Guest Post- Tina Kashian!


Breaking News! The winner of Tina’s giveaway is Kay Garrett! Kay please contact Tina at to receive your book!

Jessie: In New Hampshire, hunkered down under a foot of fresh snow!

I had the very great pleasure of meeting the sparkling and lovely Tina Kashian last year at the Sisters in Crime Breakfast at the Malice Domestic conference. We began chatting, as one always does when surrounded by other mystery enthusiasts, and during the course of conversation we realized we shared a publisher. So, of course, I asked her to visit here at the Wickeds as soon as her book was out. The time has come so I hope you will join me in welcoming her here today! 

I love to cook, but I wasn’t born a good cook. It’s a skill that I’ve practiced and grown to Hummus and Homicide - Final Coverenjoy. I also love all different types of cuisine—Mediterranean, Italian, Chinese, and a good American cheeseburger. My mother, on the other hand, was a talented cook. She could taste a dish, then replicate it without a recipe. My parents owned a restaurant for thirty years and food was an important part of our family. I’d often come home from school to the delicious aromas of simmering grape leaves, stuffed peppers and tomatoes, and shish kebab.

But I am more like my heroine in my debut cozy mystery, “Hummus and Homicide.” Lucy is the only person in her family who can’t cook. Her mother, Angela, is a chef, and her father, Raffi, grew up knowing how to grill the perfect shish kebab. Since returning home to Ocean Crest at the Jersey shore and her parent’s Mediterranean restaurant, Kebab Kitchen, Lucy is determined to learn how to prepare a meal. She’s receiving cooking lessons from her mother. We’ll see how it goes…

As for me, I have fond memories of watching my mother in the kitchen. I’d stand by her side with a pen and paper in hand and scribble detailed notes. She never used a recipe. I’d ask, “How much of that?” She’d say a handful or a pinch. It drove me nuts! Our handfuls were not the same. Years later, my mother passed away. When I try to prepare her dishes, they never seem to come out just like hers. Maybe it’s the memory I’m holding onto more than the taste of the food.

Tina Gabrielle Author PhotoBut I am writing down my recipes for my two young girls. No more handfuls or pinches of anything. If my girls decide to make a dish, then I’d like them to have a recipe to follow.

I’m excited about the release of “Hummus and Homicide.” I also had great fun coming up with the other titles—Stabbed in the Baklava (September 2018) and One Feta in the Grave (February 2019). All the titles are puns on food and reflect the light and funny feel of the cozy mysteries.

So, readers, what is your talent or favorite hobby? Did you have to work at it or was it natural? Please comment for a chance to win a copy of “Hummus and Homicide.” Ebook or print (U.S. only). Your choice!

53 Thoughts

  1. Hi, Tina. Hummus, baklava, and feta–I’m hungry! I come from a line of great cooks (Louisiana French) but I have one or two of my grandmothers’ recipes because they both cooked from memory. Good for you for writing down recipes for your daughters.

    1. Hi Romana! I also love Louisiana French food, especially jambalaya as long as it’s not too spicy. You’re lucky that you have your grandmothers recipes, too. I don’t want to make the same mistake with my kids so I am writing everything down.

  2. my cooking focuses these days on a tricky trio of gluten free, dairy free and very low sodium. But photography has been my favorite hobby for many years. I had “an eye” but needed to learn technique. Belonging to photo clubs, doing darkroom work with smart photographers, even entering a few contests all helped my develop sy skills. Kind of like developing my talent as a writer, come to think of it! All the best with your series, Tina! –Kate, writing as CT Collier

    1. I have friends who are gluten free. But to also add diary free would be hard. Photography sounds very interesting. My middle school daughter can take a photography class next year and I’m encouraging her to sign up. Do they still have darkrooms with digital photography? She asked me and I wasn’t sure. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Welcome to the blog, Tina, and to Kensington – it’s a great publishing home. Congratulations on the debut series! I am more than a passable cook, I’d say, and have already shared my grandmothers’ and mother’s recipes with my adult sons – both good cooks, themselves.

  4. Oh my goodness, I just hit the publish button on my wordpress post for my review of Hummus and Homicide seconds before I saw this. It was excellent! I listened to the audiobook version and the narrator did an outstanding job. I’m looking forward to Stabbed in the Baklava.
    Reading and blogging are my favorite hobbies. I went through a cooking phase, but now that I’m older and can’t cook the way I’d like with all the fat and salt and sugar that makes everything taste delicious, it’s not a favorite pastime anymore. But I still have happy moments cooking in the kitchen when I’m making a particular meal I enjoy.

