Friday, January 20, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Gale Martin, Author of Don Juan in Hankey PA



Good Food Still Abounds in Hankey, PA

Though once a thriving small town, Hankey, Pennsylvania, became part of the Pennsylvania Rust Belt when the steel mill closed and the ranks of high-paid executives and managers moved away in 2005. As a result, most of the finer restaurants and eateries closed, too.

Who can afford to dine at the Colonel Hankey Inn anymore, with entrees like Drunken Lamb, braised in porter and priced รก la carte at $25 a plate?

Okay, maybe Richard Rohrer, the retired dermatologist and former chair of the Hankey Opera Guild springs for fine dining frequently. Oh, and his girlfriend Vivian Pirelli, the bipolar ketchup heiress, whose family made their fortune pulverizing tomatoes. Compared to a decade ago when the economy was robust, only a handful of Hankeyans are keeping the Colonel Hankey afloat.

Deanna Lundquist, the current chair of the Opera Guild, prefers to entertain the rest of the guild in her beautifully appointed home. She is busy burning through her divorce settlement faster than you can say, “replacement trophy wife.” Deanna adores a menu of heavy hors d’oeuvres paired with fine wines, such as Duck Confit which she serves with an Australian Shiraz, or goat cheese crostini with a crisp Napa Valley Sauvignon. It pains her to spend good money on all those gluten-free options for Vivian, who has every food allergy known to womankind, and definitely not Deanna’s favorite person. But Deanna is nothing if not a gracious hostess (with designs on a lead gift from Vivian’s family foundation to keep the opera guild in the black), so gluten-free wins out over full flavor every time Vivian is on the guest list.

While the Colonel Hankey Inn no longer fits most folks’ budgets, the Steel City Diner with their $1.99 week day breakfast special is the perfect option for everyone and as popular as ever with displaced workers, cheapskates, and Belgian-waffle lovers of every economic stripe.  That diner must use half a can of real whipped cream on each perfectly golden, berry-bedecked waffle.

For big celebrations like opening night parties, the Opera Guild relies on Luigi’s Italian Trattoria for tasty yet affordable receptions, like the one they threw after the premier of their new production of Don Giovanni, featuring the Argentine sensation Leandro Vasquez singing the title role. Sometimes Luigi even throws in the cannolis—on the house—provided the guild orders three entrees or more for the buffet.


If productions keep selling out like Don Giovanni, perhaps the guild can move their opening night receptions back to the Coloney Hankey Inn someday soon. Their calamari with spicy tomato dipping sauce tops Luigi’s pedestrian marinara every time.


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




You can find Gale here:





Friday, January 13, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Paula Margulies, Author of Favorite Daughter



I wrote my first historical novel, Favorite Daughter, Part One, because I wanted to tell the story of Pocahontas in her own voice, from her point of view (rather than the John Smith version of her history we learned in school). When I first began writing the novel, I quickly learned that the backbone of good writing in a historical is a reflection of the amount of research the writer does. With that in mind, I spent many hours studying the culture and traditions of the Powhatan and Algonquian tribes. While researching, I learned that the Powhatan tribe had a rich culture of agriculture and food husbandry.

The Powhatan tribe planted corn, vegetables (beans, pumpkins, and squash), and harvested fruit and nuts from the surrounding area. In addition, they hunted and fished, so that meat was abundant in their diet. The Powhatans hunted deer and wild hogs and caught many types of wild birds, including geese, turkey, and other types of local fowl. They ate dried meat, beans, corn, and fruit, including apples and wild berries, in the winter months. A favorite Powhatan dish was a vegetable stew called pausarowmena, and celebrations included fermented drinks, like puccahiccora. The Powhatans also baked a cornbread called apone.

The Powhatan women did most of the gathering of wild fruits and berries and plucked the feathers from the wild fowl caught by the men. In addition, the women gutted, butchered, and smoked the meat hunted by the male members of the tribe, and also tanned and smoked the hides to use as coats and blankets. Deer and hog stomachs were used to carry water. When courting, the young Powhatan males often made gifts of the wild birds they hunted to their chosen mates.

