Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Cookbooks as Inspiration for Fiction @LucyBurdette

 LUCY BURDETTE: First, I must thank the entire Jungle Red community for celebrating the  publication of A DISH TO DIE FOR—while I was on vacation. This is so not recommended! However the pandemic that will not end uprooted our plans to go to Scotland several times and I had to grab the chance when it arrived. Thank you so much my friends for celebrating without me here on the page!



Before I left on vacation, I was busy writing blogs to help get the word out about the new book, including an article for CrimeReads. The assignment was to write something that would tie into the book without being overly focused on self-promoting. The topic I chose was the use of cookbooks in novels. You might remember that one of the important plot strands in A DISH TO DIE FOR is about an old Key West Woman’s Club cookbook that Hayley finds in a pile of library donations. (In fact, I have two of those to give away today—one is the 1949 edition, and the other from 1988, so do leave a comment!) It turns out I am not the only writer who’s thought of this angle. Mystery writers Ellen Byron, Kate Carlisle, and Daryl Wood Gerber have all used cookbooks as part of the plots and settings in their mysteries. I’ve also mentioned recently a book I really enjoyed called Miss Cecily’s Recipes for Exceptional Ladies, in which the two main characters slowly connect through their mutual love of food, and through the pages of a mysterious cookbook wedged on a shelf in Miss Cecily’s bedroom.

In Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown, the protagonist discovers an old cookbook from the fifties in the basement of their old home, but soon learns that it harbors darker secrets than the recipes for fancy 1950’s dinners. In The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valraux by Samantha Verant, the mysteries are not of the murderous kind, but instead the secrets of complicated families, after a chef finds handwritten recipes from her grandmother’s collection.

What is it about a cookbook that attracts a fiction writer’s interest? I don’t think it could be the list of recipes, or even their content. The best of these cookbooks showcase the writers’ voice. Often descriptions introducing the recipe reveal a lot about the writer, as well as the times in which it was written. 

In the case of Dish, Hayley learns about Key West in the 1940's and the psychology of women in those older times. The discovery of an early version of the first cookbook adds fire to her rumination about a current day murder. Here’s an example from that first cookbook that shows what I mean about voice:

“Make your appetizers small, pretty, zippy, and easy to handle-for it is very very hard to greet an admiral with decorum when involved with a limp piece of celery overstuffed with soft cheese, and practically impossible to exchange witticisms with the suave novelist when one’s whole being is concentrated on the problem of what to do with olive pits!” From the Key West cookbook 1949

For me, old cookbooks turn out to be a perfect inspiration for fiction, both the plot and the voice. I am now on alert for new ideas—consider the article sent by a friend from a cookbook published in 1926 by the Ways and Means Committee of the Ladies' Benevolent Society of the Westville Congregational Church in Connecticut. The title of the piece? Recipe for Cooking Husbands. 



Do you have a favorite old cookbook that would be fodder for a novel? Can you add another novel to my list? Leave a comment of any sort to be entered in the drawing for the two Key West cookbooks. I will choose winners on Friday!

PS Here are the book discussion questions for Dish that I cooked up, in case you missed them...

140 comments:

  1. Laughing! That reminded me of The Twilight Zone’s episode “To Serve Man. “
    Pat D

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    1. "To Serve Man" was a great episode!

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    2. My Mom and I loved that episode too!! I adore cookbooks,I collect them ! I have my Mom’s vintage cookbooks and they are fun to read! I also enjoy cozy mysteries….Living in SWFlorida and growing up in Miami ,I especially love the ones that take place in Florida! Elaine Viets,Deborah Sharp and , of course,Lucy Burdette are some of my favorites! Mysteries,food and cookbooks are my weakness!Keep writing,Lucy! Thanks,Bonnie Mobley

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    3. I read How to Serve Man in a SciFi magazine when I was a teenager. I missed the Twilight Zone episode but used to love that program.

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    4. I played the "To Serve Man" episode for my classes, and had terrific discussions!

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    5. FRED POHL, people. Fred Pohl. Author of the original prize winning story. FRED POHL. Remember his name.

