This book is just plain fun. The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook, edited by Kate White. A collection of recipes from over 100 mystery writers, many of the authors are household names, others I was not familiar with but now can not wait to read. In fact, if you are a lover of mysteries, this book serves as a great bibliography. My list of books to read next has become much, much longer.
Some of the recipes are favorites of the authors, some come straight from the characters in their books. The head notes (those little bits of writing at the beginning of a recipe) are illuminating. We learn insights about the characters and authors, tidbits savored through food. If you love mysteries, you are going to want this book. If you know someone who enjoys mysteries, they are going to want one too.
Interspersed throughout the book are notes about poison, the role stomach contents play for the coroner, classic meals from Sherlock Holmes, Poe's ode to breakfast, and many more examples that showcase the strong bond between mystery novels and food.
The chapters are broken up in a familiar way, Breakfast, Appetizers, Soups and Salads, Entrees, Side Dishes, Desserts, and Cocktails. I am so glad that cocktails are included because I read a fair amount of noir, and cocktails are ever present. I wonder what recipe Raymond Chandler or Dasheill Hammett would have contributed?
Some stand outs from the book are, The Hungry Spy's Deep Fried Chocolate Bananas from Gayle Lynds. The first step is to "Take off you trench coat".
Chicken Gabriella from Sara Paretsky's character, V.I. Warshawski, who makes it for special occasions,
and Sue Grafton's, Kinsey Millhone's Famous Peanut Butter & Pickle Sandwhich. A "culinary wonder" that needs to be sampled with an open mind.
My absolute favorite comes from Scott Turow, the Innocent Frittata.
"In Innocent, my sequel to Presumed Innocent, the murder victim is allegedly killed by a lethal combination of a drug called phenelzine, an MAO inhibitor, which has a toxic reaction when consumed with sausage, aged cheese, yogurt, and red wine. Bon appetit!
yield: 1 frittata
1 cup dry salami
1/2 cup canned artichoke herts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 41/2 ounce can sliced mushrooms, drained
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 green onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
Grund black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated aged Paresean cheese
Preheat oven to 425 F. Grease a shallow 2-quart baking dish.
Heat skillet over medium heat; cook salami, artichockes, tomatoes, and mushrooms, stirring, until heated through, about 4 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.
Whisk together eggs, yogurt, green onions, garlic, basil, onion powder, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and then pour over the salami mixture. Sprinkle with both cheeses.
Bake until eggs are set and chees is melted, about 20 minutes.
Serve with red wine.
SCOTT TUROW is a writer and attorney. he is th author fo ten best-selling work of fiction, including his first novel Presumed Innocent (1987), and the sequel, Innocent (2010). His newest novel, Identeical, was published by Grand Central Publishing in October 2013. He has also written two nonfiction books about his experiences as a lawyer."
**This book was provided to me by the publisher. No money changed hands and my opinions are my own.**