The Powhatan tribe lived in wooden roundhouses that contained centralized kitchen areas, which consisted of a large fire for cooking, utensils made from wood and stone, and stone tools and surfaces for grinding, cutting, and carving food items. The kitchens were run by the elder women in the tribe, with younger women helping to prepare and serve as required.

When researching the characters for my novel, I learned that Pocahontas was keenly interested in her father's political work in both the villages that were part of the tribe and in the interaction with the white settlers living across from what is now known as the James River. She was a king's daughter, so she was not required to cook or harvest, although when younger, she did spend time helping her older sisters with those tasks.

Her oldest sister, Mattachana, was a mother figure for Pocahontas, since Pocahontas's mother died in childbirth. Pocahontas helped Mattachana with the traditional women's chores regarding cooking and eating, but Pocahontas was not tied to the kitchen the way her older sisters were.

Initially, the Powhatans were generous with the white settlers, bringing them food in the harsh winters and trading corn with them for trinkets and tools. As the relationship soured between Powhatan and the white leaders, food became an issue for both sides. John Smith was known to invade Powhatan villages and strong-arm the villagers if they would not give him corn. As the harsh winter months continued and the settlers refused to give up their poorly situated fort on the Chesapeake shore, they found food to be so scarce that many of them starved to death.

The Powhatans also felt the brunt of harsh winters, partially from poor crops given up by weak harvests and partly because the settlers demanded so much of the natives' stores. Eventually, as the tribes fought the settlers, food became scarce and was often an issue for both parties during years of poor harvests and war-related conflict.

Of course, the legend of Pocahontas originates around her willingness to bring food to the starving settlers when they first arrived on the Chesapeake. Her friendship with John Smith and the favored position she held with her father allowed her to be the conduit for many of the food supplies that saved the settlers in their early years in the new land.

Eventually, Pocahontas was abducted by the English settlers and converted to Christianity. By that time, the tribe's relationship with the settlers had deteriorated, and the settlers had become better at growing some of the local crops like tobacco and corn. Pocahontas eventually married one of the settlers, John Rolfe, who was a tobacco farmer. She was brought by the colonists to London, England, where she became a celebrity of sorts and met the king and queen (and also reunited with John Smith, a meeting that reportedly did not go well). On her way back to the colonies, she came down with either pneumonia or tuberculosis and died, although members of the Mattaponi tribe claims she was, in fact, murdered. (Stay tuned! These events will be covered in Favorite Daughter, Part Two, which I’m writing now.)


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



Paula Margulies is the owner of Paula Margulies Communications, a public relations firm for authors and artists. She has received numerous awards for her essays and books, including her nonfiction handbook, The Tao of Book Publicity: A Beginner’s Guide to Book Promotion; her historical novel, Favorite Daughter, Part One; her debut novel, Coyote Heart; and her short story collection, Face Value: Collected Stories. Paula is a contributor to a number of blogsites and webzines, including Author Magazine and The Feisty Writer. She has been awarded artist residencies at Caldera, Red Cinder Artist Colony, the Vermont Studio Center, and Centrum. Paula resides in San Diego, California.



You can find Paula here:




Thursday, January 5, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Marla Madison, Author of Girl Undone



Girl Undone is the third book in my TJ Peacock and Lisa Rayburn suspense series. The main characters in Girl Undone, private investigator TJ Peacock and psychologist Lisa Rayburn, are women at opposite ends of the food addiction scale. TJ, slender and wiry, is one of those fortunate people who so many of us envy; she can eat all she wants—and she prefers junk food and comfort food—without gaining weight. Lisa looks on disgustedly when TJ packs in the food, while she, a more generously proportioned woman, has to watch every bite.

Despite their many differences, the women become fast friends, and their working relationship continues through the series. In Girl Undone, the two women are hired to find out why a young woman was abducted for a period of three days then allowed to escape. Lisa and TJ fall into a web of mystery, murder, and mayhem trying to discover why the girl, who remembers nothing, was held against her will.

My characters frequently share holidays and meals together. TJ prefers fast food stops, while Lisa enjoys preparing traditional holiday meals for a crowd. I have to admit that I am more like TJ in my food tastes; I love junk food. But I also like the traditional holiday fare and enjoy preparing it for my loved ones. A deadly combination of tastes for someone who has to watch her weight!

Being a woman who has had a love/hate relationship with food my entire life, I naturally added a lot of meal detail to the first book of this series, She’s Not There. My blog, Reading and Writing are Fattening, sometimes deals with food and dieting issues. Recently, I’ve been doing reviews of the suspense books that I read.

I once did a blog series called The Ten Pounds of Christmas and every year I resolve to publish it, a how-to on not gaining weight over the holidays, but somehow, never quite get around do doing it. Maybe I’ll have Lisa write it for me when she’s in between crime-fighting events with TJ. ;)


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





Marla Madison is a retired mediator and when she’s not writing, she loves to read, play bridge and cruise the lake on her pontoon. Living in Wisconsin on Prairie Lake, Marla is the author of the suspense novels, She’s Not There, Trespass, Girl Undone, Relative Malice, Iced Malice, and Promise of Malice. 
Contact her at: mam887@gmail.com





You can also find Marla here:




Friday, December 23, 2016

Holiday Gifts - Books, Of Course!

Happy Holidays, Hungry Readers!

Instead of giving you the same-old best-seller list of gift suggestions, I thought I'd make this year's post a little more personal and share which books my family will be giving/receiving. Maybe you'll find one of them to be a good gift for someone you know as well. :)





The Guinness World Records 2017 edition is for the boy child, but it always turns into a full-family gift as he reads aloud every. single. record. Mostly interesting for all, but beware this is not for the faint of heart; many of the bug and FOOD records can be quite disgusting!




The American Girl Guide is for the girl child because, like any fictional character, even the dolls have extensive back-stories. More history = deeper understanding = more imaginative and intelligent play!






Harry Potter #4 is for my husband, the most-behindest reader of all time. ;) We have a family rule that we can't watch a film until we've read the book and he REALLY wants to catch up to the rest of us with the movies, so now he can use the vacation week to crack this spine!




As for me, I have asked for - and hopefully not delusionally expect to recieve - The Bible as read by James Earl Jones. This tome of all tomes has been on my TBR list since really the beginning of days but its sheer size has kept it anchoring the bottom of the pile. But then, Totes Magotes!, I find a version that will be read to me by the greatest narrator* of all time?! It's the only item on my Santa list and I have been VERY good this year...





Be sure and let me know the best reads you give and receive this holiday season; 

Happy Holidays to All and to All a Good Read!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Kathy LaMee, Author of Tansy Taylor Paranormal P.I.



I’m a total food junkie, or foodie, so there is always food in my books. We use food as a culture in so many ways, so it’s only natural to draw that into stories. I’ll be honest - it’s been a few years since I wrote the first Tansy - so I was struggling to remember all of the foodie bits in the book. So what does one do when they can’t remember? They open their Kindle Cloud Reader and use the trusty Cntrl+F to find the food! Wow, was there a lot of food!

First, a little insight into Tansy’s story. She’s a twenty-something soul who is sort of lost, wandering from bad love interest to bad love interest and working at a psychic hotline call center. She really has an ethical problem with her job and the way she is expected to lead customers on, so when she gets fired for being too helpful to a caller, she isn’t surprised. She ends up meeting the caller, Callie, and begins the quest to help figure out what has happened to Callie’s missing boyfriend Buster, a shady car dealer’s wash bay guy. She ends up discovering a lot about her newly discovered talent - that she not only can do some aura reading but can actually see and talk with the recently departed as she unravels the facts behind Buster’s disappearance.

