It’s Spring, a time for new beginnings, new novels, and how about new recipes? We Rogues and many of our readers love to learn about new concoctions. When we stage our premier monthly events, Rogue Reads, where we invite bestselling authors to “zoom in” and discuss their new novels, we often include the ingredients in their favorite cocktails. Check our website to register for the next one, May 17.
It turns out that several authors regularly include recipes in their novels. The first time I started to notice this was when I read Jason Matthews’ incredible thriller, Red Sparrow, and saw a recipe for a Russian dish at the end of each chapter. I remember meeting Jason at our annual thriller writers conference, “Thrillerfest,” several years ago when he was awarded the prize for Best First Novel about spies in Russia. Chatting with him, I learned that he had the perfect background to write this story, having served 33 years as a CIA field operative over there. The Huffington Post says, “Red Sparrow isn’t just a fast-paced thriller – it’s a first-rate novel as noteworthy for its superior style as for its gripping depiction of a secretive world.” That book, the first in a trilogy, was turned into a major motion picture starring Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton.
In checking out some newer releases with recipes, I discovered that they have been included in novels of all genres. Award-winning author, Celia Rees, is a YA novelist who is one of Great Britain’s foremost writers for teenagers. Her bestselling novel, Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook, features a young woman sent to uncover a network of spies and war criminals in post-war Germany. To send information back to her Secret Service handlers in London, she crafts the perfect alter ego: assuming the role of a cookbook author who writes a popular magazine cookery column. This novel is described as, “A perfect summer read; gripping, well-drawn and compassionate.”
A novel by Karma Brown (yes, a similar name. I had to be sure I spelled hers correctly), Recipe for a Perfect Wife published two months ago is called by the Associated Press: “A captivating read, full of twists and turns. Brown weaves a thrilling story that parallels the lives of two characters who struggle with being strong, independent women in a patriarchal world.” And the Toronto Star writes: “This is a time-hopping, dark domestic mystery, sprinkled with a dash of female empowerment and a few vintage baking tips.”
A book released just a few weeks ago, Sweetshop of Dreams – A novel with Recipes is a story written in yet another genre. A New York Times bestselling author dubs it: “Sheer indulgence from start to finish.” Others say it’s “A delicious rom-com about finding yourself and breaking out of routines. It is full of tempting desserts, family secrets and second chances.” When it comes to stories of romance, several new Hallmark books include recipes as well.
And here’s an idea: you might consider one of these novels (with recipes) as a nice Mother’s Day gift.
Finally, I thought I would include one of my own (not yet in one of my novels, but maybe sometime soon). This is an easy marinade for beef kabobs that is one of the favorites in our household:
In a medium bowl, mix together: Add to the marinade:
1/3 cup red wine ¾ lb. high-grade beef cut in cubes
1/3 cup olive oil ¼ onion cut in large pieces
1 tablespoon ketchup Several fresh mushrooms
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (Include pieces of pepper
1 teaspoon brown sugar and tomato if you wish)
Dash of garlic salt Chill in refrigerator 2 hours
Bit of ground black pepper
Place on skewers and broil 3 minutes on each side
Save marinade to small pan and bring to a boil
Serve kabobs with rice, pour on heated marinade
Do you have a book with recipes you’d like to share in a comment below? Or perhaps you have a recipe you’d like to recommend to all of us? We’d love to know. Thanks for joining us here on Rogue Women Writers.