Why I Love YA Lit & Recipe: Last Chance Onion Rings

Guys. Guys! GUYS! I have been soooooo excited to debut this post.

One of the big recurring features I wanted to do on this blog was recreating the food that I love, but not just from cookbooks or other chefs. I wanted to recreate food from pop culture. I wanted to bring to life the food that we see or read about in books, on TV, or in movies. Perhaps it’s a better idea in my head….BUT. I’m doing it!

So that brings us to onion rings and being 13.

I love reading, and when I was younger, I would devour books. I could spend hours at Borders (RIP), reading through book after book. I knew my library card number by heart (pretty sure I can still recite it) and was the resident expert on all things Harry Potter. When I started delving into YA lit in my teens, I was given a Sarah Dessen novel by my friend AJ. The Truth About Forever, it was called. I don’t know when it happened, but not long after reading that book, I snatched up every single one of her books, pored over them, and never looked back. I fell so deep into stories of growth, of love, of friendship and of discovery. The characters were so real to me, the stories were journeys that I could actually get lost in.

I’m now 23, and I still think about my life and those stories: riding in the Bertmobile with Kristy, listening to The Truth Squad at Bendo, discussing techno music with Owen, riding bikes with Eli, eating pie at The Wash Room, doing the 9 o’clock dance at Clementine’s, getting “snack-bang” at the Gas/Gro, working on the town model with Dave and Deb, playing with Roscoe, plating crab cakes with Wish (“two and move!”), and of course, eating at Last Chance, the restaurant with “the best o-rings on the beach!”

As ideas for The Bites & Pieces began to develop, I thought about the food that I loved from movies, TV, and books, and quickly thought about Last Chance. What would those onion rings taste like?

Well, I think they would taste something like this.



“Last Chance” Onion Rings
(recipe adapted from Grandbaby Cakes)
  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons seasoned salt
  • 2 tablespoons yellow corn meal
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 onions, sliced into ⅓-1/2 inch rings
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • vegetable oil for frying
  1. Add flour, seasoned salt, corn meal, black pepper, paprika, and cayenne pepper to a paper bag and shake to mix well.
  2. Dip each onion ring into seasoned flour then dip into buttermilk then back into seasoned flour coating all sides. Set each battered onion ring on a parchment covered baking sheet to rest until all onion rings are battered.
  3. While coating sets, add 3-3½ inches of oil to a cast iron or heavy bottom pot and heat over medium high heat.
  4. Fry onion rings 4 at a time. Fry on each side until golden brown then remove and place on paper towels to drain.
  5. Enjoy while listening to “The Potato Opus.” 😉


(I’m also wishing and hoping and praying that others of her books will be made into movies—two already were —see “How to Deal. Let’s start a Kickstarter! Anyone with me?? I’ve already wished up my perfect Just Listen and The Truth About Forever casts, so Hollywood, I can be hired – call me).

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