Tansy has food around her ALL the time. Her roommate and best friend is a designer, who also happens to work magic with pastries and other treats in the kitchen. Often, the sweet sultry smell of baked goods and freshly made coffee entices Tansy to get on with her day, no matter the trouble she’s gotten into the night before!  Her love of baked goods doesn’t stop there though - she digs into scones and muffins several times in Dixie’s Diner, where her client Callie works as a waitress. Speaking of diner food, nothing makes Tansy or me happier than walking into a diner. My stomach rumbles when I hear the jingle of the little bell on the door (they all have them, right??) and it induces a Pavlovian response that makes my mouth wonder at the treats in store. I discovered in my early thirties that I absolutely love Reuben sandwiches; I mean, who would think that corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and a thick slather of Thousand Island dressing on rye would be so unbelievably tasty? On their own I actually do not like any of these foods, but put them together and crazy magic happens. I counted six times in Tansy’s first story that the Reuben is either mentioned or consumed, usually with a bag of locally made potato chips. Perfection on a plate!

As Tansy works her case to discover what has happened to Buster and grapples with the fact that she can talk to dead people, she converses and muses often, all while enjoying something tasty at the diner, her kitchen, or a picnic in the park. I think that food is a natural binder- it’s there when we have conversations over dinner, or meet up for drinks. Food can also be a way to show someone affection - I mean, who doesn’t love to have someone special bring them a tasty treat or a cup of their favorite coffee drink? What we eat or the type of drink we order says a lot about a person, in my opinion, and I find it a great way to bring characters to life in the stories we tell.


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



You can find Kathy here:




Friday, December 9, 2016

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Tony Macaulay, Author of All Growed Up



In my memoir All Growed Up, it’s 1982 and I leave my hometown of Belfast, Northern Ireland for the first time in my life to begin a ‘coming of age’ adventure of learning as an eighteen year old student at university. One particular chapter of the book serves up the flavours of traditional Irish food. In Go Wild in the Country I tell the story of my first visit to my new girlfriend’s house in a small rural village in the middle of Northern Ireland. I meet the lovely Lesley’s mother who is very warm, friendly and hospitable and more importantly, a legend in her own kitchen. However, like every good Irish Mammy when it comes to offering the best of food to a guest, she cannot take no for an answer. The repercussions are most embarrassing!

There are two main Irish foodstuffs involved in this unfortunate incident, one sweet and one savoury. The sweets are the typical fare baked in every self-respecting kitchen in Northern Ireland and produced alongside a nice cup of tea on all occasions. A ‘pavlova’ is an egg and sugar based dish, a monumental meringue smothered in fresh cream. Meanwhile ‘caramel squares’ are biscuit based square shaped cookies with a delightful layer of caramel and chocolate on top. Here’s what happened when I entered my girlfriend’s mother’s kitchen:

She placed one of her Himalayan pavlovas in the middle of the table and my mouth watered instantly. Then she surrounded the pavlova with a series of smaller plates containing geometrically perfect caramel squares, freshly baked fruit scones with butter and jam and a plate of chocolate biscuits from a good tin…

The supply of food continued all day long:

‘Have another piece of pavlova,’ said Mummy
‘No, thank you, I think I’m full up now,’ I replied.
Silence.
‘Och sure go on, you would, you could, you should’ said Mummy.
‘Okay, thanks, you’ve persuaded me, please,’ I responded with the utmost courtesy.
‘Now, have another scone, Tony,’ said Mummy.
‘Oh no, thank you, really I couldn’t, I’m full up now. It’s all so lovely, thank you.’ 
‘Och, none of that, you will, you can, you should, sure you’re a growing boy,’ said Mummy, clearly not expecting ‘No’ for an answer. 
All of this food was delicious and I enjoyed being spoilt in this way, but I wondered if I would be permitted to stop eating before all the plates were empty.

The savoury dish that features in this chapter of my book is the iconic Northern Ireland breakfast, known locally as an Ulster Fry. As the name suggests this is a hot fried breakfast, not known for its health benefits. In fact an Ulster Fry is also known locally as ‘a heart attack on a plate.’ The dish consists of fried eggs, sausages, bacon, black pudding and mushrooms. An essential element of the Ulster Fry is the addition of two distinctive Irish breads, soda and potato farls, fried of course. This large breakfast plate is usually completed with a dollop of tomato ketchup or HP Brown Sauce. Normally, it’s a very satisfying breakfast on the weekend, but on this occasion it was simply too much to handle!

