Thursday, September 29, 2022

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Claire Polders, Author of A Whale in Paris



Chantal and Papa live in Paris during the Second World War. Nazi forces occupy the French capital and steal crops from the surrounding farms to feed the German soldiers. Parisian citizens, like the characters in A Whale in Paris, invent new ways to find food and fill their stomachs. Chantal and Papa fish for salmon in the Seine at night.

Unfortunately, they’re often unsuccessful. Most days Chantal eats nothing but stale bread for breakfast. She must get by without the things she once thought essential, such as hot croissants and hazelnut macarons. But sometimes the stars align. Sometimes she and Papa catch a large fish and take it home in a bucket. Sometimes the priest of the Notre Dame gives Chantal an armload of zucchinis as a reward for working in his vegetable garden. Sometimes Papa has enough ration tickets left to buy flour and butter. Sometimes Aunt Sophie trades on the black market and brings them fresh eggs in a bundled handkerchief.

And then… then Papa bakes his super-delicious salmon quiche—Chantal’s favorite dish. The full recipe-spectacle is in the book, but let me serve you a taster here:


Papa makes the crust with flour and water, rubbing the butter in with his fingertips while singing. Singing helps the dough stay pliant and moist.

He pats the crust into a round tart tin and trims the overhanging dough with a letter opener or other object of sentimental value that doesn’t belong in a kitchen. He lights the gas oven and says, “Voilà!” like a vaudeville magician.

He bakes the salmon filet in a pan for fifteen minutes, but not before thanking the fish for jumping onto the hook. He also sautés the zucchinis with salt and herbs de Provence. The smells that circle up from the stove into Chantal’s nostrils are warm like love.

Whistling, Papa cracks the eggs into a bowl and whisks them with an eggbeater. He removes the salmon from the oven, forks it into soft steamy flakes, tastes a bite or two or three, adds pepper, and sneezes.

He stirs everything together, the salmon and zucchinis and eggs, pours the mixture into the crust, and bakes the dish for another twenty-five minutes. When the super-delicious salmon quiche is finally done, he serves it with a flourish, as though he’s created something magical.


He has. Chantal and Aunt Sophie already sit waiting around the kitchen table when Papa cuts the quiche into six pie slices. Chantal first consumes the steam coming from her plate, breathing it in; the nose must be fed before the belly. Then she eats her slice as slowly as possible, savoring every bite.

Does this make you hungry? Please read the book for more!


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Claire!


You can find Claire here:

Twitter @ClairePolders

Facebook

Books on Amazon


Thursday, September 22, 2022

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Jacopo della Quercia, Author of License to Quill



I've always been more interested in what James Bond eats instead of what he drinks. The latter is pretty scripted, after all: "shaken, not stirred." I'm more intrigued by what he orders for breakfast, lunch, and dinner while crisscrossing the world. (To my surprise, Ian Fleming wrote that Bond's favorite meal was breakfast.)

This interest compelled me to pay close attention to the foods featured in my second novel, License to Quill, a spy-thriller that follows William Shakespeare as a secret agent during the Gunpowder Plot. Since the story took place during the English Renaissance, I devoured every book and video I could find on food, drink, sweets, snacks, and even breath-fresheners in Shakespeare's London. Tavern fare was particularly important for me to know since so many clandestine meetings in the book were held in pubs. 

However, I also wanted to depart from the Bond films and novels by featuring a more international menu appropriate for the book's many settings. In one chapter, for example, one of the book's major characters is treated to an elaborate Turkish breakfast at Venice's Fondaco dei Turchi. I had a delight researching that scene with the help of a next door neighbor who was a restaurant owner and Turkish. I am particularly indebted to him for making sure that I got my spelling right!


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Jacopo!


You can find Jacopo here:

JacopodellaQuercia.com

Twitter @Jacopo_della_Q

Facebook Fan Page

Books on Amazon

Thursday, September 15, 2022

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Laura Greenwood, Author of Pumpkin Spice



What if someone had never tried ice cream before? It certainly wasn't the question I thought I'd be asking myself when I was considering what a cute date would look like for Willow and Azíl in the second book of my Cauldron Coffee Shop series, but it was the one I was faced with when I realised that as a three-thousand-year-old warlock who'd been stuck in a teapot, Azíl would never have tried ice cream. And if he had, it certainly wasn't going to be of the modern variety. 

Having a character as old as Azíl is, especially one who hasn't eaten in a long time, has certainly proved interesting when it comes to the approach of writing food into scenes. When someone comes to the modern world, it's easy to remember that they'll be surprised by modern appliances, including cars, fridges, and showers, but it's sometimes more difficult to remember that they'll also be able to try food that they've never experienced before, which is something I tried to capture within the Cauldron Coffee Shop series. 

Trying and discovering new food, flavours, and cuisines is something my partner and I try to do regularly, as well as introducing one another to the tastes of our childhoods, and it is that sense of adventure and discovery that comes across in the characters. While Azíl gets a chance to discover new things, Willow (a witch in her late twenties), gets to share the things she loves with him. And more importantly, choose some of the flavours she thinks he will love with him, even if they're not her favourite. It makes for an interesting partnership, with the two of them growing closer over the food - and the experiences they share while eating it! 

As an interesting (at least to me!) side note: I did end up researching ice cream in ancient times, and it turns out that they would save the frozen cream from the sides of storage containers and eat that like ice cream, though it doesn't have the same taste or texture as the frozen treat we enjoy!


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Laura!



You can find Laura here:








Laura is a USA Today Bestselling Author of paranormal, fantasy, urban fantasy, and contemporary romance. When she's not writing, she drinks a lot of tea, tries to resist French macarons, and works towards a diploma in Egyptology. She lives in the UK, where most of her books are set. Laura specialises in quick reads, whether you're looking for a swoonworthy romance for the bath, or an action-packed adventure for your latest journey, you'll find the perfect match amongst her books!




Cauldron Coffee Shop is an urban fantasy romance series featuring coffee shop-owning witch, Willow, as she tries to unravel the mysteries of a teapot sent to her by her best friend. 


Book 1 (Pumpkin Spice And All Things Nice) Blurb: 

When coffee shop owner, Willow, receives a mysterious teapot from her best friend, her charmed life is turned upside down.

Between the cursed warlock who thinks he's still in Ancient times, the cat who insists on coming through her window and making herself at home, and a new employee, Willow has her hands full.

Can she unravel the mess she's found herself in? And can she do it without losing her heart?


Pumpkin Spice and All Things Nice is book one of the Cauldron Coffee Shop Series, a witchy modern fantasy series with a romantic sub-plot, a mysterious teapot, and a cat who might be up to no good.

Friday, September 9, 2022

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Leigh Podgorski, Author of Desert Chimera



Desert Chimera is the first book in the Stone Quest Series, and introduces recluse, tracker, and reluctant young psychic Luke Stone and his paranormal universe. After escaping his dark nemesis, fleeing the loss of his beloved mentor crossing the country from the north woods of Michigan on foot, Luke has spent countless days in the Mojave Desert. How did he survive?

Luke is a tracker and a survivalist. He knows how to live off the land. What plants to eat, and which are poisonous. Yet the last three days, as storms raged and visions plagued him, Luke grew ragged, frayed, gaunt. Staggering out of the wind-swept, rain-soaked Panamint Mountains, Luke lurches into Eppie Falco’s Desert Inn and Café:


She knows him. The young psychic is wary, as skittish as an unbroken colt. Other people are gathered, two young women who are guests, an older man, Eppie’s handyman. They stare at him as if he is a phantasm, an eccentricity blown in by an ill will. Eppie approaches him cautiously, her hand out, palm up. She asks him if he’d like something to eat. Eggs. Toast. Coffee. The exhausted young man with a voice as raspy as sandpaper replies, “Yes, please.”

“What happened to you?” Eppie asks. Luke remains unsettled. Though seated, sipping on water now, his cobalt blue eyes never rest. “I ate something. In the desert. Something I gathered.” Eppie, startled, replies, “But how is that possible?”


Who is this woman? How does she know these things about him. Eppie pours him coffee. Hot. Black. Strong. Food is set out, and though it is obvious Luke is near starvation, he stands back, serves himself last. Eggs. Sausage. Home fries. Toast. More coffee. Manna from heaven. Food. It is as if the ravages of his flight, of the storm, of the Panamint Mountains slide away with each bite, each taste, with the comfort, the extraordinary healing power of the nourishment set before him.


Thank you for stopping by to share your food for thought, Leigh!


You can find Leigh here:



Thursday, September 1, 2022

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Perry Prete, Author of The More Things Change


Although Ethan Tenant is a fictitious City of Ottawa Paramedic, the career and the circumstances I placed him in were not. One of the situations that Ethan and his partner Tom had to deal with was how they ate while working shifts or between calls. Most Paramedics today spend very little time at base and don’t always have access to a microwave, stove, or even a fridge.

Paramedics carry their food with them unless they really enjoy take-out. Ethan and Tom would pack a lot of non-perishable foods in a soft cooler with an ice pack and stow it in a outside compartment, away from patient contact. Easy and quick food usually means processed foods or something a Paramedic can eat on the go, between calls or even while driving. Take-out food for a Paramedic is risky. As a seasoned 40-year veteran, I can’t count how many meals I paid for and never got to enjoy because we were dispatched to an emergency and the food wasn’t ready or I didn’t have time to eat and it spoiled on the floor of the rig.

Ethan’s go-to food was a granola or energy bar: quick energy, easy to open, easy to eat, even while driving through downtown traffic. Tom was more concerned about his health; he stuck to fruit and veggies in re-sealable containers. Both enjoyed a lot of coffee, with the proverbial pitstops getting in the way. Bottled water was also a necessity. If they bought sandwiches, it was something that wouldn’t go bad like a P.B. & J. And they never ate tuna fish or egg salad in the rigs.

Imagine you and friend are on a long road trip that could last twelve hours. What do you bring? Now imagine that twelve-hour road trip is at night - not a lot open, not a lot of choices. That’s what today’s Paramedics must deal with every shift. They didn’t always have time to stop and grab a healthy lunch or snack. That’s when anything easy to eat helps to calm an empty stomach.

Many readers didn’t consider some of the calls Tom and Ethan would attend, tended to kill an appetite, regardless of how hungry they were. If you want to read about those calls, pick up one of the books featuring Ethan Tenant.


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Perry!



You can find Perry here:

Twitter @PerryPreteBooks

Facebook Fan Page

Books on Amazon

Thursday, August 25, 2022

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Matthew Pallamary, Author of n0thing



After winning the ESports World Cup Finals which is in essence the Super Bowl of eSports, n0thing and his winning Seal Team Zero teammates were treated to a sumptuous feast with everything they could ever want, including sensual pleasures. At their celebration party a long mahogany table held silver ice filled buckets of Red Bull, sodas, beer, shrimp, strawberries, and other fruits. Gold and silver platters of chicken, beef, turkey, ham, and an assortment of the team's favorite snacks filled the rest along with a fully stocked bar.


Todd beamed like a little boy on Christmas morning.

"Tell me this isn't totally over the top," Killjoy said eyeing the spread.

Though he appreciated the effort, seeing their favorite foods and the attention to detail displaying them struck Jordan as overkill. Todd had always done lots for them, but never anything this extravagant and to this extent, then again, this was the ESports World Cup Finals.

"Jeezus," Sureshot finally said. "Thanks Todd. You really went overboard this time. I mean, yeah, we won ESports World Cup, but this is -- is…"

"What you world champions deserve." Todd held up the trophy and shook it, then set it down and picked up a remote control, pointing it at the flat screen. "But I'm not responsible for this. Allow me to introduce your biggest sponsor and strongest supporter."

The screen flickered to life showing a man dressed in a navy blue suit, a solid red tie, and a starched white shirt. He looked stocky with square shoulders, a military styled silver brush cut, and ice blue eyes.

"Hello you amazing world champions," he said with a smile. "My name is Robert Crowley. I hope you enjoy the party I arranged for you. Because of your victory, I have an exciting offer that goes beyond your wildest imaginings, but we'll get into the details of it later. Right now I want you to have fun celebrating your victory."

A knock came on the penthouse door.

"I'll get it," Todd said, smirking.

He went to answer and came back grinning ear to ear, followed by six of the most beautiful women that Jordan had ever seen.

"Party time!" Todd said. 


All was not as it seemed as there was a sinister underlying agenda to seduce them into becoming a literal “dream team” whose mission was to go into the computer generated nightmares of battle scarred veterans to rescue them from their traumatic memories in a dreaming experience that exceeded virtual reality and pushed the boundaries of reality itself.    


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Matthew!



You can find Matthew here:

MattPallamary.com

Twitter @MattPallamary

Facebook Fan Page

Books on Amazon


Friday, June 24, 2022

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Dylan Newton, Author of All Fired Up



Don’t you hate when authors do that rotten thing to their heroines: make them too distraught to eat during the ENTIRE story? Ugh. I won’t mention names, but one specific male romance author does this so often, I won’t buy his books. This predilection of portraying women as creatures who are too constitutionally delicate to eat is toxic. So, when Shelley Workinger asked me to contribute to this blog, I was all in!

As a person with family members suffering from body dysmorphia and disordered eating, food and the portrayal of women eating is important to me as a writer. Next to crafting strong, independent, relatable heroines, being purposeful with what they eat is the next most crucial thing I do in my books. Here’s why: authors have a responsibility to combat food-related myths, especially as they relate to women. While my romantic comedies are funny, I’m deadly serious about my heroines having a balanced, healthy relationship with food. 

How Sweet It Is opens with my event-planner heroine eating wedding cake for dinner, but it also shows her accepting a Cobb salad with the hero. They drink vanilla chai lattes, eat “Pumpkin Maniac” cupcakes, and during the story’s bleak moment, my heroine is at a cafe, grabbing breakfast. Because a girl’s gotta eat.

In All Fired Up, I address body dysmorphia…but I gave the eating disorder as part of the background of the male main character. The laid-back ceramics-artist hero had a traumatic past, and he used food to channel his grief/stress. It’s the publicist heroine who has a healthy relationship with food and makes Hungarian goulash (Gulyás) for the hero as a thank you for helping her fix her grandmother’s broken fireplace tiles before taking the book’s iconic ride on a hot air balloon ride. This gulyás recipe appears as an extra at the end of the book, as it is the ultimate comfort food.

I’m thrilled by the amazing reviews for both rom-coms, including a Kirkus star, and a Booklist recommendation, and I’m proud of the purposeful eating done in my books. After all, But What Are They Eating? is one of the most important things to get right in a good novel!


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Dylan!



You can find Dylan here:





Friday, April 29, 2022

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Effrosyni Moschoudi, Author of The Amulet



I was born and raised in Athens, but my parents hail from two different Greek islands. My father, from Limnos in the Northeast Aegean, and my mother, from Corfu in the Ionian Sea. As a child, I often spent my summers on these islands, Corfu mostly, and have a plethora of fond memories from big family get-togethers when my mother and my Corfiot grandmother delighted everyone with their cooking. Other times, we’d enjoy Greek food at seaside tavernas and, instead of dessert, we’d all treat ourselves to some Syrtaki dancing for afters!

When it came to writing novels, naturally, I wound up setting them all at the seaside, in tiny villages such as the ones I’ve known all my life firsthand. And I filled my stories with references to delicious Greek meals that are typically enjoyed in quaint tavernas on the shore.

The Amulet is no exception, and, actually, I may have overdone it in that one! The heroine, Katie, leaves a stressful office job in Athens to start a new life at a much slower pace on the island of Sifnos, in the postcard-perfect Cyclades, working as a receptionist in a small family hotel on the beach. 

The hotel cook, a middle-aged lady called Eva, often makes Katie feel ravenous at reception, seeing that heavenly smells of cooked food tend to waft to her desk from the kitchen, where Eva is forever busy creating one culinary triumph after another. Eva and Katie enjoy their meals together in the kitchen while, more often than not, discussing Aggelos, the quirky young man who’s stolen Katie’s heart, and who, unbeknownst to her, is not a man per se… but a guardian angel.

But that’s another story… So, anyway, the owner of the hotel, Mr Spyros, often comes in to chat with the two women while taking the opportunity to sample Eva’s cooking, like cheese-filled biftekis, spinach pies in phyllo pastry, and freshly baked muffins. The latter he has to gobble up pretty quickly, seeing that his wife, the rather bossy Mrs Matina, watches him hawk-eyed, as he is supposed to be on a diet. Again.

But, the most appreciative of Eva’s cooking turns out to be a mysterious little girl called Chloe… Her first encounter with Eva and Katie is rather awkward – seeing that she’d sneaked into the kitchen when no one was in, and they caught her eating from Eva’s newly baked moussaka. In her defense, she was very hungry… Plus, it was her favorite meal in the whole wide world… 


Thanks for stopping by and sharing your food for thought, Effrosyni!



You can find Effrosyni here:

EffrosyniWrites.com

Twitter @FrostieMoss

Facebook Fan Page

Books on Amazon


 

Effrosyni Moschoudi was born and raised in Athens, Greece. As a child, she loved to sit alone in her garden scribbling rhymes about flowers, butterflies and ants. Today, she writes books for the romantic at heart. She lives in a quaint seaside town near Athens with a British husband, two naughty cats, and a staggering amount of books and DVDs. Her little town is heavenly enough, yet her mind forever drifts to her beloved island of Corfu.

