Sunday, January 15, 2012

Why Food and Books Are The Perfect Pairing

By Lucy Arlington (pen name for the writing team of Ellery Adams and Sylvia May)

I love a book loaded with food descriptions, don’t you? I guess it’s because food makes a fictional world feel more realistic. The sight, taste, and smell of food define my daily existence, so why shouldn’t my characters enjoy the same experience?

In Buried in A Book, the first in my cozy mystery series featuring literary agent Lila Wilkins, I get to write about food quite often. This is because I deliberately placed the literary agency (A Novel Idea) above a coffee shop, down the street from a bakery, and a stone’s throw from both a café and a locally owned organic grocery store. It’s nearly impossible to go anywhere in the quaint, artsy town of Inspiration Valley, North Carolina, without encountering a tempting treat.

One such locale is the home of Lila’s mother, the town psychic. Amazing Althea has been reading palms and tarot cards since Lila was young, but Lila is unconvinced that her mother is the real deal. What she does believe is that Amazing Althea’s banana bread is so good that her clients keep coming back for a slice along with a cup of Althea’s super strong coffee.

So if you love small-town settings, books, food, art, quirky characters, and a mystery involving aspiring authors, then check out Buried in A Book, which is due out in February. For more info, check out and to see the book trailer, click here.

Amazing Althea’s Dark Chocolate Banana Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

4 ½ ounces butter (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon), soft enough for mixing

1 cup superfine sugar

4 ripe bananas, good and smashed (Althea likes to use her fists!)

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Sift flour and baking powder into large bowl. Mix butter, sugar, bananas, eggs, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. Add chocolate chips. Add to the flour mixture and stir to combine. Do not over mix. Althea likes to fold the dough carefully until just mixed. This makes the bread light and airy. Pour batter into a lightly greased and floured 8 x 4 inch loaf pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in pan before turning out onto a wire rack.

What about the book you're reading now? Does it talk about food?


  1. Lucy, lovely to see another new series from you (Ellery & more). I'm sure it will be just as fabulous as all the others! I have to say that I adore your banana bread recipe. I make mine almost the same (except mine is gluten-free! LOL). But love dark chocolate with the bananas, too.


  2. Oh, this sounds and looks yummy. It's perfect. I have 4 bananas I was going to throw out today because they are too ripe for sandwiches. Can't wait to give this a try. I have your book in my TBR stack and am looking forward to reading it.

    As for the book I'm reading - I'm listening to Karen Robards' SLEEPWALKER. Where I am in the story makes me want to drink lots of hot coffee. :)

    Thoughts in Progress

  3. Perfect timing! Just like Mason, I have a bunch of bananas that are just on the edge AND an open bag of dark chocolate chips in the cupboard. Num!

  4. I'm reading Plan Bee by Hannah Reed and the book is filled with the taste of honey which I just swirled on my wheat toast.

    I can't wait to read your new book.

  5. Chocolate banana bread? Ohhhhhh! It doesn't get better than that. I love the cover of Buried in a Book, too! Sounds like a fun series.

    ~ Krista

  6. Can't wait for the new series! I can tell it is going to make me hungry. Thank you for the great recipe.

  7. I hope you enjoy the bread and the book! Thanks for getting to know Lila a wee bit.