I sat down amid the activity and cooking and frying smells but all of a sudden I began to feel sick. I was surrounded by the makings of the perfect Ulster Fry, a massive feast of meat and enough fried bread to empty a shelf in the Ormo Mini Shop but probably due to my over indulgences the day before a wave of nausea began to overwhelm me.
‘I feel a bit sick,’ I whispered to Lesley, who looked most concerned.
‘You have to eat Mummy’s fry, she’s been preparing for it all week,’ she whispered back, our conversation masked only by the sudden sizzling of mushrooms being added to the frying pan. 
I attempted to take deep breaths to subdue the nausea but every deep inhalation was accompanied by the odour of fried meat and mushrooms and by this stage of my condition the smell was sickening rather than appetising. Lesley observed me closely, clearly aware of the potential disaster unfolding in her own kitchen. She could see that my face had turned a whiter shade of pale and realised that an intervention was going to be necessary.
‘Tony’s not feeling well,’ said Lesley, much to my relief.
Mummy looked over her bifocals with a mixture of shock and disappointment, as the frying fat spat at me from beneath the eggs.
‘Och, sure you’re alright now. You just need a good fry and you’ll be fine.’
‘Sorry, I think I need to lie down,’ I confessed, ‘and then I’ll be okay thanks for a fry, please, if that‘s ok.’
Mummy, Daddy and Lesley cast glances at each other from various workstations across the kitchen. I was embarrassed. To fart explosively at the kitchen table would not have been worse. Mummy looked hurt, as if her cooking was making me sick and Lesley looked concerned about Mummy and Daddy went outside for a smoke.
‘Sure, you would, you could, you should just try a wee plate,’ persisted Mummy and she proceeded to set down a plate of sausage, bacon and egg in front of me.

Of course, you have to read the book to find out what happened next, but I’ll give you a clue – everything went in the wrong direction!


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



You can find Tony here:




Thursday, December 1, 2016

FOODFIC: Please Welcome E.A. Lake, Author of Stranded No Where



When the EOTWAWKI (end of the world as we know it) arrives, everything will change. The Darkness, as I like to call it, will envelop all. And I mean every last bit of our lives.

Gone will be our electricity, our phones, our cars…our current way of life. Food will disappear from store shelves and your own pantry so fast that we won’t have time to think or react. Fresh water will become our daily quest.

And still, we’ll have to find something to eat.

So, my friends, what are we going to do for food? Want some help with that one? Here’s my top three finds for you:


1. Venison – If you eat meat, eventually all most choices are going to fade away. The good news is that deer are plentiful in almost area in the United States. Just this morning my wife almost ran into a deer while only a block from our home. And we live in a very urban area.

City deer are easy to take. They don’t have the built in fear that their country cousins possess. With a small handgun or any bow, you’ll be able to take an animal that will provide you with anywhere from 15 to 50 pounds of fresh meat.

And they’re like rabbits in most areas. So there will be lots of them. Just don’t harvest more than you can eat and you should be fine for years to come.


2. Dandelions – Believe it or not, your first salad in the post-apocalyptic days may be made from dandelion greens. You know, those weeds that everyone tries to eradicate from their beautiful lush green yards. The ones that are harder than heck to keep away.

Dandelions can be found everywhere. And once The Darkness arrives you won’t be so worried about your pristine lawn anymore. So they’ll be plentiful from early spring through late summer.

The trick is to boil them after harvest. One or two runs through hot water baths and that should reduce their general bitter taste. Be careful not to over-boil them though; that will results in dandelion mush. And even the dogs won’t want that.


3. Scavenge – My last recommendation for edible foods is to get out there and root through deserted houses and stores for whatever you can find.

Sure, there are a lot of foods that will spoil over time, but there are many that won’t. Here’s a small list of stuff to look for: ramen noodles, hot chocolate, honey, maple syrup, bouillon, salt, rice, dried beans, powered milk…

The list goes on and on. Some of these items will be scavenged immediately. But some will be overlooked. And those may just keep you alive.