      We are writers here. This is a CLASSIC science fiction story; the dramatization came later.

      I knew Fred Pohl. Fred Pohl was a friend of mine. Jeez.

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  2. Well, none of my cookbooks, old or new, include recipes for cooking husbands [or any other such questionable things], but the older ones tend toward comments such as “The woman who bakes can feel a glow of accomplishment when she takes a shapely loaf of bread from the oven . . . she can look forward to the warm satisfaction of compliments from her family” . . . . obviously women were meant to spend the day in the kitchen cooking. [I guess all those male chefs and bakers came later than the cookbook!] At any rate, it was fun hunting through the cookbooks since I haven’t done that for a while . . . .

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    1. It is fun, isn't it, to look through our old stash!

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    2. I love cookbooks! And mysteries! There are so many mysteries linked to recipes. Katherine Hall Page’s Faith Fairchild, Virginia Rich’s Mrs Potter(and NancyPickard’s completions), Diane Mott Davidson’s Goldie Schultz, Susan Wittig Albert’s China Bayles-oh, and Lucy Burdette’s Haley Snow, recently discovered! Louise Penny’s Gamache novels make me salivate-I want a bistro across the green! As for cookbooks,I have 3 categories. Standard go to ones for actual cooking, ones that take me travelling or dreaming or just to read, and treasures found at book sales and second hand shops. I love finding handwritten comments-my favourite is “OH DEAR GOD!!!! written in heavy pen beside a 60’s casserole recipe,with a big x through. And cooking related books- Ruth Reichl’s fabulous memoirs or Julia Child Rules by(can’t recall)! So many books!

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    3. what a fabulous list! and I adore that OMG comment!

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  3. Lucy, I loved A Dish to Die For. I hope you caught my blog review. You should have seen the big grin on my face when I came across Key Lime Cake at Firefly's. I really enjoyed the use of the 1949 Key West Woman's Club Cookbook and all the history connected to it. I had forgotten where the Woman's Club in Key West was at first, but your description took me right back there.

    My two older cookbooks which I love and use some aren't 1949 old, but the first one, We Make You Kindly Welcome (Pleasant Hill, Kentucky Shaker cookbook) was first published in 1970, and I received it as part of a wedding gift in 1976. The second one is the follow-up Shaker cookbook, Welcome Back to Pleasant Hill, and I purchased that one myself, as I liked the first one so much. I can see either or both of those cookbooks being involved in a murder mystery and connected to the Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill.

    Oh, and I had a good laugh at Recipe for Cooking Husbands. I have some old magazine publications, little booklets on being a wife or making a good home from my mother's saved books. I need to pull those out and take a look at them again.

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  4. It aggravates me so much when I forget to change from "Anonymous" to my name. So, since I can't delete it, I'm posting my comments again with my name. Grrrrrrr.

    Lucy, I loved A Dish to Die For. I hope you caught my blog review. You should have seen the big grin on my face when I came across Key Lime Cake at Firefly's. I really enjoyed the use of the 1949 Key West Woman's Club Cookbook and all the history connected to it. I had forgotten where the Woman's Club in Key West was at first, but your description took me right back there.

    My two older cookbooks which I love and use some aren't 1949 old, but the first one, We Make You Kindly Welcome (Pleasant Hill, Kentucky Shaker cookbook) was first published in 1970, and I received it as part of a wedding gift in 1976. The second one is the follow-up Shaker cookbook, Welcome Back to Pleasant Hill, and I purchased that one myself, as I liked the first one so much. I can see either or both of those cookbooks being involved in a murder mystery and connected to the Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill.

    Oh, and I had a good laugh at Recipe for Cooking Husbands. I have some old magazine publications, little booklets on being a wife or making a good home from my mother's saved books. I need to pull those out and take a look at them again.

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    1. Kathy, thanks so much! I recognized your comment from the key lime cake. I think maybe you should write that Amish mystery...

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  5. Hope you had a fantastic trip. Now, celebrate the release of A Dish to Die For.

