My daughter, Hayley, gave me the nicest Christmas present ever–a weekend trip to visit her in Key West and a ticket to the Key West Loves Literature seminar, which was all about food writing this year. I was in heaven–there were cookbook writers, and food fiction authors, and food critics–and my gosh, my daughter hobnobbed with all of them. And then I got to meet her new heartthrob, Detective Nathan Bransford. Don’t tell Hayley, but I’m still the teeniest bit worried about her taste in men…
I had so many amazing experiences over the weekend, though it didn’t go as smoothly as we expected. Good lord, one of the panelists was murdered! Even so I loved having lunch at La Creperie with the novelist Sigrid Gustafson and my favorite cookbook writer, Yoshe King. I don’t think Hayley would mind if I show you a little bit of the book right here:
“The waitress delivered our meals: Greek salads thick with feta cheese and nicoise olives folded into buckwheat pancakes for Yoshe and Hayley, a spinach and mushroom omelet for me, and the ham and cheese sandwich topped with two eggs over easy and an order of French fries on the side for Sigrid.
“Besides, if the conference sponsors aren’t happy,” Sigrid said, plunging her knife into the sandwich so that yoke flowed like yellow lava over the ham onto the crunchy stalks of potato, “Dustin’s out of a job.” She carved off a large corner of her sandwich, mopped it through the pool of egg yolk, and wolfed it down.
As we ate, the conversation turned toward admiration of the food—the crispy tang of the buckwheat pancakes, the creamy feta, the fresh tomatoes. A vinaigrette with a secret ingredient. Extra garlic? Tarragon? Mustard? No one agreed.
“Tell us about your new project,” I said to Yoshe. “You didn’t get a chance to expand on its ‘point of view’.”
Yoshe blushed furiously and looked hard at me, like maybe she’d underestimated me–figured I was just a bored housewife from New Jersey.
“What I meant by that is that no cooking occurs in a vacuum. In fact the best recipes sprouted in some grandmother’s kitchen somewhere. Doesn’t matter whether she was Polish or Italian or a pioneer woman from Iowa. We need to learn from the women who came before us.”
I leaned forward and grabbed her hand. “When Hayley graduated from college, I gave her a box of my mother’s recipes—written in her own hand. And a few from my mother’s mother and my mother-in-law. Some of them are delicious and some simple and several just awful, but the point is, they demonstrate the history of these women in such a tangible, personal way. And it’s our history too—we’re all connected.”
“Exactly!” said Yoshe. “I should have hired you to write the preface.”
Now I blushed and ducked my head.
“The food of my ancestors sucked,” said Sigrid with a big belly laugh. “That’s why I write fiction.”
It’s me again, Janet. I don’t mean to brag, but did I tell you that my name was mentioned in the Publishers Weekly review of Death In Four Courses? “Outspoken Mom provides tart commentary as Hayley once again turns sleuth. Anyone who’s ever overpaid for a pretentious restaurant meal will relish this witty cozy.” I hope you’ll enjoy the book!
You can read more about Janet in Death In Four Courses, the second book in the “Key West Food Critic” mystery series. The first book in the series is An Appetite For Murder.
** Thanks to the publisher, I have one (1) copy of DEATH IN FOUR COURSES to give away. Contest open to residents of the US only. Contest ends September 10. Leave a valid-email address with your comment. The book will be shipped directly from the publisher. **
Meet the author
Lucy Burdette is the author of the Key West food critic mysteries, most recently Death In Four Courses. She also wrote 8 mysteries as Roberta Isleib You are invited to follow her on twitter (www.twitter.com/lucyburdette) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/lucyburdette) or check out her website (www.lucyburdette.com) where the artwork is gorgeous and the recipes to die for.
Books are available at retail and online booksellers.