The new book is out in the world, and I’m busy revising the next one. I’ve realized while working on these that I talk a lot about food in these books. Probably not enough for them to qualify as “culinary” cozy mysteries, but still, there’s a lot of food, considering the heroine herself doesn’t actually cook. She just appreciates good food when it’s given to her.
I started cooking a lot of Mexican food when I wrote the first couple of books, after all those scenes in the Mexican restaurant. I got a good recipe for cheese enchiladas and for chili con queso.
Then in Broken Bridge, it was hamburgers. So much talk of hamburgers cooked out on a grill. Hamburgers are a big comfort food for me. If I’m not feeling well, kind of tired and run-down, a burger is my go-to cure, possibly because I don’t eat a lot of red meat, so when my body needs iron, I crave burgers. Oddly, though, I don’t think I ate a lot of burgers while I was writing this book. The act of writing those scenes satisfied the burger craving. Instead of the writing making me hungry, I imagined the food so much that I felt like I’d eaten it. I’ve done that before, when I spent a day writing a dinner scene, then felt dizzy at the end of the day and realized I’d forgotten to eat because writing the scene made me feel like I’d eaten dinner.
The next book takes place in December, so I talk a lot about hot cocoa and cookies. There are fewer food scenes, in general. I’m not craving cocoa, since I wrote it during the summer and it’s still hot as I’m revising it. I think there are more breakfast scenes in this book than I usually write.
Maybe I should have written a culinary series, like with Margarita as the amateur sleuth who follows up on things she hears at her restaurant. But I’ve worked in a restaurant and when I was in high school I had a summer job working in the kitchen at a summer camp, so I’m not sure I want to relive those days. I’ve also worked as a reporter, but that wasn’t quite as miserable. It just wasn’t a great fit for my personality.
I hope I don’t make anyone too hungry from reading these books. All my favorite local Mexican restaurants have closed recently, so I’m glad I learned to cook some of those dishes for myself in case I make myself hungry while I’m writing.