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  6. Roberta, I just finished A DISH TO DIE FOR and loved it. Glad you had a good trip to Scotland. The only cookbook I remember is the Betty Crocker one and I'm sure she would have wanted to toss that book at someone.

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    1. thanks so much Dru! I still have the Betty Crocker cookbook and keep it for several recipes, an amazing chocolate cake and stuffed peppers:)

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  7. I love that quote about the zippy appetizers - and the cooking husbands piece! My copy of your new book is waiting at the bookstore in the next town - will pick it up tomorrow and can't wait to curl up and read it.

    I discovered Miss Parloa's New Cook Book and Marketing Guide when I started writing books set in the late nineteenth century. First published in 1880, it was updated in 1908. Here's a little passage from the preface:
    "Soups, Salads, Entrees, and Desserts have been treated at unusual length, because with a good acquaintance with the first three, one can set a table more healthfully, economically and elegantly than with meats or fish served in the common ways; and the light desserts could well take the place of the pies and heavy puddings of which man people are so fond."

    The sample menus in the back (Family Dinner - Fall; Children's Party; Supper for Fifty; etc.) were very useful when I wanted to describe different kinds of meals in my Quaker Midwife mysteries.

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    1. thanks Edith! I love the description from Miss Parloa's--what fun it must have been to write those scenes.

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  8. Scotland! Sounds like a great trip! I'm remembering the salmon and sticky toffee pudding from our trip. Lucy, how do you decide what recipes to put in the book? And this is making me fondly remember Peg Brackens' "I hate to cook book."

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    1. Very northern Scotland, cold and wet and drop-dead gorgeous. We had planned to have sticky toffee pudding at every meal, but we ran out of space!

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    2. Ooh, cannot wait to have proper sticky toffee pudding soon!

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  9. I just finished A Dish to Die For and loved it. I still have cookbooks from my great grandmother and from the local "farm women" cookbook they had published

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    1. thank you Terrie! I bet those old cookbooks are treasures...

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  10. I have a reprint of a cookbook from a very small Texas town from back in the 20s. It doesn't use exact measurements. One of the recipes calls for 25 cents worth of ground beef. Yeah, I need more than that. I love cozies with recipes and food and food establishments. I just love food!

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    1. You're a woman after my own heart! That's so funny, 25 cents worth of beef!

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  11. I always search for cookbooks from local churches or woman's groups, whenever I travel and some of them have proven to be great, fun reads, any number of them fodder for cozies!! Also look for old used cookbooks at thrift stores and yard sales...as much for the stories they tell as the recipes. The most worn out ones with stained pages and recipes clipped from magazines and newspapers, handwritten on scraps of paper ....
    I also have a cookbook of recipes from my own family and the stories it could tell would keep folks coming back for seconds and thirds and more!!
    But the cookbook/fiction that immediate sprang to mind when I started reading this was the Fifty Shades of Chicken!!!! What a hoot!! Had to have it for the collection, of course!!😉😉
    Loved meeting Hayley in Appetite for Murder and look forward to reading more of her story! Would love to be her neighbor!!
    Would absolutely love to add these cookbooks to my collection for many reasons! What treasures they are and stories they tell! Thank you for the chance!!

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    1. thanks for the lovely comments--you are a true lover of old cookbooks. I will have to look up 50 Shades. (I would love to be Hayley's neighbor too--she bakes the best treats:).

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  12. I love your Key West books and can't wait to come back to Key West! I collect local cookbooks whenever I can find them, usually at flea markets. They have so many great recipes. My cousin made a family cookbook when her sister got married. Our parents had 16 brothers and sisters so there was a good amount of family recipes in it! I can her grandma's bread and butter pickles every chance I get!!

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    1. thanks so much Sheila. Your family cookbook sounds like a true treasure. I make Bread and butter pickles too.

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  13. I’ve been collecting cook books for years(45)! I have one that was published in 1988 to benefit MADD(mothers against drunk drivers)that has the recipe for Fern Butter of The Fern Inn in Islamorada, FL. It’s dined the true recipe for Key Lime Pie, made with a pastry crust, NOT graham crust! I have been using this recipe for the 34yrs I’ve had the book! It was my husband’s favorite pie. I made it every year for his birthday(he passed in 2015).
    These two books would be wonderful additions to my collection.

