If you’ve been keeping up with the posts this week, you already know Little Gale Gumbo is a super-awesome book. Deb Erika has done the tiara proud!
But don’t take my word for it. Look at this from Library Journal Express reviews:
“Verdict: A debut like this doesn’t come along often—this is women’s fiction to be savored, just like a bowl of Camille’s delicious gumbo. And like gumbo, it’s the blend of ingredients that makes the difference. Marks’s combination of strong female characters, New Orleans culture, and light suspense is a winner.—Nanette Donohue, Champaign P.L., IL”
Pretty dang impressive, huh? And I, of course, love the food analogy. So fitting for this book especially, which conjures up mouth-watering images as it sucks you into its grip. If you’re fond of…
or, my favorite…
…you’ll be especially pleased to know recipes are included in the back of the book. They look positively yummy, but of course I won’t know for sure until I get hubs to test them out for me. (Sadly, unlike Erika, I have no skill in the kitchen. I can mess up a box mix. Though for some reason I’m absolutely fascinated by reading recipes. I also love watching cooking shows. Strange, huh? But I digress…)
Since we’re all contributing questions to a week-long interview with Deb Erika, here’s mine:
Linda: There’s a fair amount of eating and drinking in Little Gale Gumbo (just one of the many things I loved about it!). Was the research arduous for you?
Erika: Oh, it was rough. Grueling, really. I don’t know which was harder: repeated batches of pralines to get the recipe just right for the reader’s guide or sampling versions of milk punch. (And by “sample” I really mean “consume full-sized serving”) Fortunately–and for many reasons besides the one I’m about to impart!–I married a native New Orleanian so I had the benefit of a true expert when it came to replicating many of the recipes, especially the gumbo. As everyone who cooks know, the roux is the hardest part. And what I found most fascinating was the variety of roux you could use, depending on the flavor you wanted. Talk about expertise I don’t have yet! The darker roux are the more flavorful (very smoky) but they’re the hardest to do because you risk burning them that much more, cooking them longer. I can only hope I did justice to the native foods. My husband has confessed that I make a mean red beans and rice for a Yankee, which is, of course, enough for me.
Thanks, Erika! I doubt my skill in the kitchen is any match for a roux, but I totally loved reading the gumbo lesson scene in Ben’s kitchen. It’s the perfect focal point for Camille and Ben’s love story. Love and food – they just go together, don’t they?
Question for commenters: Do you have a favorite scene, from any book you’ve read, that revolves around food and/or eating?
(Personally, I love the one in Evanovich’s One For the Money where Grandma Mazur pulls out a huge handgun at the dinner table, and shoots the roast chicken. Tough to top a good chicken-shooting scene.)
Oh, and before I forget, here’s the BEST THING OF ALL! Erika is going to give away a second copy of Little Gale Gumbo to a lucky commenter here! So here’s your opportunity to read this marvelous book FOR FREE. Trust me, you want to do this.
What’s that you say? You already have your own copy? Well, don’t let that stop you – it makes a perfect gift! Chanukah and Christmas are just around the corner, you know.
So go ahead and tell me your favorite food scene. Or, if you don’t have one, tell me your favorite food. And if you don’t have a favorite food, just say hi! We love to hear from you.
57 Replies to “Deb Linda is All About that LITTLE GALE GUMBO Food”
My favourite food scenes are in Agatha Christie’s ‘At Bertrams’s Hotel’. I liked it the first time I read it, but reading it again after I’d started writing, I saw how well she’d used the food choices and way they ate to give us an extra glimpse of the character’s personalities.
You know, I don’t think I’ve read that. Huh. And here I thought I’d read everything Agatha Christie had ever written. Must remedy this!
But I do love when authors use food to offer that extra glimpse. Reading should engage all the senses, and taste is a biggie.
Oh, Linda–you all have made this week so special for this gal–I can’t thank you enough! And I am so appreciative that you mentioned the scene between Camille and Ben in the kitchen–oh, how I loved writing that scene–knowing it would be the one that would finally take their attraction to the next level–there’s is just something so impossibly romantic about the preparation of food!
I love the question you posed, too–I can think of so many books with wonderful food scenes, but the one that comes to mind most recently is 13 Rue Therese by Elena Mauli Shapiro–it is a very sensual book on the whole, so the descriptions of the foods in it are too–it’s downright saucy (pun intended!!)–I bet you’d love it, my dear!
If I had to choose a favorite scene in LGG (tough to do!), that one would have to be it. It made me just want to be there.
I haven’t read 13 Rue Therese, either. (Sheesh. I MUST make more time to read.) Sensual books are the best, especially the saucy ones. 😉
Oh, you must. One review called it “a flirty, dirty tease of a novel” — talk about a wowsa blurb!!
Ha! I love that. Now I have blurb envy.
Yum! This New England girl is feeling very cajun and HUNGRY all of a sudden. Animal House. Mashed potatoes followed by FOOD FIIIIIGGGGGHHHHTTTTT!!!!!! 🙂
Ha! You animal, you! *throws handful of mashed potatoes at Kim*
You’re on! I have two little girls here who are ready when you say the word!!
This is more a comment on yesterday’s post since I can’t cook for my life but I do have a sister. I remember making a toast to my sister at my wedding I think (does that make sense?? maybe it was my rehearsal dinner or something), and saying something about our husbands having to adjust to our relationship which in the course of 2 seconds can go from laughing to screaming to crying to brunch.
LOL! Sisters are SCARY. Maybe I’m glad I only have brothers after all. 😉
Oh, Michelle–one day you and I will find ourselves in front of that plate of pralines Linda so cruelly posted and we will swap stories of how our ex-boyfriends and husbands went through the trial-by-sister-fire. I can still see the look on one ex’s face the first time he witnessed one of my sister and my explosions. The only thing more bewildered was the look on his face when–ten minutes later–all was right as rain again.
My husband (and this is one of many reasons I knew from the start that he was the love of my life) doesn’t take any of it on. Maybe it’s the biologist in him…
I love the massive celebration in Chocolat – the film version captures it so vividly. Friends, candlelight, laughter and so much delicious food.
Oh, good one! Yes indeedy. Both the book and the movie are scrumptious.
Me! Pick me!
When I think of food scenes all I can think of is The Kitchen Daughter.
My favorite food is sweet potatoes 🙂 That’s an easy one.
So excited this book is out now!
Mmmm. Sweet potatoes. I love them, too. Especially sweet potato fries — even better than regular fries.
Savor LGG when you get it — it’s a delicious read. 🙂
Thank you, Sara!!!
I just watched the trailer for “One for the Money”. Have you seen it yet? It’s been so long since I’ve read it, but the trailer shows the Grandma Mazur’s chicken shooting scene. 🙂
My favorite scene comes from “Out of Africa” when they tell stories…
Oooh, the trailer is out? Must go watch!
Okay, that looks fun. Hope I’m not disappointed when I see the whole movie!
I like the coffee shop scenes in Louise Penny’s murder mystery series. She brings her characters out of the cold and snow, then gathers them in front of a fire to share warm chocolate croissants and cafe au lait. I wish I lived in Quebec so I could do the same thing as her –hey, wait a minute. Why, hold the baguette and pass the jam, I DO! And I can. See ya.
Oh, man. I wanna come have chocolate croissants and cafe au lait, too! *sighs* Guess I’ll have to enjoy it vicariously through you and Louise Penny. Now I just have to go order a Louise Penny book, so I can find out what you’re talking about for myself.
Milk Punch?!?!?! I have to see what goes in that!
Looking forward to reading this book. But not looking forward to craving all the food. The Big E continues to be with me in ways that I am not happy about!
But pralines……..well, maybe my mind could be changed.
There are some things I’m willing to sacrifice for the sake of a good read. The size of my jeans is one of those things. *grin*
And, yes, good pralines are worth any sacrifice.
Missy, all I can say is that at least the Big E comes and goes. Pralines are available ANY TIME. Therein lies the rub. (oh, and you KNOW I meant that pun, by the way…)
I’ve got some pralines to shed, let’s just put it that way.
My childhood was spoiled by Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series, because when they solved a mystery, or came close to doing so, the ‘good adults’ would usually provide them with ‘tea’. Tea always consisted of ‘heaps’ of tomatoes, ‘lashings’ of ginger beer, and ‘stacks’ of sandwiches. So, alas for my mother, that’s what I always expected (and never got) as a child!
My favorite food now, and that I dream about on a regular basis, is found in a cafe called Angelina’s, on the rue de Rivoli in Paris. It is their speciality: Mont Blanc and African Hot Chocolate… which is meringue, sweet chestnut puree and heavy whipped cream, and the hot chocolate which is basically a pot of melted French chocolate, that you pour over a scoop of heavy whipped cream in a mug. *le sigh*
Oh, my. Now you have me drooling — I think I gained a few pounds just reading your description. I may have arrange a trip to Paris soon.
Re wanting to eat what you read: when my DD was young, she was very much into McCaffrey’s Pern series, to the point where she’d have “Bubbly Pie” parties with her friends. Yum! (Yes, my daughter loves to cook. She gets it from her father.)
I had to google Bubbly Pies… YUM! never heard of them before.. but YUM! (Did I say that already?)
A good YUM always bears repeating. 🙂
Now that’s just cruel, Suze. I’m fairly certain you have to supply round-trip airfare before you detail something that divine-sounding here. Did you not show her the fine print, Linda? 😉
I *cough* may have forgotten to add that into the fine print. You think it’s okay to make it retroactive?