Above all, you’ll need plenty of fresh water to go with the items above. After three days without water the human body begins to do weird things, not so good weird things. So be sure to find a decent source of this. Find a source of at least a liter a day. That’s what you’ll need at a minimum.

Plus, you’ll need that water for the rice and beans you’ll be making for dinner your first night in the dark world. Be sure to smother it with plenty of maple syrup; it’ll taste better that way. ;)


Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, E.A.!


You can find E.A.  here:






Thursday, November 17, 2016

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Laurie (L.C.) Lewis, Author of Dark Sky at Dawn



Thanks for inviting me to share some of my culinary insights from research on my Free Men and Dreamers books. I popped into a gift shop in Williamsburg, Virginia in the early days of work on book one, Dark Sky at Dawn, and picked up a copy of a small, but priceless cookbook titled simply, The Williamsburg Cookbook. It was filled with primarily British recipes, most of which involved the ingredients of their day—cream, butter, meat and potatoes. Journal entries from actual colonial and pre-Civil War women helped me carve out the menus and beverages in DSAD and the other books in the series. These journals made it apparent that the planning, growing, harvesting, and preparing of food was a grueling, never-ending labor. I had a scene where the characters prepared chickens for cooking. Imagine chasing, catching, killing, draining, gutting, plucking, and burning off the pin-feathers of a bird, before you can even begin your recipe. Perfectly seasoned fried chicken is my weakness, and I’ll never take a fried chicken platter for granted again!

One dynamic that came up a lot in the series was “traveling” food. From the import shortages the British and French embargoes were creating for America in Dark Sky at Dawn, to the shortages caused by war and destruction in later volumes, the struggle to secure and prepare food, and the need for food that could travel, was a constant concern.

The lead characters in the series—Jed and Hannah Pearson and their neighbors—were frequently on foot, on horseback, or in a wagon, in rain or snow or wind. The scenery provided the only picnic ambiance, because by the time they stopped to eat, if they stopped at all, they were sore-bottomed, wind-burned, sun-baked, or rain-soaked. Dinner on the fly was simple—biscuits, jerky, salted or smoked slabs of meat, fruit in season, perhaps a boiled egg or two, and coffee made from water that might have to be strained to remove insects, dirt, and debris. Yum!!! Oftentimes, when they weren’t traveling in haste because of enemies or weather, or when travelling a long distance, they might have to forage, hunt, or fish for food along the way. Imagine waking up every morning not knowing when or if there would be food on the table before nightfall. Too many people today still face that challenge for different reasons.

I must admit, I do love the romance of the past. Life was home-centered and unplugged, conversation and mealtimes were the social events of the day, neighbors were lifetime friends nearly as essential as family, and you knew the joy and satisfaction of seeing the fruit of your labors. As beautiful as those things are, I’m grateful for the advantages of our day. I love modern medicine, and I’m a huge fan plumbing—hot baths, flush toilets, the ability to wash and sanitize food and prep areas, and the ease of having water at your disposal without toting it up a hill, the gym memberships of the day.

I keep a cute picnic basket packed with matching plastic ware, cups, plates, and gingham napkins, all at the ready, near a folded blanket, for those spur-of-the-moment picnic adventures, however, I confess that most of my picnics involve a quick stop at the “grab -and-go” section of my local grocery for abundant and luscious cheese I didn’t make, sandwiches or chicken grown and prepared elsewhere, and succulent prewashed fruit from a tree I didn’t plant.