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    1. Dawn, I've never even thought of Key Lime Pie with pastry crust. Do you add more sugar to counterbalance the tartness of the filling?

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  14. I have a copy of Julia Child’s cookbook on my shelf. The paper cover is tattered and torn, but it was my mother’s so I keep it. There’s so much history there it could easily be written into a murder mystery.

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  15. Congratulations on your new release! Loved your photos of Scotland. I wish I had grabbed my grandmother's Fannie Farmer (pub. 1920?) when I had the chance. My all-time fav: The Cape Cod Montessori School cookbook, the recipes typed on manual typewriters or hand-written and photocopied. It's like rummaging through a family recipe box.

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  16. I finished reading A Dish to Die For on Sunday and I loved it and the way you used the cookbook in it. The Key West Women's Club Cookbook excerpts that you shared in the story were very revealing of a time and of an attitude that unfortunately some Americans can't shake. There still are people who live their lives as though natural resources are endless and anything that "I" can grasp, "I" am entitled to. That message was loud and clear when applied to some men's attitudes towards women, as well. So, wow.

    My favorite part of the book was how much more we see of Nathan. This was a terrific time to introduce us to his dad and let us witness a bit of the dynamic between them.

    I have a couple of old cookbooks of my mother's and use recipes from each. There are handwritten notes and recipes in the Better Homes and Gardens one that I have also used once in a while.

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    1. Oh Judy, thank you, you're such a good friend and reader! I'm especially glad you enjoyed Nathan:). And thanks again to you and Irwin for coming to Milford!

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  17. There is nothing I like better than a cookbook and I have a collection my mother started for me way back when I married. My Betty Crocker cookbook from my H S Home Ec class is well used. I have old cookbooks up to neeer ones. I have one that has stories or snippets with the recipes that is great. I especially love some older ones and like to go back and just look thru them even if I am not cooking from them. And there is nothing Better than a book (and it is usually a mystery) that has included the recipes to go with the story.

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  18. My oldest cookbook is mimeographed pages held together with an oilcloth cover, a fundraiser from my fifth grade elementary school in 1961. It has great recipes in it, including Coca Cola Cake, the original, from-scratch German Sweet Chocolate Cake, and my favorite sweet from the lunch ladies back then, their Hungarian Coffeecake. It also has the recipe for those ubiquitous Boiled Oatmeal and Peanut Butter chocolate cookies. (Can you tell I used to have quite a sweet tooth?) Honestly, without looking, I couldn't tell you if the booklet includes any savory dishes!

    Glad to hear you had a wonderful trip to Scotland, Lucy/Roberta. Waiting so long, but sounds like it was worth the wait.

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    1. Thank you Karen! I would love to get you on this blog to make and chat about the Hungarian coffeecake...

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  19. A Dish to die for was a great read, I so enjoyed the combination of beach + the Women's Club settings. My 'historic' cookbook is Pan American's Complete Around the World Cookbook. compiled by Myra Waldo. It covers the 81 countries that Pan Am serviced back then. First ed. was 1954, my copy is from 1958. Myra comes across as a 'good soul' one who is encouraging the American cook to branch out from jello. Here is a quote from the introduction: "To those who find that many of the recipes contain onions, garlic, dried peppers, rice, and similar ingredients, it can only be said that the recipes represent the local cookery customs of the country involved."
    Apparently garlic was not a big starter back in the day, or rice?

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  20. I collect cookbooks and would love these for my collection. I enjoy mysteries that have recipes.

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  21. I love and collect these kinds of cookbooks. The ones from my area are great-the old and new ones from my town's nursing home, THEM fundraiser, all the little churches. You can look through and say "that's (so-and-so), they're a really good cook, I bet that's a good recipe." But it's soa also fun to see cookbooks from other areas- what dishes are the same, what have a slight local variation, and what recipes are completely unique to that place.

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  22. As it happens, I have been in the Westville Congregational Church! But your post reminds me that my favorite of all Joanne Harris's books is Five Quarters of the Orange, which hinges on a cook book of family recipes.

