Do too many cooks spoil the soup? Not when they’re cozy mystery writers.
Cozy Food came about because of a graphic and Ellery Adams. I don’t think she knows that. I found a graphic that begged to be the cover of a cozy cookbook, but since I had no plans to do a cookbook, I filed the image in my brain and got back to finishing up The Murder House, book five in my Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries series. Every once in a while I’d take a peek at that graphic and it never failed to make me smile.
My protagonist sometimes bakes cookies at open houses to entice buyers, and sometimes uses the cookie dough she keeps in her freezer to make emergency comfort food for friends and clients suspected of murder. After cookies kept coming up in my books, I created a recipe for Mysterious Chocolate Chip Cookies, so I had one recipe if I ever decided to do more than grin at that graphic.
On March 27th Ellery Adams posted a recipe on Facebook and, on a whim, I asked if I could use it in a cozy mystery writer cookbook. I expected she’d say no and that would be the end of my idea. Instead she said, “Of course!” So now I had two recipes and, if I could convince forty-eight more writers to share a recipe or two from their books or personal lives, I figured I could pull together a cookbook—or at least a cook-pamphlet—with a great cover.
Any cozy writer who’s amateur sleuth works a day job where organizing is key could have come up with the same idea and started cold calling, but like Regan, I was a Realtor for many years and coordinating transactions is in my blood—that’s internal, not the kind that occasionally winds up on the floor in my books — so I gave it a shot.
I sent out a letter as spammy as one from a Nigerian prince to writers I “knew” because of social media and blogs and started researching addresses of writers who had done interesting sounding cozies. I wouldn’t have had the nerve to send the letter to strangers — especially those whose writing talent impressed me — if the first group of writers hadn’t been supportive. But they were and so I did, and the most amazing thing happened. 126 other writers agreed to be in the cookbook and Cozy Food became more than a cute graphic.
Cozy writers submitted more than 220 recipes from their amateur detectives who work as event planners, book store owners, crafters, journalists, and culinary masters, as well as from those who put food on the table in less conventional ways working as morticians, square dance callers, and fugitives hiding in plain sight in dead end jobs, to name a few. Recipes came in related to sleuths of all ages and mental conditions, too, like one from an octogenarian cruise ship sailor who detects while dealing with short term memory loss.
The recipes in Cozy Food came from various times. Most were current, but there were recipes from the 1930’s and the 1880’s (one is delivered in verse) and if the recipe title “Dried Mammoth Meat Jerky adapted for Cro Magnons and Modern Humans” is to be believed, even from prehistory.
Cozy Food is a cookbook filled with the wit, inventiveness, and adventure found in cozy mysteries. The recipes are introduced by their authors and linked to writer bios in the back of the book. You can look up a cozy writer and see which recipes are their favorites or you can enjoy a dish and then link to the recipe’s author’s biography and books.
Even if you love cozies, I bet you can’t name 128 cozy authors, so either way you enjoy the cookbook, you’re sure to find great new recipes to make and terrific new cozy authors to read and have lots of fun while you do.
Have you ever made a recipe from a celebrity/author cookbook?
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on August 13 for the chance to win a copy of COZY FOOD. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only, unless specified.
Meet the editor
Nancy Lynn Jarvis thinks you should try something new every few years. Writing her Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries series is her newest adventure and she’s been having so much fun doing it that she’s finally acknowledged she’ll never sell another house. She let her license lapse in May of 2013, after her twenty-fifth anniversary in real estate.
After earning a BA in behavioral science from San Jose State University, she worked in the advertising department of the San Jose Mercury News. A move to Santa Cruz meant a new job as a librarian and later a stint as the business manager for Shakespeare Santa Cruz at UCSC.
Her husband Craig is her-go-to guy for everything computer, her initial editor (whether he wants to be or not) and co-editor of Cozy Food, although he doesn’t want credit for it. He’s the one who made the book work so you can easily find whodunit.
Here’s a list of all the authors who contributed to this book: