Category Archives: Food

Recipe for Success

Happy Thursday, Scribe peeps, it’s Susannah.

When is a fiction book not just a fiction book?  How about when it contains recipes, or knitting patterns, or the directions for some other craft project mentioned somewhere within the story?

There are lots of  fiction books out there that do this.  It’s very prevalent in cozy mysteries, many of which feature a sleuth who has some special skill or occupation that assists her in solving the crime.  There are mysteries based on/in catering, knitting, embroidery, gardening, a coffee house, a cookie store, an apple orchard, and even a cheese shop.

And it isn’t just mysteries.  Debbie Macomber, who is an avid knitter, sometimes includes patterns at the end of her romances.

Bonus material like this can be a lot of fun, and might help an author sell more books.  But these things must be done . . . delicately . . . as the Wicked Witch might say.   I’m reading a mystery right now where there are numerous references to a particular dish.  It’s clearly a clue, but that recipe is inexplicably not included with other recipes at the end of the book.  (I admit it.  I peeked.)   There’s another series where it seems the author really wants to write a cookbook — the references are that obvious and the stories are that flimsy.

Lots of authors do manage to make the process seamless.  Personally, I’m waiting for some bonus material to appear in a police procedural (“How to Tap a Phone Line”), or paranormal (“Summoning Entities for Fun and Profit”) or steamy romance (Instructions for  . . . use your imagination!).

What about you?  Do you love or hate the extras?  Do you ever actually make the food or craft?  Here’s a little takeaway for you — the recipe for Tomato Cocktail, via my mother-in-law’s recipe box:

King Family Tomato Cocktail – makes about 1 quart

1 heaping quart of ripe, juicy tomatoes, roughly chopped (support your local farmstand, please!)

2 stalks of celery, roughly chopped

1 small onion (or half a large onion), roughly chopped

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3 whole cloves

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Place everything into a pot and simmer 40 minutes. Let cool, then run it through a food mill to extract the skins, seeds and cloves. If you don’t have a food mill (mine is straight out of the 1950s, inherited from my mom-in-law), you can strain the whole mixture into a bowl through a colander, pushing the juice through with the back of a spoon, or just fish out the cloves and run everything through a blender or food processor (you’ll get more texture this way). Chill, stir, and enjoy. You might enjoy it more if you add some vodka, Worcestershire, and hot sauce! I like to make a double or triple batch in the summer and freeze in zippie bags for the winter. This also makes a delicious hot tomato soup to go with your grilled cheese.

Word of Mouth – Power to the People

Happy Friday! Casey Wyatt here.

Today’s topic is good, old-fashioned word of mouth. Like any avid reader, when I find a book I really like, I want to tell all my friends about it. I believe that word of mouth is still a powerful force in the book reading world.

Many of my favorite books were suggested to me by someone else. A few examples: The Lord of the Rings given to me by my cousin when I was fourteen. I loved them! I still own that original boxed set. Another is Garden Spells by Sara Addison Allen, a magical romance about love and family. And a children’s book about a boy wizard, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, ’nuff said there.

In the spirit of passing on a good read, I’d like to share one with you. Recently, I had the pleasure of reading a fantastic contemporary romance – Beauty and the Feast by Julia Barrett. This book has it all, great food, sizzling sex scenes and engaging characters.

Sparks fly when Eva Raines, a country girl with killer cooking skills, is hired by wealthy entrepreneur and philanthropist, Gabriel Abbott. He is quickly seduced by her amazing culinary creations. Eva, eqaully smitten, is a bit overwhelmed by the handsome man’s interest in her.

Once I started reading this book, I couldn’t put it down. The sex is hot and had me squirming in my seat (so adults only, please). If you’re looking for a romance with spicy scenes, witty dialogue, and a heartwarming plot, this is the book for you. Check it out!

What good books have you read lately? And what initially drew you to pick up that book in the first place (word of mouth, the cover, the blurb)?