Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Cozy Food (Guest Post By Nancy Lynn Jarvis)

Today I bring you another guest post, this time from fellow Santa Cruz mystery writer, Nancy Lynn Javis, who has recently compiled and edited a cookbook featuring recipes from cozy mysteries:

A little thing like murder shouldn’t make us miss a meal.

We’ve all heard of Nero Wolfe, the gourmand and gourmet detective for whom food played a prominent role, and we all know who Miss Marple is. If you can imagine those two crime solvers creating a genre, surely it would be called the cozy mystery. In cozies, amateur sleuths solve crimes while still working their day jobs and eating every chance they get. Murder, mystery, and food go together well—so well that many modern mysteries come with recipes printed within their pages.

That affinity was the inspiration for Cozy Food—128 Cozy Mystery Writers Share Their Favorite Recipes. It seems that cozy writers are as obsessed with food as are their readers, so it didn’t take much cajoling to get 128 authors to submit recipes from their books, along with personal stories, for a cozy cookbook.

The 220 recipes in Cozy Food come from books involving amateur detectives who work as event planners, real estate agents, book store owners, crafters, journalists, and culinary masters, as well as from those who put their food on the table in less conventional ways: working as morticians, square dance callers, and fugitives hiding in plain sight in dead end jobs, to name a few. Recipes came in related to sleuths of all ages and mental conditions, too, like one from an octogenarian cruise ship sailor who detects while dealing with short term memory loss.

The recipes come from various time-periods, as well. Most are current, but there are also recipes from the 1930s and the 1880s (one is delivered in verse) and, if the title “Dried Mammoth Meat Jerky Adapted for Cro-Magnons and Modern Humans” is to be believed, even from prehistory. There are recipes from Italy, England, Scotland, Australia, and every region of the United States; cozy mystery writers and their protagonists get around.

Cozy Food has fabulous recipes for traditional meals from breakfast through dinner, with a big bulge in the middle for all things sweet and dessert. But there’s also a “Quick, Easy, Quirky, Saucy & Even Pet Treats” section to handle recipes that don’t fit in more conventional categories. In that section, you can learn how to use cookies and frosting to make miniature hamburgers, use real White Castle hamburgers to make pâté, or use catnip to make burgers for you kitty. There are even a few pages with outtake comments like the one from a hesitant author who said, “I haven’t done many recipes; I prefer to work in less perishable materials.”

Cozy Food is a cookbook filled with the wit, inventiveness, and adventure found in cozy mysteries. The recipes are introduced by their authors and linked to writer bios in the back of the book. You can look up a cozy writer and see which recipes are their favorites, or you can enjoy a dish and then link to the recipe author’s biography and books.

list of authors included in Cozy Food

What ever way you enjoy the cookbook, you’re sure to find great new recipes to make, and terrific new cozy authors to read.

Nancy Lynn Jarvis has followed a checkered occupational path. After earning a BA in behavioral science from San Jose State University, she worked in the advertising department of the San Jose Mercury News. A move to Santa Cruz meant a new job as a librarian and later a stint as the business manager for Shakespeare Santa Cruz at UCSC. A career in real estate followed and gave her great details and ideas for the Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries series she writes. Finally acknowledging she’s having too much fun writing to ever sell another house, however, she let her license lapse in May of 2013. For anyone interested in her books, they are available at Bookshop Santa Cruz as well as Amazon.

1 comment:

  1. Leslie, Thanks for having me on Custard and Clues and for letting your readers see all of the co-authors of Cozy Food. Mystery writers are there; doing Cozy Food was a blast.