We’d like to welcome FOW (Friend of the Wickeds) Debra Goldstein back to the blog. Two Bites Too Many, the second book in her Sarah Blair Mystery series released on September 24.
Take it away, Debra!
When I look at the beautiful made-from-scratch salads, pies, and other dishes posted on Facebook by Wickeds’ Edith Maxwell, I salivate. Unfortunately, Alabama is a bit too far away for me to invite myself over for a quick bite. Faced with the same situation, most people would simply ask Edith for her recipes, but cooking from scratch frightens me. Consequently, I do anything to avoid a kitchen.
I attribute my kitchen phobia to an elementary school cooking class. We were divided into groups and tasked with making a rhubarb crisp. Our teacher, who seemed ancient but was probably around fifty years old, explained the recipe and warned us to be careful because part of the rhubarb plant is poisonous. Sadly, by the time we went to make our dish, we realized no one in our group could remember if it was the stalks or leaves that would kill us.
We went ahead with our cooking, petrified at taking the required bite of the final product. The four of us shuddered at the thought of dying in school, while wondering if the teacher would be upset. Our first solution, burning our rhubarb crisp, failed to get us an “A” or out of tasting our food. What could we do with the teacher hovering over everyone in the classroom to make sure we each sampled our rhubarb crisp? Perhaps it was foreshadowing of my career to come, but I devised the plan to save us from certain death. Our group each stabbed a forkful of rhubarb crisp under our teacher’s watchful eye, but when she glanced at another group of students, we tossed our tastes under the metal prep tables where we sat.
It worked, but from that day on cooking from scratch terrified me. Consequently, when I began writing Kensington’s Sarah Blair series, I imparted my fear of the kitchen to Sarah. I also gave her some of the workarounds I use to feed my family and friends. In One Taste Too Many, the first book in the series, two of Sarah’s recipes are Jell-O in a Can and Spinach Pie made with Stouffers Spinach Souffle. The book published this week, Two Bites Too Many, features Sarah’s Sweet Potato Puffs the Convenient Way and a Howellian Catnip Wine Spritzer. Thanks to the pre-made ingredients in each of these recipes, I know I’m not offering anyone anything to eat or drink that will kill them. At least, I think I’m not.
The proof of this has been, as they say, in the pudding. During the past few months, when I’ve talked to groups about the Sarah Blair series, the snacks served come from my recipes. Even though none of my featured dishes are made from scratch like Edith’s, I think you’ll agree some, like the pictured Jell-O in a Can, look almost as good as hers.
Readers: Do you have any easy recipes or cooking tips you’d like to share with Sarah (which means me)?
About the book
Things are finally looking up for Sarah Blair following her unsavory divorce. Settled into a cozy carriage house with her Siamese cat, RahRah, she has somehow managed to hang on to her law firm receptionist job and – if befriending flea-bitten strays at the local animal shelter counts – lead a thriving social life. For once, Sarah almost has it together more than her enterprising twin, Emily, a professional chef whose efforts to open a gourmet restaurant have hit a real dead end… When the president of the town bank is murdered after icing Emily’s business plans, all eyes are on the one person who left the scene with blood on her hands – the twins’ sharp-tongued mother, Maybelle. Determined to get her mom off the hook ASAP, Sarah must collect the ingredients of a deadly crime to bring the true culprit to justice. But as neighbors turn against her family, can she pare down the suspects before another victim lands on the chopping block.