Thursday, November 16, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Jessica Knauss, Author of Awash in Talent



Awash in Talent welcomes you to Providence, Rhode Island, where ten percent of the population can move objects telekinetically, set fires with their minds (or extreme emotions), or observe your thoughts as if they were a TV series. Although this Providence is a fantasy, it’s based on the real capital of Rhode Island, a place I love for all its uniqueness.

You couldn’t experience Providence without Rhode Island cuisine. To start with some of the lingo, Rhode Islanders call milkshakes “cabinets” and pronounce quahog (a local clam; try it stuffed) as if it were spelled “co-hog.” They drink coffee milk made with a special syrup that’s sold right next to Hershey’s, the bread comes from Portugal and is lightly sweet, and some of their best pizza comes from bakeries!

Awash in Talent is made up of three stories, and the one that pays most attention to food is told from the point of view of native Rhode Islander Kelly. She’s recently and unpleasantly discovered that she’s pyrokinetic, and has been sent to an obligatory school to control her Talent for making flames with her mind. In spite of all her worries, Kelly has time to enjoy cold and hot snacks at the outdoor festival WaterFire:

At the bridges, there were a couple of vendor stands. One had soft drinks and lemonade ice, which were probably a big hit during the summer, but didn’t really appeal now. My hands were frozen and my nose was starting to run.

“Want anything?” Brian asked.

“I didn’t bring any money,” I said.

“I did,” he said with that sweet smile.

The ice vendor also had t-shirts, bags, hats, and prints of WaterFire, and I desperately wanted to own one of those items with the logo (Is it water? Is it fire?), but I couldn’t let him buy something for me. It didn’t seem right.

“No, thanks.”

“Okay, but I’m getting some Red Hots.”

I looked, and the other vendor was all about fire. Hot chocolate, jalapeƱos, Firebrand chili, and Red Hot candies. His stall was pretty popular, and we waited in line for I don’t know how long. I watched the people, listened to the eclectic mix of music, and inhaled the fragrant smoke that wafted over from the river. All while holding Brian’s hand, by the way.


Kelly also has time to delight in a magnificent Thanksgiving spread at her boyfriend’s house:

I have no idea how they were planning to fit more food anywhere, but they did. When it was dinner time, at about four, everyone gathered in the dining room. Through the crush of people—there must have been thirty of us all told—I could see the giant turkey, all the fixings you could imagine and some I’d never seen before, and ten—I counted!—kinds of pie for dessert. Imagine the cacophony of sweet, spicy, salty, and meaty aromas.

This scene is based on some large New England holiday gatherings I have sweet memories of. Sure, New Englanders can be hard to get to know. Once you’re in, though, you’re family.

Pick up Awash in Talent if you’d like to live high on the (qua)hog!


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



You can visit Jessica here:





Friday, November 10, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Peggy Chambers, Author of The Apocalypse Sucks



Molly and Sandra couldn’t be more different.  They were once just co-workers, but found themselves relying on each other for survival after the virus took out almost everyone they ever loved.

At first, they lived off the vending machines in the basement of the fifteen-story building where they used to work, and now lived.  Of course, it didn’t take long for the supply of Twinkies and Dr. Pepper to dry up.  They had to find real food.  The shelves were emptying in the stores, and that meant there were other survivors. Soon, they had to get out and find them.

During a trip to what was left of the mall for lip gloss and bras, they ran across a couple of survivors they might like to meet.  And the girls were invited to dinner.  Cute guys and dinner?  What post-apocalyptic girl could say no to that?  And they were served fresh strawberries – and wine.

What was left of the town looted until there was nothing in the stores and then they had to restore the food supply. They might even have to learn to cooperate.  Some gardens were popping back up in the spring with perennials, and living in the wheat belt meant there were reserves in the grain elevators.  But it had to be ground into flour and what was left of the population had to learn to take care of themselves.  Food delivery trucks were a thing of the past.

If all else failed, there was always Goulash, a mixture of whatever was available in the form of leftovers, etc.   Here is a version you could make after the Apocalypse:

POST APOCALYPTIC GOULASH
1 can of Green Beans
1 can of other beans or corn
1 can of any type of tomatoes you can find
1 can of Corn Beef Hash or chopped Spam
Salt, pepper and any other spices you can find (they will help a lot)

After scrounging the grocery stores in the area that still have non-perishables left, mix the above ingredients together and warm in large pot over a campfire. Serve in any container you can find that is reasonably clean or wash it in the community pond.  If no canned goods are available in the grocery stores, break into the houses that are now vacant.  (Be careful to step over the dust outlines on the floor, they are what is left of your neighbors.)
Serve with any good red wine or bottled water if available.  Twinkies make a good dessert for this or any other meal. Serves as many as are sitting around the fire. Can be eaten cold if necessary.


The Apocalypse Sucks is a fun romp through a post-apocalyptic world through the eyes of two young, single women who no longer worry about pantyhose and date night.  Survival is the goal. But if you can’t make fun of the apocalypse, what can you make fun of?


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


You can find Peggy here:






Thursday, November 2, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Debra Chapoton, Author of SHELTERED



Preparing lavish dinners never happens in the old haunted house Ben provides for four homeless teens: Cori, Chuck, Adam and Emily. In the suspense novel, Sheltered, a taste for freedom, acceptance, or revenge is on their tongues more than any other flavor. Packing school lunches with plain old peanut butter sandwiches is a chore left to Emily. Her heart is breaking over Ben when he rents the last room to pretty little Megan. Megan should have been thinking about formula and baby food and how she could regain custody, but that ends up on the stove’s back burner when she falls for Ben.

Spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, and of course pizza are the staples when you have an unwed mom, schizophrenic twins, and a Goth teen taking turns cooking. With so many problems in one stitched together household mealtime can be the most stressful of all, even if they stick to comfort food.

Strange things begin to happen, not only in the kitchen, but in the attic and the basement. Maybe the ghosts or demons or whatever are preparing their own feast. Any ideas what they’d want to devour?

And then there’s the vending machine at school. When Emily spots Chuck—or is it Adam?—hiding out there she stops thinking about chocolate, the weird things she’s seen at the house and even her own self-inflicted wounds … because something worse than the paranormal happenings at home is about to happen.


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



You can find Debra here: