Thursday, March 21, 2019

FOODFIC: Please Welcome David J. Pedersen, Author of Clod Makes a Friend

This was the 25th year my wife and I have hosted Christmas dinner for family and friends. My wife does all of the cooking, I do a lot of cleaning and even more eating. Our tiny house is filled with delicious smells of her dry-aged roast and a pumpkin dessert with yellow cake topping that has been dubbed “David’s dessert.” I always get a gentle hand-slap for trying to sneak away with it. That dinner is full of great memories.

Food is an incredible tool for writers that readers can relate to. If you've read any of my novels, you probably wonder if I have an obsession for cake. While I don't eat cake three times a day (life goal) it’s certainly one of my most favorite comfort foods. Not only do I love the taste and texture, cake means party since it is often served at celebrations. Even if you don't like cake, you get the significance.

In Clod Makes A Friend, Clod is bullied for being the only 9-year-old in his class without magic. More than anything he just wants a friend, so he makes one out of clay. To his surprise, she comes to life and introduces herself as Ada. Ada doesn’t last for very long, at first. Each chapter is a different year of their life. As time progresses, Clod gets better at sculpting Ada, she lasts longer, they become close friends, and occasionally get into some trouble. This novella tells the entirety of Clod’s life in 10 chapters, from age 9 to 57.

They have enough food to survive, but something like dessert is a luxury. When Clod brings Ada to the nearby town, well before anyone is awake, she discovers a bakery. A beautiful layered cake on display makes Clod swoon. Being a young child made of clay, Ada doesn’t always make the best decisions and sneaks through a pet door to sample the delicacy. Letting Clod in wakes the shop owner. Clod makes the terrible decision to grab an entire layer of cake and run off into the woods with Ada. It’s a great adventure, but not without consequence.

In a later chapter, powerful Shaman Millow visits their cabin to learn more about Ada. To engender trust, she introduces them to what is basically chai tea. After Clod does a favor for the shaman, she gifts Clod with more tea for Ada. Clod recognizes the significance as it is the nicest thing anyone had done for his friend.

In Clod’s impoverished life, treats like sweet tea and cake represent extravagance. Even though they can be stolen, it is better earned - just like any cake we would enjoy at our own parties. You may never know the power of cake until you read Clod Makes A Friend, but it may even save your life.

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

You can find David here:

David J. Pedersen is a native of Racine, WI who resides in his home town Kansas City, MO. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. He has worked in sales, management, retail, video and film production, and IT. David has run 2 marathons, climbed several 14,000 foot mountains and marched in Thee University of Wisconsin Marching Band. He is a geek and a fanboy that enjoys carousing, picking on his wife and kids, playing video games, and slowly muddling through his next novel.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

FOODFIC: Please Welcome S.K. Whiteside, Author of INHERITANCE

Laissez les bons temps rouler

Whew! We certainly let the good times roll these past few weeks here in New Orleans. The struggle is most definitely real! Whoever thought that Daylight Savings time should be a thing should be killed (I want my hour back!). To make matters worse, us natives are just coming down from Mardi Gras: weeks of drinking, partying, parades, debauchery, and food.


I admit, when I was first asked to include something about a dish or food in my post I was a bit intimidated. I write about many things but food is NOT one of them. Then I thought about where I lived and all of the food.

Food. Glorious Food.

New Orleans has beautiful architecture (albeit, complicated street names) and a rich (yet haunted) history…both key reasons why I chose to make home as the setting for my Inheritance series and its surrounding world. But New Orleans wouldn’t be the mecca that is without the staple of its food.

Delicious Cajun and creole food. If you are a health nut, New Orleans is not the place for you. New Orleans food is savory, rich, decadent, and smothered with things like sugar, liquor, sauces and gravies.
While many of my characters aren’t really pressed to eat the local cuisine (they prefer more metallic tasting nourishments), characters like Malachi engulfs it. A fallen angel, Malachi is not very sociable and can be a bit snarky as a means to keep others from getting too close. He made New Orleans his home over fifty years ago because it was the perfect place where he could be himself unabashed and be alone without anyone noticing him, or the fact that sometimes he talks to dead people. What he didn’t anticipate was falling in love with the city and even more so, the food. He prefers all things sweet and decadent (Bananas foster, Bread pudding and rum sauce, pecan candy) but his favorite?

None other than the New Orleans King Cake.

What is a king cake? Sweet, cinnamon bread covered in icing and sprinkles on top. Sounds simple but trust me, not everyone can make a good king cake. Some are filled, some are made from cake, some are made from donuts. The variations are so many that every year during carnival New Orleans holds the ultimate King Cake tasting festival. Winners get bragging rights for the next year. Some makers only sell during Mardi Gras which makes the demand for their cakes that much bigger. 

