Sunday, February 7, 2021

Around the Kitchen Table: What's Cooking in Our Books + #Giveaway

LUCY BURDETTE: About four years ago we had a discussion of what our characters eat. But over those past four years, we’ve had a lot of characters come and go, and a lot of new food and recipes, and even new members! So it seemed time to revisit the question: what’s your character cooking these days?

Last year, food critic Hayley Snow was all about Key lime pie. She tasted many, many versions (as did I), and she made a pie and other Key lime scented confections as well. Next summer's book takes place in Scotland, so she and I have been cooking and eating a lot of Scottish specialties. Scones! Sticky toffee pudding! Raspberry cranachan! It’s so much fun to explore a new book and a new culture through Hayley's eyes and Hayley’s food. 

What are your characters cooking?


PEG aka Margaret Loudon: The main character in my Open Book series (Murder in the Margins out now) is not much of a cook but she's all about the curry take-aways from the shop on the high street in Upper Chumley-on-Stoke, England.  Her friend Lady Fiona Innes-Goldthorpe, aka Figgy, runs a tea shop where she makes lots of delicious baked goods like lemon drizzle cake, Madeira cake, Victoria Sponge, shortbread, Chelsea buns and Jammie Dodgers.  Penelope is happy to help out by seeing that nothing goes to waste!


LESLIE BUDEWITZ: In my Spice Shop series, Pepper and her pals often eat and drink foods that showcase the theme spice. Searching for recipes and trying them is great fun. That's how the Lemon Thyme Shortbread in Killing Thyme and the Chai Spice Coffee Cake in Chai Another Day came about, both now household faves. She also tries to cook with what's new and interesting in the Pike Place Market, where her shop is. That's a bit of a challenge for the WIP, set just before Christmas! Now and then, a classic from our personal repertoire sneaks its way into a novel, like the Tortellini Salad Erin and her family take to a pre-concert picnic in Treble at the Jam Fest. More than once, I've eaten something so yummy I had to include it in a book, like the Herby-Cheesy Spread my BFF makes and the Summertime Chopped Salad, based on one I ate at the Pink Door in the Market. (Both are in Killing Thyme.) Writing about characters who love to cook and eat has made own life a lot tastier, and I hope it's added a certain spice to yours, dear readers!  


VICKI DELANY: Gemma Doyle, owner of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium can make a full English breakfast. Her cooking skills stop there. And Lucy Richardson from the Lighthouse Library mysteries can barely do that. Then again, she lives in a tiny apartment on the fourth floor of a lighthouse, so she doesn't have a lot of kitchen space.  The only character of mine who's a great cook is Lily Roberts of the Tea by the Sea mysteries. Lily owns a traditional afternoon tea room and the kitchen is her happy place. Some of the tea room favourite recipes are included in Tea and Treachery and the forthcoming Murder in a Tea Cup, and have been featured at Mystery Lovers Kitchen. 


MADDIE DAY: Robbie Jordan from the Country Store Mysteries is always looking for new breakfast and lunch specials to offer in her restaurant. Her holiday Holly Cookies were on this blog not long ago, and her Cheesy Biscuits and Asian Noodle Salad have been, too.

Mac Almeida from the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries isn't much of a cook, but she ate some yummy Polenta Parmesan Disks at a restaurant, and she can whip up a mean Avocado Deviled Egg when she gets the chance (recipe in Murder at the Taffy Shop).


MIA P. MANANSALA: I'm working on Book 2 in the Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mystery Series, and in Shady Palms, IL, it's currently summer. My protagonist Lila is busy coming up with offerings for her new shop and downing bowl after bowl of her grandmother's famous halo-halo to beat the heat. Halo-halo (literally 'mix-mix') is like the national Filipino dessert, a cross between shaved ice and an ice cream sundae. It's so delicious and refreshing that Lila is trying to incorporate the flavors in her Filipino-American fusion desserts.