Old Skull Popper

In “Cruddy” by Lynda Barry, Roberta’s dad, Ray, constantly guzzles Old Skull Popper. What exactly is Old Skull Popper? Lynda Barry thinks she made the name up, influenced by an Old West novel. We loved the name and decided we should come up with our own version. Honestly, this recipe is more tame than anything a navy man like Ray would drink. But, we like to keep our senses and stomachs during our book discussions.


2/3 cup tequila
1 cup grapefruit juice
1/3 cup Rose's lime juice
1/2 cup triple sec
1/4 cup blackberry puree (see recipe below)
Ice cubes
Cherry Pop Rocks — yep, you read that right!
Grapefruit slices, halved

Pop Rocks sprinkled in Old Skull PopperDirections
In a pitcher combine tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice, triple sec, and blackberry puree. Pour mixture over ice. Garnish with grapefruit slices and sprinkle with Pop Rocks.

Blackberry Puree

16 oz frozen blackberries, thawed
1/2 cup sugar

Puree berries and sugar in processor. Strain and discard seeds.  

Pairing Suggestion:

Break out the Old Skull Popper to celebrate a night you’ll never remember with friends you’ll never forget! Cruddy by Lynda Barry, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt are favorite boozy books.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

About the Book

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?


Chopped Salad with Green Goddess(like) Dressing

Green Goddess dressing with chopped salad

A flavorful salad from our member Michele. This healthier version of a green goddess dressing won’t leave your guests feeling guilty if they go back for more!

Green Goddess Dressing

  • ½ jalapeño pepper (I left the ribs and seeds - it was spicy and delicious)
  • ⅔ cup Greek yogurt
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup packed cilantro
  • 2 scallions

Salad Ingredients

  • 4 cups spinach
  • 1-2 cups pea shoots
  • ½ cup feta cheese
  • ½ cup almonds, crushed or chopped
  • 1 avocado, cut into chunks 


  1. Puree all the dressing ingredients together, adding the cilantro last and stopping when the texture feels right to you. I went for little green flecks of cilantro and scallion throughout.
  2. Toss the salad ingredients together with dressing; serve immediately.

Notes: If you don’t have agave nectar on hand, just replace with honey. Diced chicken is a nice addition if you want to make it more like a meal. For my family with nut allergies, we replaced the almonds with Calbee Snapea Crisps.

Pairing Suggestion:

Green Goddess dressing was originally created in the 1920s. But we remember the dressing as a popular 1970s table staple when Seven Seas bottled their version of this classic. Perfect choice when you need to be a little groovy for a book based in the 70s. Our favorites include Cruddy by Lynda Barry, Just Kids by Patti Smith, and Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan.