It’s been a long time since I did a quiz but this week I found a fun one in Entertainment Weekly, entitled “Playing With Food.” I’m rectifying their mystifying failure to interview a non-famous scifi romance author about these “burning culinary questions” LOL.
I’m not a foodie. My mother cooked from a very basic 1950’s cookbook and my Dad was a meat and potatoes guy, seasoned with a ton of salt. I have an uneducated palate and firmly believe bacon bits and ketchup are miracle foods. And chocolate! Despite this, one of my favorite reality TV shows is “Top Chef.” I’m endlessly fascinated by the creativity and passion of the chefs and how they can create these amazing dishes out of a few ingredients (or a lot of ingredients depending on the challenge), and how much the entire process of feeding people means to them.
If you had to identify as a type of cheese: My all time favorite was “butter cheese”, which is the best I can do to recall the name, from Hickory Farms. I liked it on their special crackers. Sadly, I’ve got allergies to most cheeses now but I can still eat string cheese, Swiss cheese and Monterey Jack. Which cheese would **I** be? Hmmm…next?
Which 3 fictional guests would you invite to dinner? Vasic and Ivy from Nalini Singh’s SHIELD OF WINTER. They’re two of my favorite characters. For the third, we could let Aden (another character from the series) tag along…
VS’s own question: Which 3 characters from my own books would I invite to dinner? Nick and Mara from WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM and Grant and Karissa from STAR CRUISE SONGBIRD. Well, ok that’s four. And probably one of the Mellurean characters we’ve met a few times in the various books…
If you could have dinner with any 3 real people (living or dead): Maybe not to the same dinner, but Queen Nefertiti, Jane Austen and Andre Norton.
VS’s own question: If you could have dinner with 3 authors: Nalini Singh, Jeffe Kennedy and Pauline B Jones! And for Boys’ Night dinner: John Scalzi, Michael Crichton (we’re back to living or dead guests) and Walt Disney. He might not have been an author but he was quite a story teller.
Favorite food scene from pop culture: The eerie dinner in “Beetlejuice.” “Lady and the Tramp’s romantic dinner. Any meal in “Beauty and the Beast”! I also really enjoyed the movie “The Hundred Foot Journey.” As a kid my favorite book about food was Stone Soup by Marcia Brown.
Favorite music to cook to: Actually I just go out there to the kitchen and cook. No music. I have a wooden recipe box that my Dad gave me when I got married and I have my index cards of recipes I’ve been making since I was age 7 – as mentioned above, my mother didn’t much like to cook and she would only bake a birthday cake each for my brother and me, and a lemon merigue pie for my Dad’s birthday. Since I have a prodigious sweet tooth, I taught myself to bake. Our neighbors were dairy farmers and I still use the recipe for pumpkin pie that she gave me, although it never tastes as good as hers did with home grown and canned pumpkin and milk fresh from their own cows, plus eggs from their chickens. But I do my best. She also had a wonderful chocolate cake recipe that required use of a double boiler to melt the chocolate and I always felt so accomplished when I made that cake. A double boiler – go me! A couple of years ago I got out the recipe and made it and wow – the butter! the sugar! – no wonder that cake always tasted so good. So rich….
Taste, Binge, Trash? Taste…key lime pie. Binge…honey walnut shrimp. Trash…rhubarb or artichoke hearts. I do like fried okra.
What would be my weapon of choice in a food fight? Mashed potatoes. I could fling those everywhere.
Condiment I can’t live without: Ketchup. I’ve trained myself to avoid salt (high blood pressure runs in the family).
VS question: Favorite kitchen aroma: The scent of vanilla or maybe the Thanksgiving stuffing…which reminds me I do enjoy the various kitchen and food scenes in the 1942 “Holiday Inn” movie…as well as Norman Rockwell’s painting of the big family holiday dinner. We used to have those with my Irish side of the family when I was a kid – all the aunts and uncles and cousins, gathered at my grandmother’s.
I’ve taken my love of “Top Chef” as inspiration for Chef Stephanie in the STAR CRUISE books and also had a really fun time with her re-creating as best she could the ancient Terran Thanksgiving feast, using modern (meaning far future) alternatives. The story can be found in the STAR CRUISE STOWAWAY collection of novellas and short stories on all major ebook seller sites.
And there’s Sandara, the chef in the Badari Warriors series, who readers demanded get her own book and her own Badari, after they felt I’d treated her badly in an early book (she wasn’t the heroine, shall we say, and did not get the guy). She’s the heroine of IVOKK now, using her cooking skills to solve a deadly health mystery…and I had the best time figuring out her backstory and ways to incorporate food and cooking into the scifi tale.
Proud enforcer of the Badari South Seas pack, Ivokk undertakes a secret mission back to their former home, in search of a cure for a mysterious illness affecting his soldiers, now in exile in the north. He’s ready to make any sacrifice to find the answer and help his pack brothers stay strong. He’s even willing to accept responsibility for the human woman assigned to the mission, although she’s a headstrong civilian, difficult and rumored to dislike his kind.
Sandara DiFerria was once a three star chef in the Sectors, but that was before the alien enemy kidnapped the entire adult population of her colony to use for experimentation. Rescued from the labs by the Badari, she does her part to support the rebellion now by running the vast commissary operation in Sanctuary Valley. All she asks is to be left alone until she can get back to the Sectors and pick up her old life again. Her one previous romantic brush with a Badari soldier turned out badly, ending in public humiliation. Add to that post-traumatic stress from her life before moving to the colony and she’s the last person to pick for a top secret mission. Or so she believes.
The Alpha running the pack disagrees and sends her to do the job under Ivokk’s watchful eye. Thrown together by the nature of the task they must undertake, the undeniable attraction they both feel grows. Will the dark secrets of Sandara’s hidden past create an insurmountable barrier between them? Can Ivokk and the tempestuous human chef find the answer to the Badari illness in time? Or will the elements and the enemy bring disaster?