Wednesday, May 13, 2009

COLLECTING RECIPES

My publisher likes its authors to include recipes in our books. Even though it’ll be a year or more before my Victoria Square mysteries see print, I’m already scouting for recipes to include. My character, Katie Bonner, likes to bake, and since her beloved Grandmother was Scottish, she likes traditional fare that she ate growing up.

Scone What does this mean for me? Well, I’ve got six months to come up with some recipes to include in the back of the book. I’ve always loved scones, and I even have a scone cookbook, but now it’s time to take a basic recipe and make it my own. That means I’ll probably have to make dozens of scone recipes until I find one I really, really like—and then tinker with it. Oh, the hardship of eating all those test scones . . . (With clotted cream and jam. Yum!)

I’ve always wanted to make shortbread, but always kind of afraid—mostly because I’ve eaten more than my fair share of scorched shortbread. Time to be brave. (And do I do squares or petticoat tails?)

Failed bread2 About the only other thing I’ve never had the courage to attempt is bread. Maybe it’s because Betty MacDonald had such a tough time with it, as described in her memoir, THE EGG AND I (which I have read at least 20 times). In it she said, “My first batch of bread was pale yellow The_Egg_and_I and tasted like something we had cleaned out of the cooler. I tried again. This batch had the damp elasticity of the English Muffin that tasted like something we had intended to clean out of the cooler but was too heavy.” She also said, “I baked three loaves of bread twice a week and it made the house smell peasanty and in my letters home I referred very often to my homemade bread, but Bob’s reaction—standard—was the true criterion of my success. He said only, 'Will it cut?'”

Since I love to bake (but hate the effect it has on my hips), I think I may have a lot of fun in the next couple of months while testing recipes. And I will share the bounty with my family. I don’t think they’ll mind too much, either.

(P.S. I wrote a post for yesterday's Writers Plot about old cookbooks you might want to check out. You can find it here.)