The Ebb, her new adult romance that was inspired from her summers in Corfu in the 1980s, is an ABNA Q-Finalist. Her debut novel, The Necklace of Goddess Athena, won a silver medal in the 2017 book awards of Readers’ Favorite. Her ghost romance novella, The Boy on the Bridge, was a Top 10 winner in the “50 Best Indie Books” awards of Readfree.ly in 2021.

What others say about Effrosyni’s books:

“Effrosyni layers her words on the page like music.”
~Jackie Weger, author of The House on Persimmon Road

“Very few writers have such a gift for realism.”
~Kelly Smith Reviews

Go here to grab FREE books by this author: http://effrosyniwrites.com/free-stuff/





Friday, April 22, 2022

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Janni Nell, Author of Broomsticks, Buns & Murder



I love using food to help readers get to know my characters better. When I decided to set the opening scene of Broomsticks, Buns & Murder in a restaurant, I knew the food choices of the three dinner companions would be important. Each food choice had to match the character’s personality. With this in mind, I studied a lot of menus before I made my final choices. Since I write mysteries, I thought it would be fun to make this post a mini-mystery. So, here goes. The three meals I finally settled on were seafood pasta, Alaskan halibut with salad and Wagyu beef.

Based on the following character descriptions, can you guess which character ordered which meal? (Answers below.*)


The businessman

He’s the self-indulgent owner of a chain of bakeries with an ego bigger than his waistline. He enjoys nothing better than buying other people’s successful bakeries to add to his chain. It doesn’t bother him if he has to pressure the owners to sell.

The mayor’s wife

Actually, she’s the mayor’s second—some might call her a trophy—wife. Devoted to her husband, she takes the duties of a mayor’s wife very seriously especially when it comes to her appearance. She loves designer clothes and is never seen without perfect makeup and hair. Her hobby is adding to her collection of diamond jewelry.

The witch

She runs a shop in town that sells potions and spells. At twenty-nine years old, she has discovered a talent for solving mysteries. Although she hasn’t gotten around to marriage, she does have a cute boyfriend. She enjoys food and has never met a carb she didn’t love. 


It was fun researching menus for this scene and I spent a lot of time thinking about the kind of meal I’d order. It would definitely be some kind of seafood—probably lobster—followed by a dessert featuring chocolate. If you were treated to a meal in an upmarket restaurant, what would you choose?


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Janni!



You can find Janni here:


JanniNell.com

Facebook Page

Books on Amazon



Janni Nell is the author of the Little Shop of Spells cozy mystery series. Before she became a writer, she worked as a personal assistant, receptionist and salesclerk. Now she is happy to spend every day creating stories. When she isn’t writing, you can find her at dance class, Pilates or in the garden. She is hard at work on her next book.


*If you guessed the businessman had Wagyu beef, the mayor’s wife had Alaskan halibut with salad and the witch had seafood pasta, you’re absolutely correct.


Thursday, April 14, 2022

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Michael Murphy, Author of The Yankee Club



I met my first ex-wife in The Yankee Club, but I don’t hold it against the place. For my dough, it’s the best speakeasy in Queens. To my surprise it’s not too crowded for a Friday night in the spring of 1933.

I know the knock. A panel in the door slides open, and I’m greeted by a familiar face the size of a hubcap. Fights are kept to a minimum by this broad-shouldered brute who gives me the once over and let’s me inside.

It’s a smoke-filled joint, but the three-piece band’s the greatest and singer’s not half bad. The food’s good. The drinks are too, none of that watered down stuff you sometimes get in a cheap dive. The club’s a good mix of regulars like me, and high-society types. Last time I dropped in, Babe Ruth was buying drinks for Cole Porter and his Broadway friends.  

The owner, Gino is sitting at the bar in a fancy tux. He’s smoking a cigar and giving the eye to a brunette in a backless red satin dress. I spot an empty table near the dance floor and pass bombshell actress Laura Wilson, dressed to the nines, on the arm of gumshoe turned writer Jake Donovan.

I take a seat and buy a pack of smokes from Stella, a blonde cigarette girl I used to date. I tip her a fin, and she gives me a wink, so I know there’s no hard feelings.

The waiter, with an Adams apple the size of a baseball, is making his way to my table with my usual, without me asking, another reason I love this place. He sets the plate of finger food and a highball on the table flashing a smile. “Welcome to The Yankee Club.”


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Michael!



You can find Michael here:

Penguin Random House

Twitter @mmurfy68

Facebook Fan Page

Books on Amazon