Yes, this is a phrase that means "everything." And, it refers to what I eat on occasion -- since I love enchiladas. But, more relevant today, is the fact that The Whole Enchilada is the title of a recent Diane Mott Davidson book I just completed. I have reviewed some of her earlier mysteries elsewhere on Cooking with Ideas, so you may, in fact, dear reader, be familiar with her work. (See this example of my reflections on an earlier Davidson contribution to the genre and her series).
I could, of course, wax on regarding the mystery -- featuring, as is always the case, Goldy, who is a divorced (and now remarried to a law enforcement husband named Tom) survivor of domestic violence), parent to a growing young man, and caterer. Suffice it to say that the mystery is a reasonable read, and I like the characters a lot. I also like that they seem to grow and change over the course of the series rather than become cartoons of themselves. And, there is less dependence upon cliches than is the case with less skilled authors i this genre.
What I want to focus on today, though, is an aspect of the mystery which is relevant but nothing I say will be a true SPOILER. And that is, the fact that there is a character in this particular mystery that is imitating Goldy -- in very serious ways, including dressing like her, having her hair done like her, purchasing a van like her catering van, and attempting to become a caterer. This seems a tiny bit forced in the novel, but on the other hand is something that does happen. And, I admit it, it gives me the willies or creeps or something. I often see it as a sort of extension of the ways we all pick up speech patterns form others or how fashion seems to shift and change in smallish groups but drive toward a sort of conformity even amongst non-conformists. On the one hand, it seems so ordinary -- and on the other hand it is truly disturbing. I think that is perhaps why Davidson includes this theme in the novel -- because it is right there on the pivot point dbetween normal and weird beyond belief (well, it does go a bit overboard in the mystery as a form of business competition, but that is another story entirely).
Such psychological matters seem to me to be there -- sometimes overtly and often less directly -- in mysteries that I read and in the lives we all live. They may be more food for thought than the recipes available at the back of this book (as is the case with many in the genre of food-related mysteries).
I will admit that the recipes do not tempt me; I have too many other good recipes for enchiladas to find these attractive. I especially am not in favor of using canned tomatoes with basicl and garlic in such recipes. I prefer a ore house made sauce . . . .
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