    1. Thank you for having me today, Edith! It’s a pleasure to blog with all of you. I’m impressed both of your sons like to cook. My husband is still learning!

    2. Thank you so much for posting a review! It really helps all authors. I’m happy you enjoyed the book, and “Stabbed in the Baklava” will release in August. I understand cooking without fat, sugar, and salt to be healthy. I try to limit the amount of fat and red meat we eat. Like you, I also love to read. Especially during the cold winter months! I’ve been reading a lot of young adult books to my kids and we enjoying spending the time together.

  5. Hmm my hobby used to be baking and cooking but now my husband has taken over that and I knit and sew instead (and enjoy what comes out of the kitchen lol)

    Hmm if I am lucky enough to win an ebook my address is 😀

    1. Hello! I like the picture of your cute dog :). You are fortunate your husband enjoys baking and cooking. How nice! I can’t knit, but I have been trying embroidery. I’m a beginner, but it does help relieve stress.

  6. Welcome, Tina! Congratulations on the new series. I get hungry reading the titles! I’m not that great of a cook but I think it’s because it doesn’t interest me much. My mom is a wonderful cook and baker. Fortunately, for me she does use recipes.

    1. Hi Sherry! Thank you for hosting me today with the Wickeds. My mother was a much more talented cook and baker, and I can never compare. I cook for enjoyment and to feed the family. But my favorite pastime is still reading. Nothing better!

  7. I, too, love to cook/bake. My Mom was also one of the greatest cooks and didn’t have to use measure devices to get things tasting superb. Unfortunately her memory left the earth before her body was ready for her heavenly home so I started missing spending time with her in the kitchen a good time before her passing.

    However, I was fortunate in the sense that another great heartache in my life allowed for me to get some of Mom’s treasures from the kitchen written down. When we daughter died at the age of 17, my world needless to say was in great turmoil. I was a homemaker taking care of my family including my parents and there was a void that needed filled with something. I took my love of the kitchen and decided once and for all to make a tried and true recipe cookbook of nothing but family recipes. I shadowed Mom in the kitchen. When she would put spices in her hand, I would stop her and we would measure them to have an amount to write down as I saved her recipes for all time sake. Then it was a matter of me making the recipe just as I had written down with Mom watching and tasting to make any adjustments I needed to make. Once that was accomplished, I used the computer to get the recipes typed up and in order according to category (cakes, pies, pasta, casseroles, etc.). I even put in things like equivalent charts, spice descriptions and helpful hints for the back of the book. Then I printed them out putting the sheets in protective sleeves and put it all in a binder. If I do say so myself, it turned out rather well. In fact, I made 3 copies of it – for myself, my husband’s Mom and my Mom. I gave the two as Christmas presents that year with a dedication page in front dedicating it to our daughter, Jenet. Mom’s copy went to a dear friend after Mom passed.

    I’m extremely thankful since Mom’s passing and since I turned into the “main” cook to have this family recipe cookbook. It’s my go to book when it comes to cooking. I’m also very thankful that Mom was patient with me during the process and that she realized that I NEEDED to do this for more than one reason.

    Thank you so much for the chance to win a copy of “Hummus and Homicide.” I’ve been wanting to read this ever since I first heard about it.

    May you have many wonderful adventures in the kitchen!

    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. Hi Kay! You’re story is very touching. It sounds like you have wonderful memories of your mother in the kitchen. Good for you that you had the foresight to write everything down and create your own cookbook and pass it on to your family and friends. I’m sure they value it! You have inspired me to do something similar and pass it to my young girls when they get older.

  8. Thank you for sharing your stroy. The book looks great! Reading is my favorite hobby; it has always come naturally to me! Thank you for the chance to win!

  9. I knit, crochet, and quilt (but I am on an extended break from all of them because my shoulder has been objecting to overuse). I do a GREAT roast turkey.

    1. Hi Barbara, I never learned how to knit, crochet, or quilt, but I’d like to. Shoulder pain is the worst. But cooking a great roast turkey comes in handy for holidays!

  10. My mom can cook but she has a limited repertoire that she sticks to and my MIL is even more limited, so my husband and I have been left to our own devices in that area, with some pretty decent results. We like to try new things but because we both work, we don’t always get the opportunity. He’s more the cook and I’m the baker, so it works out pretty well.