Instead of armed enemies and wild beasts, time presents the greatest challenge in our day. I think we miss the sense of community and family meal preparation provided back in the day. Neighbors would gather to “bring in the sheaves” of wheat and to grind their grain into life-sustaining flour. I can imagine the laughter and conversations that happened in the hours when women filled kitchens to render lard, make jams, and prepare feats. In our busy world, gathering moments happen less and less now.
I actually store wheat and have an electric grinder to churn out freshly ground whole wheat flour. The children loved kneading their own loaves of homemade bread on our weekly break-making day. The smell of baking dough drew them back to the kitchen like an aromatic Pied Piper. Sadly, once they headed to school and discovered “white, fluffy bread that comes in a plastic bag” they didn’t want to take Mom’s homemade brown bread anymore, which they said made them look like “poor kids.” They now pay five dollars or more a loaf for bakery bread like that which they rejected back in the day.

Sadly, Mama sold out a bit, too. Travel food generally involves a stop at a drive-through or from a carefully selected sack of items from a grocer. And the location of on the fly meals generally depends on how much slop we’re willing to subject our vehicle to.

The primary labor of our ancestors’ day was protecting hearth and home, and growing and preserving food. Our challenges are the same.  Now we work to buy the home, and more of our ingredients are provided by someone else. What doesn’t change is the joy in gathering and working side-by-side to jointly meet our family’s needs. Families need not be so removed from those experiences. I remember the satisfying hours spent together with my children as we worked in and harvested from our garden. Each pepper or green bean was a treasure they’d bring to me in wonder. Take any family with a garden or even a tomato plant, and ask them how many life lessons they drew from the divine magic of watching a mature plant grow from the seeming nothingness of a single seed. There’s family strength and power in such moments.

Food is more than sustenance. So much more. Our ancestors knew it. I’m grateful we still revere and rediscover the art of the meal.


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



You can find Laurie here:




Thursday, November 10, 2016

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Massimo Marino, Author of Daimones



When you’re confronted with the Apocalypse, food is a primary concern for the survivors. In the case of the Daimones Trilogy things are simpler and more complex at the same time.

The world changes abruptly for Dan Amenta and his family of wife Mary and daughter Annah. One day, they discover everything they gave for granted is no more. Not a nuclear catastrophe, something unimaginable has happened, and something nothing could have ever prepared them to deal with.

When the world starts to degrade, ancient skills have to be re-learned, new habits need to become routines, and food… after a while, food needs to be grown and they need to discover how to manage nature in a sustainable way.

For Dan and family, food diet becomes what our ancestors had access to: wild berries and game, farm animals, and old family recipes. In a world where perishable food has… perished, drinks of any kind are aplenty, and the family only has to pick what they need. Dan is fond of cigars and whiskey, single malt. Caol Ila, especially, is one of his favourites, and now he can indulge in the most expensive ones, even, at no cost.

A glass full of Caol Ila is also what helps him when another survivor, the young Laura, tempts him in the most direct way: a sensuous disrobing that Laura prolonged with carefully chosen delays, in the glittering of a full moon night:

I held my breath multiple times. Left alone in the ashtray, the cigar consumed itself and released dancing spirals of smoke sinuously seducing the moonlight.

Pliny the Elder wrote that a woman could lull a storm out at sea by stripping. I knew exactly what he meant. The light went off in the cottage and, shortly after, I could hear Laura moaning. She was…masturbating, leaving me with my galloping and fervid imagination.

I swallowed my whiskey. I was excited, too.
                                                                                ~ Daimones (The Daimones Trilogy Vol. One)


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




You can find Massimo here:




Thursday, November 3, 2016

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Mark David Major, Author of The Persistence of Memory and Other Plays



Famine and Feast

My characters in The Persistence of Memory and Other Plays are gluttons for hypocrisy, arrogance, self-righteousness, and moral indignation; the last being “jealousy with a halo” according to H.G. Wells. Most everywhere, this nutrition is typical fare for youth. Most of these characters are young and live in a world of stark contrasts. They only see extremes: love/hate, want/need, poor/rich, self/other, insider/outsider, and so on. My characters suffer from an abundance of self-awareness about how alone they are in the world. They are indignant about this loneliness. Of course, wisdom comes with age. The stark black and white views of youth evolve into the vivid colors of age and experience, if we are fortunate enough to survive the preliminaries. Better sustenance would benefit my characters. Living is a feast of humility. It nurtures honesty, integrity, and wisdom in the best of us. The worst of us fail to learn, trapped in a vicious cycle to ‘rise and repeat’ until the final curtain.

