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


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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:

Twitter @Jacopo_della_Q

Facebook Fan Page

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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