    1. Hi Kristin, I grew up in the restaurant business and we used to eat at our family restaurant a lot. My parents worked weekends and most holidays. I still enjoy eating out. Who doesn’t? My love of cooking didn’t strike until I was older. It comes in handy now with the kids.

  11. I learned to cook early on – my mother always let me watch her in the kitchen when I was little. I’ve continued to explore and develop my talent for it over the years, and I still truly enjoy it. I love the idea of a cozy mystery series set in a family restaurant. Congratulations on the new release!

    1. Thanks Autumn! You’re lucky your mother let you watch when you were little. She used to shoo me away when I was young. It wasn’t until I was older that she let me watch. Thanks for commenting!

  12. Welcome, Tina! I used to cross-stitch, but I put that away when the kids were little because they liked to play with the pretty colored thread. I also play the piano and violin, but I haven’t done those in years (do you sense a theme here?). And of course I write. 🙂

    I like to cook – say if we have friends or family over. I don’t like making dinner. My husband often confuses my dislike of one for the other.

    1. Hi Liz! I know what you mean about stopping hobbies when the kids are little. Mine are a bit older, but that means I spend a lot of free time driving them to activities. I often joke my new hobby is chauffeuring.

  13. Tina, this book sounds great! I am reminded hat I need to take my Moms handwritten recipes and put them into a little book for my niece and nephew.

    I am a glass artist, never having taken art in school I was seeing glass art I loved and signed up for a beginner class,fell in love with creating my own work and thirteen years later I still love it!

  14. I learned to cook in self defense. My mother didn’t consider a piece of meat cooked until it was overdone. I’m also a musician (trumpet, guitar, drums and sax) and have everything but a sax in the house. When the mood strikes I’ll play one or the other. Food wise I’ve cooked for private parties and also family get togethers.

    1. I love how you describe it — self defense! It made me laugh. You have lots of musical talent if you can play all those instruments. I used to play the flute, and I passed my instrument down to my daughter. I’m happy it is getting some use. We inherited a piano from my mother. I wish I learned how to play! My parents payed for my older siblings to learn, but they never had an interest. I was the youngest and they ran out of money. At least the piano is getting use. My other daughter is taking piano lessons and likes it.

      1. DD#1’s bestie plays the flute. She studied at Juliard and spent summers at music camp. She still plays occasionally for weddings with a Quartet.

  15. Congratulations on your debut, Tina and welcome to the Wickeds blog.

    The Christmas before she died my grandmother made a book of handwritten recipe cards for my sister-in-law and for me. She was an excellent cook and hostess and she included German recipes handed down from her mother’s mother. I am so happy to have them. She also included a lot of recipes involving Campbell’s soup, Flako, Crisco, Jello and other things no longer commonly found in kitchens, which endlessly amuse me, and a couple of which a very, very good.

    1. Hi Barbara! Thank you for hosting me at the Wickeds today. How fortunate that your grandmother left you a handwritten recipe book! I’d cherish that. My mother-in-law is Irish and German. I need to ask her to make me a recipe book. I love her soda bread and corned beef and cabbage recipe for St. Patrick’s Day.

  16. It’s been years since I really cooked anything, but I certainly do need a recipe to follow. Otherwise, I’m lost.

    I’ve found that I have to work at most things, but those I truly enjoy the most don’t usually feel like work.

    1. Hi Mark! That’s very true. The things we love don’t feel like work at all. I’m not a huge gardener (I’m working on this), and sometimes it can feel like hard work. It doesn’t help that I suffer from seasonal allergies.

  17. My mom was a caterer so I grew up around food preparation and did my share of helping out. However, the interest didn’t transfer. I’m a decent cook, but don’t do it as often as I should. Fortunately, my hubby is very tolerant and will eat anything I fix no matter how much of it is made by sticking a frozen dinner in the microwave or opening boxes and cans of stuff from the cupboard. In the past, I did lots of different kinds of needlework. I’m a very good photographer (and used to do my own darkroom work). Now that I’m retired, I enjoy working in my yard and doing things in the house like painting the walls!

    I look forward to reading your series. I love good pun titles and I love to read about eating. Just wish it didn’t make me so hungry!

    1. How neat that your mother was a caterer. I didn’t get to cook in the family restaurant. I was a waitress and hostess. I guess if I had to cook all day, then I wouldn’t like it as much. I’m glad you like the “Hummus and Homicide” title. Coming up with cozy titles is a lot of fun.

  18. When it comes to cooking, I tend to look in the cupboard & fridge & put something together. I only use recipes if I’m baking a dessert & not always then. I love my plants, flowers & reading constantly.