Of course, people cannot subsist on emotions alone. My characters must eat something. Tristan and Eric in The Persistence of Memory have a steady diet of gin and whiskey on ice, respectively, and Chinese food: low-price takeout for Tristan (he is a struggling writer) and high-price, dine-in options for Eric (he is financially self-sufficient). They often eat together with Eric picking up the tab. After all, their recreational habits are a ‘gateway drug’ to the munchies. Lara has a ‘go-along-to-get-along’ personality. Her eating habits follow Eric and Tristan’s lead. Lara probably pecks at her food like a bird. Tasha is the prototypical ‘granola girl.’ Nuts, berries, and sunflower seeds constitute her culinary fare. The bad girl of Act II, Teresa, subsists on coffee, cigarettes, and the occasional line of cocoa extract. All the characters in The Persistence of Memory would appear thin and unhealthy to most people.

The Truth of Glances is my Southern play; not in terms of setting or dialect but where I wrote it: South Carolina. Most of the characters are college age. Their cuisine choices are limited to regular doses of pizza, beer, and McDonald’s. One the characters even jokes about “the American Dream of breakfast at McDonald’s.” This is certainly true of the male lead, Simon. Maggie still lives at home with a single parent. She suffers pasta dinners, packets of macaroni and cheese, and microwaveable popcorn. Who cares about what Thorne eats? The guy is a loser; too bad Maggie seems oblivious to this fact. Marie is a ‘good ol’ girl. She goes to momma’s house for home cookin’ on a semi-regular basis. There are barbecue ribs, grits, sausage gravy and homemade biscuits, and ‘p-can pie’ (pecan pie to non-Southerners) in her diet. A supporting character, Paul, really does feed on the hypocrisy and stupidity of others as a main course. However, in his spare time, he is probably a Chex Mix and Rice Krispies Squares type of guy.

Song of My Childhood is a re-imagining of the early 20th century novel Aspects of Love by British author David Garnett. He was a minor member of London’s Bloomsbury Group, which included Virginia Wolfe, John Maynard Keynes, E. M. Forster and Lytton Strachey. Originally set in France, I shifted the story setting to the American coast for Song of My Childhood. However, I suspect most of the characters would still enjoy the gastronomic luxuries of French cuisine. Susannah Flynn is a stage and movie actress. She eats whatever actors eat, probably a fusion cuisine in the California style, especially French and Italian variations using only local ingredients (of course). Chase Everett is in military service. His standard diet consists of gruel, hardtack, and sardines. Susannah and Chase enjoy lots of coffee: fine brewed, self-grounded beans, probably of Polynesian and/or Turkish origin. It might account for their hyperactivity as characters. Chase’s uncle, Adam Everett, is a food snob. He does not care what he eats as long as it is the most expensive item on the menu. Adam would not set foot inside a restaurant that failed to serve Dom Perignon, Moet & Chandon or Bollinger champagne. I suspect roasted duck and venison are staples of Adam’s diet. Terran is the proverbial nibbler. She is constantly eating but such small portions. She subsists on varieties of cheese and crackers supplemented with ample supplies of Cabernet Sauvignon (Italian labels only). Terran likes wine such as herself: dry with high acidity and a hint of sturdy oak. During Act III, it seems somewhat obvious that Susannah and Adam’s young daughter, Chloe, is the smartest person in Song of My Childhood. Granted, I might have some bias about my favorite character in the play. Chloe must eat a lot of fish and crustaceans: salmon with lemon, buttered lobster, boiled shrimp, crab cakes, and oysters.


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



You can find Mark here:







Mark David Major is the author of The Persistence of Memory and Other Plays, Mars Rising, children’s books An Infinitesimal Abundance of Color and An Excessive Abundance of Curls, and the Everyday Objects, Collected Poems, 1987-2012. He is currently working on a new one-act drama and new science fiction novel.


*All Cover Art by Rachael Harbert (www.artbyrachael.com)



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