Friday, November 30, 2012

Morsel: Macaroni and murder

"Where's Cassie been?" my mother asked after dinner. She had made macaroni and cheese -- she has some idea that this is my favorite dish (which it may well have been, at some point in my life) and she cooks it, as a small timid expression of sympathy, whenever something in the papers indicates that a case of mine isn't going well. Even the smell of it makes me claustrophobic and itchy. 

--Tana French, In the Woods

Monday, August 20, 2012

Morsel: Death Notes (2005)

I skipped my run, showered, brewed a quick pot on the Mr Coffee and found a box of Cheerios I'd forgotten I owned. The milk in the fridge had gone sour, though, so I threw the whole mess out and ate an Italian pastry from Cafe Roma in the car on the way out to her place. --Gloria White, Death Notes
P.I.s eat like crap.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Morsel: Leave a Message for Willie (1984)

I retrieved my snow cone from Don and started off in the direction the man had pointed.

The cone was melting fast, and I tilted the paper cup clumsily, smearing the sticky liquid on my face and hands. Don, used to my minor mishaps by now, merely rolled his eyes as I fished out a Kleenex.

"Well, it's melting faster than it should," I said, scrubbing at my chin.

"I know." He squeezed my shoulder and continued eating his own cone, which seemed to be surviving just fine.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Edible books: Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Okorafor

I don't think I'd ever have the heart to eat it though.
The truffles surrounding it, on the other hand, would be history.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Review: Fudge Cupcake Murder (2005)

The last of the customers had left, the front door of The Cookie Jar was locked, and Hannah and Lisa were in the kitchen, mixing up the cookie dough for the following day. Lisa tore off a strip of plastic wrap to cover a batch of Chocolate-Cherry cookies and glanced up at the clock. "Hannah?"

"Hmm?" Hannah retrieved the chocolate she'd melted for her batch of Black and Whites and added it to her mixing bowl.

"It's getting late and you've got class tonight. Why don't you go home now?"

Hannah glanced over at her petite partner and smiled. "You're still a teenager and you're trying to mother me?"
Synopsis: Yes, yes she is. Because almost everyone in Lake Eden tries to mother Hannah Swensen, owner of The Cookie Jar. In this episode, in what's to become a recurring theme in the series, a body is discovered with Cookie Jar products all over, giving Hannah an excuse to investigate and do things she should probably be thrown in jail for.

Grade: B-

In this fifth installment of the Cookie Jar series, Hannah continues to be torn between responsible Norman and hot n' sexy Mike and--

Lady? PICK A DUDE. Or just come right out and tell them you're poly, and let the cards fall where they may.

Also, the sheriff gets murdered, covered in Hannah's fudge frosting (not as sexy as it sounds -- this is after all, Lake Eden) and brother-in-law Bill falls under suspicion for the deed. So there's good news and bad news about this book. The good news is that even though you can tell whodunnit on page 150, this is a decent book, and the author's found a couple of great ways to perk up the series: developing Andrea as a likeable character, giving the mom a beau to make her seem more human and less demonic (Laura Childs take note for possibilities for Delaine), and giving Michelle intriguing deviousness. The bad news is that there are 100 pages in the middle I just didn't care about, and I cannot believe the protagonist runs her own successful business, bakeshop or no, because in 300 pages, she spent so little time there that I'm amazed no one's stealing from the registers or smashing the windows. But overall a solid entry with great recipes.

Also, I am seriously in love with the cover designs for this series. I'll freely admit I'm a cover junkie, and for awhile I thought the whole "hide skulls in the details" cozy cover fad had died out. Very glad to see it alive and well with these. Seriously. Frameable.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A morsel from: The Not-So-Spangled Life of Sunita Sen (1993)

In the kitchen, Mom was stirring something at the stove. Liz was happily eating a samosa -- a pocket of bread stuffed with curried potatoes and onions. Sunita's grandmother squatted on a small stool, singing loudly with the music. A sharp, curved blade attached to a piece of wood and a basket were on the floor between her feet. Holding a chili pepper between the thumb and forefinger of both hands, she pushed it against the blade. Her fingers moved quickly. The blade flashed through the pepper and pieces of the chili fell into the basket.

Sunita dumped the ashes from the incense holder into the garbage can. "Why can't she use a knife and cutting board instead of that thing?" she asked her mother.

--The Not-So-Spangled Life of Sunita Sen

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Review: An Appetite for Murder (2012)

Stars were spackled across the sky and I could hear the strains of country music from a houseboat a few slips away. The spooky termite-ridden boat in the next row that was covered with a red tarp labeled "Poison!" receded into the shadows. And darkness hid the cruiser two doors down that was so full of trash that passersby could no longer see in the windows. Along with Miss Gloria, many of the residents had threaded their rooflines with little white lights in anticipation of the holidays. From this perspective, it really did look like paradise.
Synopsis: Hayley Snow, adrift in Key West after being dumped by her lawyer boyfriend, applies for the food critic job at his new girlfriend's magazine. Awkward. Then the new girlfriend eats a poisoned pie and the police come looking for Hayley.

Grade: D

This book was so confusing. It started off so strong: a plucky, down-at-the-heels freelance writer living on a houseboat in Key West, applying for a food critic job, hanging out with her best friend, eating interesting things, kooky family thing going. Then BAM! The murder happens, the writer's suspected of it...and...the whole book...just...slowed...right...down.

And then worse than that, it got mean and expected its readers to be stupid.

To be clear: Hayley Snow, when framed for murder, recognizes that she's screwing up her friendships by her investigations into the crime then keeps right on investigating. On top of that, the solution didn't track for me, and the missing cat and tarot reading subplots felt jammed in for...some sake that I never quite understood?

Then at the end there's the obligatory Investigating Officer Asks Out Suspect After Apologizing Profusely For Doing His Job, which was so stiff and painful that it felt like poor Detective Bransford was being herded toward Hayley with a cattle prod. And it made even less sense given that there'd been zero romantic tension between them the entire investigation and the author had made a point of noting that Hayley's neighbor thought the detective was attractive and she didn't. ...Buh?

The Key West setting is richly detailed and exotic, but I had to force myself to finish this one.