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    1. I've read Chocolat, but not Five Quarters of the Orange. Another one to add to the list!

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    2. So funny about Westville! I also haven't read Five Quarters. Going to look that up!

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  23. I have a cookbook from Ruth Wakefield the owner/cook of the Toll House Restaurant in Whitman, MA - yes, of chocolate chip cookie fame - she accidentally came up with the chocolate chip cookie in 1930. My inner Yankee loves how vintage the recipes are and the advice tidbits :)

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  24. We were cleaning up my mother’s cooking drawer, and since I am the one who likes to cook, I took most of the books (I didn’t get the Better Homes and Gardens one which I would have loved and was her favourite). There was quite a collection of Home & School, and church and Town of… publications. Since our town was only 1200 people, I knew or knew of most of the recipe contributors. As I read through or tried the recipes, I would picture these people who were mostly no longer with us.
    I decided one winter to test all the various recipes for meatloaf – a daunting challenge. It was my test to not add to the recipe and to follow it as it was written – a difficult process for me, as I am known as never following the recipes, and always starting with the triumvirate of onions, garlic and jalapeno peppers whether it be savoury or cookies. I did pretty well until I got to the next-door neighbour’s and I had to add the mix – it sure tasted better and much less boring!
    My favourite and most stained book is Fanny Farmer. It was a wedding present to me and well loved. The best pound cake – ever!

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    1. Margo, I have a small collection of Junior League and ladies' group's cookbooks from the 1960s through the early 80s. One thing that's consistent is the comparative blandness of many of the dishes. I guess jalapeno peppers only arrived on the east coast in the 90s!

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    2. Margo, how wonderful that you remember the people who contributed the recipes. I gave a meatloaf cookbook edited by Frank Bruni to my son-in-law. I doubt he's made much from it LOL

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  25. The piece about cooking husbands was hilarious and cringe-worthy at the same time. I haven't been married, but I imagine pepper is absolutely necessary from time to time. I saw my mom using heaps of pepper and she and dad were married for 56 years, til death did them part. I hope you had a wonderful time in Scotland--it's so lovely there. I have such fond memories of my week in the Orkneys.

    The novel that came to mind is the one that I am currently reading for Spanish class: COMO AGUA PARA CHOCOLATE (Like Water for Chocolate). Each chapter is set around a recipe. We are currently in the second chapter which begins with having to preserve eggs because Tita and Nacha need 170 eggs to make the wedding cake for Tita's sister's wedding (sister is marrying Tita's true love). Then there's the part about castrating roosters. If I'm understanding it correctly, the book goes back and forth between bits of the recipe and pieces of the story, in a very entertaining fashion.

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    1. Gillian, I loved LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE, in English. It's an amazing book, and the sensory descriptions are like nothing else.

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    2. I confess I've never read it. Another MUST for my list...

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  26. It's so nice to have you back Lucy! I loved A Dish to Die For! The plot was well thought out and the characters (especially her husband and father in law) were engaging. I look forward to the next book. I just hope it's not a whole year wait!

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    1. Oh you're so sweet! thank you! The next is almost done but it won't be out until August as far as I know!

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  27. Can't wait to read it.

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  28. LUCY/ROBERTA: I loved reading A DISH TO DIE FOR and enjoyed seeing your Scotland trip photos.

    A new series I am enjoying is the Caribbean Kitchen mysteries by Raquel V Reyes. Her food anthropologist sleuth Miriam uses cookbooks as recipe research for her new part-time gig as a cooking show star/Youtube sensation on a Latin morning show in Miami. I like Miriam's focus on telling cultural stories about the ingredients or the recipe's origins. I am reading an ARC of book 2, Calypso Corpses and Cooking right now..

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    1. thanks so much Grace! I have Raquel's book on my nightstand as I'm going to interview in Key West in November.

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  29. Thanks for sharing the recipe for cooking husbands. It's a gem. And congratulations on a Dish to Die For and the great reviews it's getting. In The Soup Book (1949) by Louis DeGouy (pronounced Louie de Gooey!), the author's voice comes through as clear as consomme. For example, one chapter starts with this sentence: "Alas, what crimes have been committed in the name of chowder!"

