Friday, July 21, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Cory Putman Oakes, Author of WITCHTOWN



There are few things I take more seriously than books and food. Put those two things together and I really go nuts. When I was writing my young adult novel, WITCHTOWN, a lot of my writing research revolved around food.

WITCHTOWN is a story about a sixteen year old girl named Macie and her mother who travel between witch-only towns (called havens) robbing people. They must ingratiate themselves with the folks at each new haven they arrive at, and one of their methods of doing this is trying to assert their spiritual superiority by maintaining a raw vegan diet.

I decided to try raw veganism for myself so I could write about it more realistically. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was thirteen so I figured it would be no big deal – I figured wrong! The idea behind raw veganism is that you eat no animal-derived products at all, and no food that has been heated above 104 degrees. Unlike vegetarianism, which is really just about substituting different protein sources into your diet, raw veganism requires a completely different approach to shopping, preparing, and eating food. I committed to the diet for one full week. You can follow the whole story over on my blog (Starting here on DAY 0: http://www.corypoakes.com/news-and-events/in-the-name-of-writing-research-my-raw-vegan-adventure/) but the highlights included: rampant cheese cravings, raw “lasagna,” a new appreciation for raw vegan desserts, raw vegan date night with my (carnivorous) husband, and victory pizza at midnight on Day #7.

To make things more interesting for my raw vegan main character, I had her develop a friendship with Gayle, the Witchtown baker. To make Gayle (and her bakery) as real as possible, I spoke at length with a wonderful pagan food blogger (http://recipesforapagansoul.weebly.com) who helped me to come up with all sorts of delightful (NOT raw vegan) baked goods to torture Macie with – including Gayle’s signature scones. (The recipe is on my website: http://www.corypoakes.com/books/witchtown/recipe-gayles-lemony-thyme-scones/) They are lemony, herby, and totally perfect for the Summer Solstice (or whatever special occasion you happen to be celebrating). I make them all the time!

I also really got into pagan holiday recipes. I’m most proud of my Summer Solstice cakes and pies (they’ve become an annual tradition in my house). But I also love the mini pumpkin pies I made for Autumn Equinox one year, and the wassail and Yule Log cake I did for Winter Solstice.

In short, the research for WITCHTOWN was as fun as it was delicious and it’s left me with family traditions and recipes that we’ll continue to enjoy for years to come – as well as a book I’m really proud of. I hope you enjoy reading about the food in WITCHTOWN just as much as I enjoyed writing about it!


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



You can find Cory here:





Thursday, July 13, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Holly Robinson, Author of Folly Cove



Nothing Brings People Together Like an Eiffel Tower Cake...and Other Fictional Follies
By Holly Robinson


A confession: I am not a cook. My husband is the cook. In fact, he won me over on our first date because he took what looked like a wilted spinach leaf, a solitary egg, and a piece of yarn—okay, maybe not yarn—and made me a delectable omelet.

Me? The first time I cooked for him, it was lasagna made with no-boil noodles and a jar of no-name red sauce. But he married me anyway, God bless him.

However, the best thing about being a fiction writer (other than working in your sweats most of the time) is that you can be an expert at ANYTHING. In the six novels I have published so far, I have been a painter, a potter, a DJ, a real estate agent, a construction worker, a secretary, a PR executive, a competitive equestrienne, a sheep farmer, a therapist, a backpacker in the Himalayas, and—wait for it—a fabulous cook!

Of course, doing all of these jobs requires a combination of real life experience (I took pottery lessons and horseback riding lessons) and research. Cooking is the toughest thing I've ever written about in a novel by far, since I'm the sort of person who is likely to text her husband emergency questions like this: “Should I have taken the plastic wrap off the chicken pie before I put it in?”

For my newest novel, Folly Cove, I was pushing every envelope by having the characters not only be great cooks (these three sisters grew up in an inn, after all), but ace bakers, too. This meant researching the sorts of foods typically served in historic New England inns (prime rib or lobster, anyone?) and how they were made.

And, as a bonus, I had these three sisters organize a birthday party for their mother, Sarah, despite the fact that Sarah has not always been the most loving mother and has some pretty dark secrets, starting with the fact that she is not who she says she is...

The cake had to be as extreme and elegant as Sarah has always seemed. And the birthday party had to have a theme. Finally it came to me: one way of outing Sarah's true identity (and age) would be to have a party based on her favorite movie, An American in Paris, which came out the year she was born—or did it?

And, since the movie is set in Paris, of course the cake had to be shaped like the Eiffel Tower, and big enough to serve lots of guests. Amazingly enough—or maybe not, given how much you can find online these days—I discovered more than one recipe online. Here's one of them:

Did I actually try making the cake myself? Sure. And you can guess how that went.


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



You can find Holly here:




Friday, July 7, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Stephen Penner, Author of A Lack of Motive



Hello, everyone. Thanks for stopping by, and thanks to Shelley Workinger for inviting me to her blog.

My latest novel, A Lack of Motive, is book #8 In my David Brunelle Legal Thriller Series. These books are set in Seattle, but for this most recent installment, I moved the action to Bellevue, an affluent suburb across Lake Washington from Seattle.

I've lived In Seattle for over 20 years now, and have watched as the city has changed from a smaller, sea-based community to a corporate, high-tech hub. But there are still remnants of the old Seattle hidden, almost out of sight, between the shiny new glass-and-steel skyscrapers. So when my hero, Dave Brunelle, meets an old flame, I knew where they were going to dinner. In part, because I'd just eaten there myself.

Dave's old flame, Victoria Cross is rich, much richer than my public servant protagonist. When they decide to catch up over a potentially romantic dinner, he lets her pick the restaurant. He expects a pretentious, overpriced eatery atop one of those office towers. Instead, she directs him to "The Crab Bucket", one of those hidden pearls of old Seattle, tucked between luxury condos that now block its once pleasant view of the lake. And that's when Dave falls for her again, realizing she may be rich, but she's authentic--and not afraid to eat crab in front of him.

...but does it work out? Well, you'll have to read the book to find out.

My books often feature restaurants and cafes. Like a lot of authors, I enjoy exploring the relationships between people. Most commonly, I do this through dialogue, and nothing goes with dialogue quite like a cup of coffee or a good meal. And when one character invites another to a favorite restaurant, it not only shows what that person likes to eat, but it can often reveal what the person is hoping for the relationship. Dave has been taken to cheap diners, fancy restaurants, and now "The Crab Bucket". Each of these places was inspired by a restaurant I've been to myself, and more often than not, my visit was for reasons similar to those of my hero. That's probably why I like writing those scenes so much.


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


You can find Stephen here: