Culinary Research in the Big Easy

January 11, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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Midnight on Julia StreetA wonderful new “Author’s Cut” edition of my novel, Midnight on Julia Street, was recently released by Sourcebooks, and prompted so many memories from the days when I was researching life in modern day and 1840 New Orleans.   This “time-slip” story deals with burnt out television reporter who arrives in the Big Easy with high hopes that at last, she can tell the truth as a journalist without getting fired.  (No such luck, I’m afraid…)

Julia Street–once the heart of the cotton warehouse region of the city in the 19th century–is host these days to trendy galleries and fabulous eateries like Emeril’s.
This part of town became the focus of many a foray I made into the wonderful world of Louisiana cuisine that, at times, figured in the story of a young professional getting to learn about a city famous for a certain flavor of magic and mystery.  Scents, especially, became the “way back” for the heroine inexplicably to slip between the city’s storied past when “Cotton was King” and the modern day of cell phones, digital news-gathering, and a city that never stops celebrating.

Part of that celebrating that I had the good fortune to witness generally involved that most hallowed of all culinary traditions in NOLA:  making a good Gumbo!  Everyone, it seemed, had his or her own special recipe or way of making a roux–the “building block” of any respectable gumbo.  There are seafood gumbos, chicken and sausage gumbos, even vegetarian gumbos, but the one I developed over the last fifteen years was made either with quail, Rock Cornish Game Hens, or–if pressed for time–organic chicken thighs…or even a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket!

So, if you want to add to the sensory experience of reading my historical novel Midnight on Julia Street, get into the spirit of the Mardi Gras season that started with Twelfth Night (January 6, 2012) and will run until Fat Tuesday (February 21) by trying out my version of New Orleans Gumbo as posted in my blog…and if you like your gumbo spicier, just add pepper flakes and more cayenne!

 

“Enchanted Cornwall”

June 28, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

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So far, in 2010, my new publisher, Sourcebooks/Landmark, has reprinted in beautiful new editions two of five historical novels they’re reissuing for me, plus have scheduled my first new historical in a decade for April of 2011.  Over the years as these books were published, I’ve often been asked if I have a favorite setting that really gets my creative juices flowing. Read more

A new release of Cottage by the Sea

June 21, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

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A Cottage by the SeaIf any of you historical readers love Cornwall, England, and are fascinated by the idea that events in the past are still impacting your life in ways you’d never imagine, you might enjoy A Cottage by the Sea that was published by Sourcebooks/Landmark in June of this year.

I’ve always been slightly obsessed by the linkages between areas in America that were settled fairly early and the regions in Europe from whence the settlers to our country came.  In this case, many the Cornish tin miners ended up in the mines of Wyoming and Pennsylvania. Read more