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    1. that's fabulous Mary Ann! Have you used that book in your series?

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  30. I have a few older church cookbooks that have great recipes in them. I’m sure there would also have some good recipes and fun tips. I hope you had a great time on your vacation.

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  31. I seem to bypass the community cookbooks when I look in used book stores.

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  32. As a second grade teacher in New Jersey, I introduce my students to a book called “Just Add Magic” by Cindy Callaghan. It’s a story about three friends who find a cookbook with magical recipes. Amazon Prime turned it into a series & my students love it.

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    1. What fun! I'll have to check this out for my first grade (as of today!) granddaughter!

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    2. that sounds so cute! I will make sure Thea gets one too

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  33. I don't have any of those sorts of finds but I did find a Joy of Cooking book with a number of my Mom's handwritten recipes. This was a great find as none of the family had any of her recipes.

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  34. "Do not stick any sharp implements into him to see if he is becoming tender" Oh my gosh! That made me laugh hard. I think the subtitle to that piece should be "advice to the naive bride."

    I love community cookbooks. We had a family myth dispelled by an old church cookbook. My grandmother had a special "hot milk cake" that she touted as her own creation. The church cookbook dated during her young girlhood included the same recipe someone else's name. It was still a good cake, and she made it really well, so who's to say she didn't improve it enough to call it her own? Well, that's one explanation!

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    1. And that right there sounds like a potential grounds for murder in the right hands, CD...

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  35. Congratulations, Lucy! I don't have any fancy cookbooks, just my tried-and-true Betty Crocker.

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    1. Liz, my mom gave me the mass market paperback edition of Betty Crocker in 1984, when I moved into my first apartment. They had "updated" Betty, and on the cover she looks like she runs a Republican Woman's caucus circa 1979 :-) I still cook recipes from that book, despite the fact I've lost the entire index and it's in three pieces held together by a rubber band. No notes my children will be charmed to read - just amount conversions and lots and lots of mysterious stains.

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    2. Julia, too funny. Mine also has mysterious stains, but no notes. I have the old 3-ring binder version and many of the pages are hanging in there by one hole. :)

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    3. I don't think I have Betty Crocker! Your kids are going to be fighting over that book Julia!

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  36. Congratulations on the wonderful new book!
    I love old cookbooks. You just never know what unexpected insights they will offer.

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  37. This is Gigi Norwood. I finished "A Dish to Die For" yesterday, and really enjoyed it. I particularly liked the way tastes had changed from the old cookbook, with its recipes for turtle soup, and modern tastes that shudder at the thought of serving an endangered species. One of my favorite community cookbooks was published by the hospital where I used to work. All those health workers, sharing their favorite recipes for foods loaded with salt, fat, and all the stuff the health experts told us to avoid. That stuff was delicious!

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  38. I really enjoy my cookbook collection. There is so much history in recipes. Each book tells a story of the people of the region. Would love to add these to my collection😊

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  39. No cookbook to share, but I'm reading an interesting spy novel right now, Red Sparrow, by Jason Matthews. At the end of each chapter he provides a short recipe that relates to what happened in the chapter. Since there are 41 chapters, this could almost add up to a cookbook of sorts.🙂

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    1. Elizabeth, I'm certain I read about that novel, so interesting. You wouldn't think of a spy novel with recipes!

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  40. I love cookbooks that have stories that go along with the recipes. These days, I’m not really inclined to use recipes that have lots of steps and ingredients, though, as most recipes in old cookbooks do. I want to get in and out of the kitchen as quickly as possible!

    I plan to see you at Barnes and Noble. I’ll probably wear a mask!

    DebRo

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  41. Lucy, I finish A Dish to Die For over the weekend and enjoyed it so much! Loved being back in Key West, loved the cookbooks and the Women's Club, and especially loved seeing how Haley and Nathan's relationship is progressing. And Nathan's dad!

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  42. Just love cozys with recipes in them and adore when cookbooks come out of the series. My first cozy cookbook purchase was from the series "The Cat Who" by Lilian Jackson Braun. Love her book series. So sorry she has passed. Am looking forward to reading your series soon.

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    1. thanks April, hope you enjoy the series! I do have plans for a cookbook, it's hard to fit everything in!

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  43. What wonderful stories you have created from old cookbooks, Lucy! I had many cookbooks, not neceassarily old ones but they were lost in my fires. My sister found an old cookbook, just like the one my mother had, Searchlight Recipe Book, first copyrighted in 1931. There are hundreds of recipes and how-tos. How to make gelatin desserts, not using Jell-o. No canned soups. Many cookie and other baked goods made using no eggs at all. A fascinating look into that time between wars, during the Depression.

    My favorite cookbooks are always regional, the kind that church people put together. In those books are some of the best recipes. if anyone is lucky enough to have one of those books from Schoharie County, NY, there is sure to be a recipe for Chocolate Jumbles, a favorite cookie of the locals and unheard of almost anywhere else. But it's not Christmas without them, although they are very tasty any time of year. I have my great aunt's recipe. This cookie is chocolate, flavored with molasses and a bit of cloves. The stiff dough is chilled and rolled out, then cut into a doughnut shape. After it is baked, it is lightly frosted with vanilla frosting. You should know there are as many variations to the recipe as there are bakers, but they all end up looking and tasting pretty much the same. Some people use a cup of coffee in the recipe; some don't. It might be heresy but I have even been known to make them as a drop cookie. They don't exactly look right but they taste just the same.

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    1. Oh Judi, awful about losing cookbooks in fire! thanks for the Chocolate Jumble story!

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  44. I know this may sound strange. I don't cook but I love to read cookbooks especially vintage ones. There are some amazing stories there if you know where to look for them.

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    1. Oh not, not strange! Lots of people who don't cook love to read cookbooks

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  45. I have a number of cookbooks put together by women's clubs, churches, alumnae groups, etc. Mostly from Texas, Louisiana, Minnesota, and Ohio. Recipe for hot dish anyone? One of my favorites is Recipes and Reminiscences of New Orleans, published by those connected to The Ursuline Convent or Ursuline Academy. Each chapter has a wonderful history lesson relating to the Creoles or early settlers in the area, and the knowledge they brought with them from France and how it was adapted to Louisiana.
    Pat D

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  46. LOVE all the foodie aspects of the Key West series, especially the recipe book references.

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  47. I like my Nancy Drew cookbook for fun.

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  48. Congratulations on "A Dish To Die For"! I love cookbooks and have quite a few cookbooks. I like the local cookbooks because they have regional and family recipes and some really delicious treats.

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  49. I’m currently reading “A Dish To Die For”
    As with the prior books I’m loving every word. My feelings are as long the flow continues there are more books in this series. Traveling to KW several times a year I love connecting with the books and places in them. I even did a selfie with “Lorenzo” at Mallory Square. Thanks for the experiences.

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  50. A DISH TO DIE FOR is such fun! . . . and so twisty! <3 Your cookbook illustrations above reminded me of the I HATE TO COOK books, decent recipes and enough snark to entertain. They got me through many meals in the '70s. The husband recipe? Reminds of of a satirical book COOKING WITH GIFTED CHILDREN.

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  51. Congratulations on the publication of your latest book, which I devoured immediately. The Recipe for Cooking Husbands is hilarious. I'm excited to be in the running for a copy of the Key West Cookbook, as I tried, unsuccessfully, to find a copy as soon as I read about it. Even my favorite used bookstore, Omnivore Books in San Francisco, failed to turn up a copy.

    Culinary mysteries are a special treat for me, and I love the idea of going through my cookbook collection with an eye to a good mystery. My oldest and best-loved cookbook is my mom's 1950 Betty Crocker Cookbook, which I learned to cook from. It's missing the cover and first 30 pages, has food spatters galore, and is a treasure to me, a reminder of marvelous times with Mom.

