Lately I’ve been thinking about food a lot. Just look at some of my most recent posts. Soup, kale,eggrolls. Soup is pretty straightforward. A few posts ago I talked about “them” making up new foods like chia seeds. I got to thinking about more made up stuff when I saw a Taco Bell commercial for a “Doubledilla.” Restaurants, particularly fast food restaurants have a long history of making up stuff. There were no McMuffins before there were McDonalds. But I found a group who are really making up stuff in or for or around the kitchen. Novelists. Yes, those people whose jobs are to make up stuff. And they have taken to food like a nutritionist takes to quinoa.
Many years ago, in a whole different century, I encountered my first food related novel – Someone Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe by Nan and Ivan Lyons. Now this isn’t your classic mystery or (my favorite) a hard boiled crime story. But it has murders in it so that was good enough for me to pluck it off the bookstore shelf. It was also on clearance, is relatively short for a quick weekend read, and it looked pretty fun based on the backflap synopsis. So I bit. And I still go back and read it today.
Since then, whenever I’ve needed a break from gritty crime and mayhem I’ll crack open a fun, lighthearted food mystery ala Joann Fluke or Chris Cavender. Silly stories you don’t have to concentrate hard on and usually figure out whodunnit somewhere around page 6.
I recently (and finally) slogged my way through Dan Brown’s latest. After several hundred pages of dashing across Florence I needed fluff. So I went off in the search of The Marshmallow Fluff Murders or something similar. Boy did I find similar!
As I was perusing the B&N catalog I found some of the most remarkably titled tomes. I don’t know how good any of the books are but the names are wonderful. We have Battered to Death, All the President’s Menus, As Gouda as Dead, Basil Instinct, Bread on Arrival, and about a hundred other bad puns masquerading as book titles. (Yes, you can really search using the phrase “Foodie Mysteries.”)
There once was a day when if I wanted to mix meals with murder I had to read Robert B. Parker’s “Spenser” mysteries. It seemed at least once every 10 or so chapters our hero would cogitate over his most recent discovery while fixing dinner. And Mr. Parker worked great detail into those fixings.
But today, we have our “Foodie Mysteries” and I don’t dare Roux the Day that I discovered them.
That’s what I think. How ’bout you?