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Welcome Back, Devon Delaney and a #giveaway

Welcome back to the blog, Devon Delaney, who’s just released Double Chocolate Cookie Murder, the fifth book in her Cook-Off Mystery Series. Devon is giving away a copy of her new book to one lucky commenter below.

Here’s the blurb

Sherry Oliveri is used to competing in cook-offs, but this time she’s serving as a judge. The upside is that she gets to taste all the contestants’ cookies. The downside is that one of the bakers will wind up dead . . .
It’s the long Thanksgiving weekend, and between cooking for her family and working her dad’s store for Black Friday, Sherry has a full plate. Next, she has to judge the big cookie contest—and among the many entrants is her old high school home ec teacher, Mr. Currier.
For old time’s sake, Sherry invites him over for dinner, although sadly, the reunion will be short-lived. The next day, the prizes at the bake-off go missing—and later turn up at the marina, along with her ex-teacher’s body. Now Sherry has to find out who would do such a thing . . .
Includes Recipes from Sherry’s Kitchen!

One of the things we love about Devon’s books is that she really lives in the world in which her stories are set. She’s a real-life competitive cook.

Take it away, Devon!

Next month I’m competing in the National Mushroom Cook-off held at the mushroom capital of the United States, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. This month the sixth book in my cooking competition murder mystery series was released. I’m not anticipating a murder at the cook-off, but I am looking forward to collecting more fodder for my series. As a finalist I’m privy to behind-the-scenes situations the audience my never be aware of. It’s up to me to choose whether any organizational snafu or competitor tension may be the foundation for my next mystery plot.  

I’d tell you the title and ingredients of the recipe I’m competing with but because of pre-contest confidentiality agreements, well, you know I’d have to kill you. Just kidding. I’m willing to divulge my recipe to anyone who asks. I like to think I’ve created a recipe unlike others and one that got the judges attention for all the right reasons. If someone wants to abscond with my secret formula for a possible winning mushroom recipe then so be it. That scenario has played out in the cooking contest world. One cook may have made their recipe too well known before the contest entry date and voila an identical recipe showed up in the contest. Hard to know which recipe was conceived first but the problem was one of the cooks involved was very prolific in cook-off winning circles. A David and Goliath situation. It’s easy to understand how years of competing broadened my imagination, somewhat darkly on occasion.

Back to my mushroom cook-off. The contest has one terribly important constraint. The rules specify, five ingredients or less. The only free ingredients are salt, pepper and water. AND! The recipe must be prepared in thirty minutes or less. Thank you, COVID. I attribute these handcuffing constraints to you. The contest officials don’t want too many people hanging around bunched up together for too long. The good news is I love tight constraints in contests. I love mushrooms. I was the grand prize winner four years ago, so I am wise to the ways of the mushroom cook-off.

Having just written this last paragraph my mind immediately races to, wouldn’t I make a fine victim should someone want to eliminate the person perceived as the stiffest competition. Yes, should I mysteriously disappear, I’d be replaced by a reserve, that is quite common. Well, wish me luck. I’m going in with an open mind to cook relaxed while noting any unusual behavior by the cooks next to me. Hope I can stay focused on the tasks at hand. The competition is stiff. Defending my past title could take more than just a great recipe, if you know what I mean.

Readers: Does the world of competitive cooking appeal to you? Do you watch any cooking shows on TV? Answer the question in the comments or just say “hi” to be entered to win a copy of Double Chocolate Cookie Murder!

Devon Delaney
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