Malachi however, is a man of tradition and only has eyes for the Randazzos king cake. Which sucks because they are only open four months out of the year. Every year he tries to stock up before they close but the cakes never last the week and all he is left with is a void and small bit of shame for his gluttonous ways.

If you are ever in New Orleans during Mardi Gras be sure to grab you one…or two…or five. Who knows, Mardi Gras was just last week, you may be lucky enough to catch an order before they close until next season!

Manny Randazzo’s                     Sugar Love Cakes

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

You can find SK here:

Thursday, March 7, 2019

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Grace Wynne Jones, Author of The Truth Club

The Truth Club is not the kind of book where people go to lots of expensive restaurants or spiralise zucchini, they are far more preoccupied with trying to sort out their personal lives, which is why comfort food is frequently mentioned.

Sally Adams, the main character, is a journalist and likes munching a biscuit, especially if it is covered in chocolate.  Some months after a rather grand wedding she has left her husband, Diarmuid, because their views of love and marriage seem so different. (“I love sweet things, Diarmuid prefers savories.” As I say this I realise it pretty well sums up my marriage.  she reflects in Chapter Seven.)

A carpentry teacher and biology student, Diarmuid has become somewhat obsessed with some mice he's keeping as part of his studies, and often lovingly gives them mature cheddar cheese.  Diarmuid himself has a fondness for Turkish Delight confectionery, and almond biscuits which Sally stocks up on for when he 'pops round'. (They are 'keeping the lines of communication open.') But, usually, Diarmuid prefers savories. Sally and he met at a party where they ate 'big plates of spaghetti bolognaise'.

When Sally meets Nathaniel, a very tempting and understanding stranger, he invites her for a Chinese meal at a special place he knows, only it's  closed and it seems they'll have to opt for takeaway fish and chips. The dinner is ditched when Diarmuid phones demanding that Sally meets him. He has seen Sally and Nathaniel together.

But the resulting conversation isn't as fraught as it might have been. Diamuid announces, I have chocolate cake at home. A lovely big chocolate cake....A cake with lots of icing.  Since he had sometimes spoken of marriage as a cake that doesn't need icing and Sally  feels that icing is very important, this is a very seductive declaration. Perhaps cake can bring them back together?

Though Sally has quite enough conundrums on her plate, including a perplexing and distant relationship with her sister, her beloved Great Aunt Aggie adds an astonishing request to the mix. Aggie wants Sally to find her sister DeeDee who went missing many decades ago. Is DeeDee, for some reason, a black sheep? Why is it that the family hardly ever mention her? Aggie tells Sally that DeeDee loved Marble cake and wanted to visit Rio de Janeiro, which isn't that much to go on.

Thankfully Sally has some great friends who try to ease her complications. Fiona, for example, is happily married and expecting a baby and has a great job...though things aren't quite as they may seem on the surface.  When Sally visits her beautiful house Fiona offers her wonderful food. My parents are rather like Fiona in that they regularly acquire seductive foodstuffs and then get their guests to eat them. Without guests a packet  of high-grade chocolate chip cookies could last them a whole month.  Sally thinks in Chapter Five.

Would you like some lasagne? It's delicious. We got it from that swanky new deli. The chef is Italian. Fiona says in Chapter Three. Sally says yes because I am now in comfort food territory. Any time I'm with Fiona, I eat far more than I should, while she pecks at salad and radishes.

When Sally's eccentric pal Erika tries to drag Sally to the cinema Sally insists they both stock up on confectionery for it is a known fact that if only one person buys a packet of sweets she will spend the first half of the film trying to get the other person to eat it. But Sally's beautiful stranger, Nathaniel, is in the film queue, a woman is by his side and Sally doesn't want to face him. Instead they have singed pizza at Erika's house. I have never eaten non-singed pizza cooked by Erika. 

When Sally, Erika and Fiona make a somewhat desperate quick trip dash to New York, each wanting to flee their worries, cake again provides comfort. The waiter arrives with the cakes. They look gorgeous, like ornate and luxurious hats with strange, delicious things poking out of them. The chocolate ones are virtually sculptures. Erika briefly forgets her almost unbearable grief and decides she wants the meringue, which is stuffed with fresh cream and raspberries and tiny chocolate truffles.

Goodness, typing that even made me feel hungry. I really do like a nice cake myself!

And I also really like a tasty review the book received from the Evening Herald: If ‘The Truth Club’ were a dessert, it would be a tiramisu.... 

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

You can find Grace here: