Once in a while, I get mail -- real mail, not bills and not junk mail, but mail. And, on occasion, that mail is a book. So, a few weeks ago, I arrived to the mailbox to find a package slip, and the package contained Goldy's Kitchen Cookbook, subtitled Cooking, Writing, Family, Life. There it was, free, and there it was, beckoning me to read it (or at least peruse it) immediately.
I held out for 15 minutes. And then I opened this:
(Image source: chacabooks.over-blog.com)
I read all of the bits that precede sections of the cookbook. Each one is a brief (all too brief) bit on writing, on cooking, on family, and on life. Surprising, given the subtitle, right? The tone was chatty, and I did get some insight into a few things, most crucially why the author chose to have Goldy, the main character of her murder mysteries, be a survivor (most definitely not a victim) of spousal abuse.
So, you have never heard of Goldy? She is the main character -- and amateur sleuth -- in around 20 mysteries written by Diane Mott Davidson, set in Aspen Meadows Colorado. Goldy runs a catering company, and encounters all sorts of dandy murders and mayhem in the course of her work, sometimes but not always being a suspect in said mayhem, and always getting in a tad over her head in trying to sort the mysteries through. The mysteries include recipes and, as has apparently become definitive of the genre, titles that are a tad punny. Her first novel in the series was published in 1990 and the final one (we think) entitled The Whole Enchilada in 2013. I have reviewed one or two of her cozy/foodie mysteries here on Cooking with Ideas, as regular readers will know. (See here or here.)
So: Goldy's Kitchen is a surprisingly thorough and useful cookbook. I admit I expected it to be only fluff, reproducing the recipes from the mysteries and cashing in on their popularity. Obviously true. But, the bits of memoir actually call out for more from Davidson; what she says is interesting. I just wanted more, and more depth. Perhaps that is a consequence of the foodie genre -- or the series genre -- where leaving someone wanting more is a good thing. I was also somewhat surprised (in a positive way) by the range of recipes -- including low carb and gluten free options. I knew that there would be vegetarian options, given that a main character in the novels is her assistant, Julian, who is a vegetarian! But I was pleased by the additional dietary options. I admit that I have read fewer of the recipes than the memoir bits (I have read all the memoir bits. Did I say that already?) -- but I look forward to continuing to peruse them at my leisure.
Here is a piece from the Denver Post when Mott Davidson published The Whole Enchilada which includes a tale also told in the memoir section of the cookbook -- about calling her wedding off. (SPOILER ALERT: She did not.) And here is a bit of a bio of Mott Davidson, including her experience at Wellesley which she attended with a current Democrat -- who tried to recruit her into the Young Republicans. Hmmm.