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text 2018-01-01 07:30
Writing As An Adventurous Foodie: Delectable Dishes in Fiction I've Written

Many book promoters tell women writers to occasionally blog about food and recipes. The idea is to make us more accessible, more like our readers. It’s part of that “branding” game we’re advised to play.


Except for one post a few years ago, I’ve never been much tempted to write about food in my author website. Not that it’s a topic I don’t care about.


Actually, I do love food and concocting dishes and I share this love with characters in my books. Justin, the culinary whiz-nerdy hero of Welcome Reluctant Stranger (Book 3, Between Two Worlds) takes after his mother who is a great cook. The mother is the heroine in Hello Agnieszka (Book 2, a prequel set in the seventies) where, true to her Polish roots, she makes bigos—a beef stew—and pierogis—like potstickers but often boiled and can have either sweet or savory fillings.


I used to write about food in the first blog I started in 2010, but that blog mysteriously went AWOL. I’m slowly resurrecting those posts in my new blog Artsy Rambler. Many of those posts were not on cooking but about the food I find in places I’ve traveled. I wrote a series of posts, for instance, on my experience eating and cooking in Paris when I was there for a few months in 2012.


I seldom give recipes when I write about specific dishes. Why? Well, I’m something of an adventurous foodie. This is what that means to me: I will taste many things strange to the American palate at least once (though I drew the line on chili grasshoppers in Oaxaca—actually I think I tried one teensy piece with my eyes closed). Smelly cheese does not make me pinch my nose (despite my very sensitive olfactories) and animal entrails do not make me puke. I am also an eyeball-it, use-what-you-have, taste-as-you-go kind of cook so I take chances when making any dish. Except in baking cakes, this approach often works for me.


Justin (Welcome Reluctant Stranger), like me, is an adventurous foodie. Despite his Polish mother, for instance, he adapts to Leilani’s (the heroine) palate and makes a fusion dish of meatballs with Indonesian peanut sauce on fetuccini. In Hello, My Love (Book 1), his mother Agnieszka serves tagine, a Moroccan dish. She’s also an adventurous foodie.


class=My foray into food in fiction reaches a new height in my latest novel, Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies. Gina , the main character, cooks for a restaurant that serves haute cuisine.


I have eclectic tastes in food as do several of my characters. It’s actually easy to be sucked into the foods of many cultures if, like me, you live in an area enriched by many ethnic groups.

Source: www.evyjourney.com
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text SPOILER ALERT! 2014-02-07 00:16
Page 302
Already Home - Susan Mallery

I've been meaning to write a post on this book for a while now. Since I'm close to the end, I can just add this to the final review.


I am liking the book, mostly because I have a bias towards culinary romantic fiction considering I'm a pastry chef myself, but there are a few things that are bothering me:


1.) Serenity and Tom (but mostly Serenity). They really are pissing me off in this book. Who are you to just roll up out of nowhere to see the child you gave up without at least calling her first (and not just her ex-husband to whom you did not even give your identity) and demand a relationship? Not only that, Serenity, despite her hippie airs of the universe giving signs, clearly harbors resentment and anger towards Jenna. Apparently, Jenna was supposed to reject her loving adoptive parents and come running to her birth parents. Unfortunately for Serenity, Beth and Marshall have been wonderful parents to Jenna and Jenna had no desire to seek her biological parents out. And why was the onus put on Jenna? Serenity and Tom had 32 years to seek out Jenna and they never did. Only reason they're doing so now is because while it has yet to be outright stated, it has been clearly implied that Serenity is dying. Which by the way, is a really shitty thing to do to Jenna for two reasons: they (Serenity, Tom, Dragon, Wolf, and Jasmine) are keeping that fact from Jenna and Serenity is intentionally trying to undermine Jenna's relationship with Beth, her true mother, so Jenna becomes attached to Serenity like a daughter only to have to deal with that loss.


Serenity is an incredibly selfish character who refuses to see beyond herself and her wants. She never bothered to sit and think about the ramifications of her actions onto a person she claims to love dearly. It's all just "The universe said this and gave me that sign so I must immediately act upon it." Screw that. You don't just walk into somebody's life, make emotional demands of them, denigrate their relationship with the people you gave them up to, only to die on them. I really hope somebody (Jenna) gives Serenity a "What the hell?!" speech.


2.) Cliff. When I originally meant to write this post, I was predicting that he was going to turn out to be abusive, and lo and behold, he beats the shit out of poor Violet. And I'm really glad the author points out that he'll get a slap on the wrist and Violet can only hope he doesn't become a stalker because usually this sort of storyline gets wrapped up too neatly. I watch far too much Investigation Discovery to suspend my belief.


3.) Ellington. I generally like him, but he's the one being irrational about Jenna's feelings toward Serenity. Telling Jenna she has "blind loyalty" to Beth is seriously fucked up. No, that's called a close mother-daughter bond. Beth raised Jenna and loves her just as much as Serenity claims she does. 


It's obvious Ellington also knows Serenity's terminally ill, so if anybody has blind loyalty to somebody, it's him to Serenity. He has a lot to answer for, but I'm sure Jenna is going to be the one that has to apologize.


4.) Serenity and Ellington's insinuations that biology trumps all and refusing to understand Jenna's predicament and instead are compounding her emotional turmoil. She's being pulled in two directions and somebody's going to end up hurt by Jenna when that's clearly not her intent and it doesn't help that Beth initially pushed Jenna to pursuing a relationship with Jenna but now regrets it and Serenity has been doing what I've already outlined. And nobody has really taken Jenna into account.


5.) Aaron. Like Cliff, I had predicted he was going to worm his way back to Jenna somehow because it was clear the doesn't really possess any culinary talent and was fine with taking the credit for Jenna's creations while completely destroying her self-esteem at the same time. When Jenna got the show and cookbook offer that was initially extended to Aaron, it was only a matter of time before he appeared. He figured that Jenna was going to be pining for him and was only biding her time before he came back. And of course he insults Jenna's store and accomplishments since their divorce because Jenna won't let him glom onto her and take the glory for her work.


Unless there is some serious catharsis by the end, I don't think I'm going to be able to give this book more than three stars.

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review 2012-01-23 00:00
Food and Culture in Contemporary American Fiction
Food and Culture in Contemporary American Fiction - Lorna Piatti-Farnell Rounded up from 2.5. Reads like a dissertation that was rather hastily published: flat, too many copyediting errors, offers a broad survey of books read and decent readings, but not an engaging argument. Secondary sources are dropped in at odd angles to the texts they are meant to commment upon. Still, if you're a food-focused literary scholar, you're going to have to read it, and the bibliography should be very useful.
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