    1. We share a love of reading then! I was an avid reader since I was a teen. I’m thrilled both my girls love to the read and hope it continues as the get older.

    1. Oh no! I do not have a green thumb, but I am working on this. I have several indoor plants which are thriving. I think it’s outdoor gardening that I need to improve. After I take an allergy pill, of course!

      1. I have four indoor plants that live in spite of me. But I do pretty well outside.

  19. While I love cooking, reading etc. my one strange occasional hobby is finding old toys (usually dolls or stuffed animals) to completely clean and refurbish for later gifts or for charities (it’s the only way my daughter became a proud owner of American Girl Dolls- something I couldn’t believe people threw away!).
    This also gets me thinking about a time when my whole family was snowbound–My husband had agreed to help two of our kids make over a hundred dolmas for their school’s international day (representing Armenia). I was also at the kitchen table carefully cleaning off junked-over Barbies for our girl scout troop to turn them into Icelandic fairies (at the time it all made sense). By the time we realized what we thought was a snow squall was in reality a week long blizzard, we were swimming in stuffed grape leaves and newly clean dolls ready for their wings. Our neighborhood was cut off from the main roads for a few days, and when it was over I think every neighbor must have had either a few fairy dolls or dolmas in their house, thanks to the visits from neighborhood kids.
    Your book sounds like so much fun!

    1. Hi Sarah! Oh my! I can’t imagine making over a hundred dolmas and stuffed grape leaves. That must have taken forever. I give you and your husband a lot of credit for taking on such a big task! At least, the neighbors had a chance to enjoy the food. Your post is very entertaining, especially since we had a big snow storm this week and more snow is expected next week. I think I’ll make brownies with the kids. I also think it is very neat how you refurbishing old toys. People throw away everything! I can’t imagine tossing an expensive American Girl Doll. We have two and they cost a lot. I’d rather pass them down to another young girl.

  20. While I can’t replicate a recipe just by tasting it, I do feel I’m a pretty good cook/baker. I love to take a recipe and make it my own, changing it to suit my family.
    I think I’m a decent cook because I would watch my Aunt, when little and then when I was older, would help my Aunt cook. She, like my Grandmother (who passed away when I was 2), was a very good cook and loved spending time in the kitchen and creating wonderful meals.
    I think I honed my skills by doing all the cooking as I was growing up. It was just my Mom and I and she worked full-time and hated to cook so I took on that job. She was so bad that when we went to visit her (when my kids were young), she tried to make grilled cheese and ended up burning the sandwiches so badly that it left a permanent shadow on the non-stick pan.
    When our local group has our pasta dinner fundraiser each year, I’m usually the one that makes the Marinara Sauce and the meatballs along with either lasagna or stuffed shells.
    Thank you for the chance to win. The book sounds wonderful.
    Margaret: scarletbegonia5858(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. Oh, I love a good marinara sauce. I love pasta too, but I’ve been trying to limit the carbs. I’m not so good at that because I also love chocolate. But I’m trying!

  21. My mother was a wonderful cook and baker with credit to my dad who ate anything. I learned after she got sick and had to coach me before she died. I enjoy cooking. I try to bake sometimes but don’t do that as well. With cooking I can improvise but with baking you have to measure a lot.

    My favorite hobby is reading but I also garden and do jigsaw puzzles. Looking forward to reading your book.

    1. Hi Sally! I don’t bake as well as I cook. My mother-in-law is a great baker, but not a great cook. I guess for most of us, it’s one or the other. Thanks for commenting!

  22. Reading is my favorite hobby. You authors do all the hard work. I just sit back & enjoy.

  23. My hobbies are my farm. Have to work at it. Also, guitar and quilting. Both of which I have to work at. AND having to shovel out of that foot of snow, which you and I had to work at. LOL I love retirement.

    1. Hi Karen! How interesting that you have a farm. I had a friend that was a farmer. She always gave me the most delicious strawberries every summer. I never learned how to play guitar, but I’ve always wanted to learn. Yes, to the snow. We have lots of branches and debris to pick up this weekend.

    1. Hi Linda. I wish I learned how to scrapbook. I have a lot of pictures and I put them in photo boxes, not even in albums. I stopped printing most of my pictures and keep them digitally. But it is not as nice as opening an album to share with family and friends.

  24. My only talent is walking and chewing gum (that’s an old joke, probably before your time).
    My hobby is reading or watching TV. I lead such a thrilling life since I’m retired.

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