LUCY BURDETTE: We are thrilled, thrilled, thrilled to host Kate White today--she's here to chat about her latest herding-cats project--editing the Mystery Writers of America cookbook. Kate, welcome! Please tell us about the book!
KATE WHITE: Because I was both a mystery author and have had experience as an editor—I ran Cosmopolitan magazine for 14 years, and four other magazines before that—MWA asked me to edit the cookbook for them. I loved doing it. True, at moments it was a bit like herding cats to get some of those successful authors to send me their recipes, but I enjoyed having contact with famous writers I’d never met and I also got a kick out of seeing what recipes they submitted. There are also some fun sidebars in the book, which I enjoyed researching and writing, like: What Exactly Is a Red Herring? And “Pretty Poisons Right in Your Garden.” The latter got me thinking about using poison again in a mystery. Only a few toxins are routinely tested for in autopsies, so poison can be a good way to kill someone and never be caught.
LUCY BURDETTE: Were you surprised at which writers chose what recipes? (Was there a pattern, like hard-boiled=appetizers, cozy=dessert?) What were some of your favorites?
KATE WHITE: Oh, that’s a great question about patterns. I didn’t see any. For instance, Joseph Finder, the author of such strong, gritty suspense novels, offered a yummy apple crumble recipe. And James Patterson gave me a delicious chocolate cake recipe. (Conclusion: many male suspense writers are real sweeties!)
There were some wonderful surprises. Gillian Flynn writes such fabulously dark stuff so it took me aback to see her recipe for the very All American-seeming “Beef Skillet Fiesta.” And Nelson DeMille’s funny “Male Chauvinist Pigs in the Blanket” almost made me fall off my chair laughing.
Other recipes were like little gifts. For instance, I still remember reading my first J.A.Jance novel year ago (Edge of Evil) and practically smelling the Sugarloaf Café sweet rolls she describes, and lo and behold, she sent in the recipe for them. And thanks to Lorenzo Carcaterra, I finally have my go-to marinara sauce.
I’ve actually added a few of the wonderful recipes to my regular repertoire, like Kathy Reich’s “Shrimp Scampi” and Hank Phillippi Ryan’s “Worth-the-Effort Turkey Tetrazzini” (I always wanted to know how to use leftover turkey!).
LUCY BURDETTE: Do you like to cook? What menu might you serve at a dinner party?
KATE WHITE: I do love to cook and I do it a lot for friends and family. I’m not imaginative but I’m a cookbook addict, and I’m decent at following recipes. I have all the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks, for instance, as well as those by Nigella Lawson and Giada De Laurentiis. We live in Uruguay part of each winter, and my favorite chef is Francis Mallmann, who has a restaurant not far from us. His cookbooks—Seven Fires and On Fire—are fantastic. He believes that charring both meats and vegetables brings out unusual flavors. And he’s right! What I’ve also learned from him is that simple is so often best. Don’t overthink things, use just a handful of ingredients (but be sure they are the best you can find), and don’t fuss with food that’s grilling (let it char!!!). One of my favorite Mallmann dishes is a salad with thinly sliced raw zucchini, almonds, fresh mint, and parmesan cheese, dressed with olive oil and fresh lemon juice. For a summer dinner party, I might serve that first and then do a main course of grilled chicken, which I’ve marinated to death in lemon and oregano for two days, fresh sliced tomatoes, and Tuscan beans.
LUCY BURDETTE: Your suspense novel, THE WRONG MAN, will hit bookshelves in June. Tell us a little about that. And is it true that part of the book is set in the Florida Keys?
KATE WHITE: The Wrong Man comes out in June, and yes it’s about Islamorada, which I discovered after being invited to a wedding there. In the book, a woman named Kit Finn takes her vacation in Islamorada and ends up having a very brief but thrilling fling with a man who is staying at the same hotel. He’s from New York City, as she is, and he asks her to dinner at his apartment in the city the week they both get back. But when she arrives, the man who opens the door has the same name as the man she met in Florida, but it isn’t him. That begins a nightmare that doesn’t want to quit.
LUCY: Kate thanks so much for visiting. Reds, we have a giveaway today--a copy of the MWA cookbook! To be entered in the drawing, leave a comment with your email.
KateWhite, the former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, is the New York Times bestselling author of six Bailey Weggins mysteries and four stand-alone suspense novels, including Eyes on You, and the upcoming The Wrong Man (June). She is also the editor of The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. Connect with Kate at katewhite.com