Cook your way through the S.a.T." for charis post on

It’s been fun to see which recipe each reviewer chooses…they have all been different. Faith Durand of featured the “pesto pizza” and Cheramie Sonnier of the Baton Rouge Advocate chose my “meal in a pita pocket.”

Thanks to Carrie Kaufman for sharing my book.

INSPIRATION – (noun): germ, source, seed for later work


You can enjoy more recipes, stories and vocabulary by ordering “Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.” (CYWTTSAT)

Baton Rouge Advocate Review

Charis of "Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T." map of Baton Rouge, Louisiana for post on review of book in the Baton Rouge Advocate newspaper

Cheramie Sonnier, a food editor for the Baton Rouge Advocate, just reviewed “Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.” Her team actually tested some of my recipes, which was really cool. She published my “Meal In  A Pita Pocket” and mentioned that my “Orange Tea Infused Hot Chocolate” was too chocolatey.

Recipe for "meal in a pita pocket" from "Cook your way through the S.a.T."

Cheramie’s review made me look back at my old photos and remind me of the great time I had the last time I visited Louisiana. My family traveled through Baton Rouge last March and we ate at a truck stop. Our trip was about having my brother Ross look at colleges in the south. I just focused on the food.

photo of lining up at Domilise restaurant waiting to eat po-boy sandwich in New Orleans, part of post about Baton Rouge Advocate review of "Cook Your Way Through THe S.A.T"

The sandwich was worth waiting for.

On the way to Tulane, we lined up at Domilise, a famous po-boy restaurant in New Orleans to experience an authentic taste of Louisiana. Po-boys consist of either fried chicken, fish, octopus, or other meats and seafoods that are served on a baguette with lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise, and sometimes pickles. They are a guilty pleasure and should not be eaten that often, but, if you are in the mood for one of these delicious sandwiches, Domilise is the place to go. My Mom and I split a fried oyster po-boy and it was awesome.

Thanks to Cheramie and the Baton Rouge Advocate for checking out my book and giving me some great memories.


For more recipes and vocabulary, order “Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.”

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Fun fact blurb from Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

“Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.” was recently featured on which is a beautiful website/blog about cooking.

Faith Durand, the blogger, chose my blurb about pine nut syndrome, which goes with my recipe for pesto pizza.

Thanks, Faith!


Enjoy more fun fact blurbs, vocabulary and recipes: order “Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.”

The Chronicle Of Higher Education

Lacey Johnson's story for the Chronicle of Higher Education

Yesterday I had an interview with Lacey Johnson, a reporter for the Chronicle Of Higher Education. She is an awesome writer and you can see her story if you follow this link:

Her story will also appear in the print version of the Chronicle. I’ll keep you posted.

Tomorrow, I have an interview scheduled with Russell Blair, a reporter for the Record-journal, a newspaper in Wallingford, Connecticut.

We have had a bunch of requests for review copies of the book… exciting!

I have been Choate for a week now… I have been busy figuring out how everything works. I had a cello audition tonight that had to be rescheduled. Tomorrow is my first day of squash… hoping to make varsity. I really like my teachers and already have so much work. So far, no time for cooking…UGH!


We hit Amazon! page for "Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T."

My Mom has been checking Amazon about every 15 minutes since our book was published last week. It finally hit tonight, just about a week after publication, and just exactly when the publisher promised it would. Now it feels official!

I have been busy with my first week of high school so I haven’t had much time to focus on it, but tonight I had an interview with a reporter from the Chronicle Of Higher Education ( I can’t wait to see what she has to say about the book.


Here’s the link to order my book