Absolutely. I can’t seem to get the words “sweet chestnut puree” out of my head just now…
You know, I may just get around to making them (or trying to) and if I can find the right ingredients, I swear I will share the recipe far and wide, because really, it’s just too good to keep in Paris indefinitely 🙂
I love the cooking lesson scene also – yeah, there’s something really intimate about preparing food together, isn’t there? Even families who cook together create a special bond, but when it’s a couple, it’s something really special (albeit a different kind of intimacy, of course).
My favorite food scene ever has got to be in Jenny Crusie’s BET ME when Cal feeds Min the Krispy Kreme in the park. I think that was the sexiest clothing-on scene I’ve ever read (sexy guy, sexy food – how could you go wrong there?) I’ve never looked at Krispy Kreme’s the same way since.
Oh, that IS a good one! (I love Crusie’s books.) That scene made me really want a *cough*…um, doughnut.
Remember the food fight scene in Fried Green Tomatoes? Apparently that was cinematic shorthand for a love scene, because the director didn’t feel comfortable showing the lesbian relationship more directly.
In any case, the book & movie both have some of the best (and WORST) food — “secret’s in the sauce!”
Oh, yes! I had never tried a fried green tomato before I read that book, and now I love them. There ARE, of course, certain things in that book I would never want to eat.
Yes, like…say, barbequed mean husband, for example…
The first two scenes/books that popped into my head were THE SCHOOL OF ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS by Erica Bauermeister – pretty sure I drooled through that entire book – and the Dixie Hemingway series by Blaize Clement – Dixie’s brother is always making amazing meals plus there’s another character in there who makes chocolate bread. I mean, come on. Chocolate. Bread. 🙂
Hey, I made chocolate bread once. I was about ten years old, and had the kitchen to myself. Of course, I was trying to make a chocolate cake, and left out the sugar, but that’s neither here nor there. And the fact that it wasn’t edible…well, let’s just forget the whole thing, shall we? I’m pretty sure the incident was the traumatic basis for my kitchen wariness.
Linda–THAT’S a great story.
A few years ago, I read John Grisham’s PLAYING FOR PIZZA. It’s about a professional football player who’s washed up in the NFL and moves to Italy to play in their professional league. Not much money, but they get all the food they can eat. Not my usual subject matter in a novel, but Grisham’s descriptions of the pasta, sauces, cheeses, deserts of Italy made me so hungry!
Can’t wait to read Erika’s book!
I haven’t read that yet, but I do enjoy Grisham. I’ll have to add it to my TBR pile, because Italian food? YUM!
Jessica, thank you! And I’m going to seek out that Grisham book…
You know, food in a book is not a sure-fire win for me, but I am definitely loving the sound of some gumbo right now!
I always think of Like Water for Chocolate first, because that’s the first time I became aware of food in fiction, but I haven’t read the book in years!
I bet you’ll love LGG. The food is blended so smoothly into the atmosphere of the book that you can’t imagine the characters, or the settings, without it. That said, it isn’t really ABOUT the food, if you know what I mean.
I love foody books, so I’m looking forward to reading Erika’s book. One of my all-time favorite foody books is CRESCENT by Diana Abu-Jaber. No particular scene — the whole novel is an ode to food. She’s a delicious prose stylist, for sure.
Oh, boy! Another one to add to my list. I’ll make sure I have plenty of snacks on hand when I read it. 🙂
I read a series of books by Karen Kingsbury about a family (Baxter family). Well they were big on the family dinners and such. In the series, the mother dies of cancer. My mother died of breast cancer ten years ago. So when they had the first thanksgiving without their mother it was deeply touching to me (as the oldest daughter I took over the running of the holidays). Even now my family drives ten hours to eat thanksgiving with us. I love how what was a small scene in a book can mean so much to us who read it…makes the world smaller.
You’re right about that — it does make the world smaller, and in a very good way.
Holidays are tough after the passing of loved one, especially the matriarch. It’s great that you can fill the role now. You must do it very well, too, for your family to drive so far to share Thanksgiving with you. 🙂
Laura, it is so true that books can speak to us–even single scenes–in such a unique way depending on our life experiences. That is the power of books, isn’t it? Those unexpected revelations and understandings can mean the world when we are facing tremendous loss.
Linda is so right–you have given your family an incredible gift.
All of Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books have great eating episodes. (Even Bob the dog gets in on the act!) Faye Kellerman’s books have good food scenes, too. So many of the big moments in our lives seem to involve food (mine, anyway!) so it’s only natural to enjoy food scenes in the books we love, too.
I love Bob the dog!
Yeah, you’re right about the big moments in our lives involving food (birthday cake, anyone?), so it IS natural to enjoy food in our reading lives, too.
In Foul Play by Tori Carrington gorgeous Dino brings Sophie a chocolate torte which they end up eating off of each other in one of my favorite steamy scenes.
Makes my stomach rumble and my hoohah, well, … just thinking about it.
Mmmm. A sexy chocolate torte scene? Okay, I must hunt down this book.
my favourite food…on a crisp fall day…is stew…w/ crusty bread 🙂
Yum! I love stew with crusty bread. Soooo satisfying on cold days.
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