    Of all the books on my kitchen shelf, the one that strikes me as being richest with possibilities is Freda DeKnight's "A Date with a Dish: Classic African-American Recipes," originally published in 1962. DeKnight was the first food editor of Ebony magazine, signing on in 1946, the year after the magazine's founding. Her cookbook is a fascinating look into her times (there's a recipe for stewed turtle, which I reacted to with the same queasiness that Hayley felt when encountering it in the Key West cookbook), and the recipes cover the world, not just the American South. I highly recommend it for cooks and history buffs.

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    1. thanks a bunch Lynda, the DeKnight book sounds fascinating!

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  52. I love all of your books and have read them all I hope you continue this series! My dream is to live in key West one day. I miss it so! Ever since covid struck, sadly, I have not been back. I have recently taken on learning how to cook and would love some vintage key West cookbooks to add to my book collection and to hopefully take down to the keys when I move there in the future :-)

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  53. Please see my comment on the original post the morning. FRED POHL.

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  54. PS The best cookbook ever. "The Settlement Cookbook" by Lizzie Black Kander who, if you've never heard of her, probably deserves a blog entry. It went into dozens of editions. I have my grandmother's and my mom's and two of my own. I grew up poring over it.

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    1. Ellen, I've definitely heard of it but I don't own one. Will look her up!

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  55. I have a couple local Junior League cookbooks I received from my mother in law. I have also enjoyed reading Peg Bracken's cookbooks.

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  56. I have a life long fascination with cookbooks

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  57. LUCY: I forgot to comment yesterday with too much to do yesterday! Yes, I have a wonderful cookbook that could be fodder for a story. When I was two years old, I enrolled at a special school for children who were both born Deaf and early deafened due to illness. My Mom, who loves to bake and cook, teamed up with other mothers, teachers and staff to put together a cookbook to raise funds for the school. I still have the cookbook.

    Trying to think of a cookbook to add to your list. I have so many! My former nanny went on to become a chef in California. She caught pneumonia from me and luckily she got treatment while my pneumonia proceeded to become meningitis. I have often thought that if Margaret Fox became deaf as a result of meningitis (If pneumonia was untreated), then she could still become a Chef.

    Think the title of her cookbooks are: Morning Food ? Evening Food? by Margaret Fox and ?? Bear.

    She was the owner of Cafe Beaujolais and Chef. The restaurant was in Mendocino.

    Diana

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  58. I found an old Betty Crocker cookbook for my mom. Hers was from 1950 and burned in her house fire. I have some older cookbooks too.
    Thank you for the chance
    Your new book sounds so interesting and fun to read..

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  59. Hank Phillippi RyanAugust 24, 2022 at 6:07 PM

    Running in so very very late! But Lucie, congratulations! And I am still waiting to meet a suave novelist at a cocktail party, limp celery or not :-) I love this so much, and you are fabulous. xxxxx

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  60. I also collect Florida cook books but I don't think I have these. I loved Lucy's latest book.

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  61. I started collecting vintage Florida cookbooks when my grandmother lived there in the 70s. She always made an amazing Key Lime pie from limes on a tree in her yard. I love the Lucy Burdette mysteries set in Key West! I hope to visit there one day.

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    1. Oh thank you Debra! How lucky to have those memories of your grandmother and her key lime tree!

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  62. Thanks everyone for the lovely comments--I'm so far behind that I haven't gotten to answer all of them. Behind on getting Tbone to choose winners too--we promise this will happen tomorrow!!

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  63. I love old cookbooks and have several of my grandmothers plus an old Betty Crocker cookbook of my moms- use my grandmothers often! Thanks for the chance to win! Luvs2read4fun (at) gmail (dot) com

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  64. thank you for all the amazing comments about cookbooks and the Key West mysteries this week. I'm sorry I only have two to give away.

    The Key West Woman's Club Cookbook 1949: Debra Ball

    The Key West Woman's Club Cookbook 1988: Tina D.

    Also Tbone suggested we give away runner-up prizes, your choice of any Key West mystery or UNSAFE HAVEN to Patty Jean, Lynda, Shelia, and Debra T. Email me at raisleib at gmail dot com to claim your prize!

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