Saturday, July 11, 2009

Guest Blogger Vicki Delany

I am more than pleased to introduce my guest, Vicki Delany, fellow Poisoned Pen Press author and co-blogger at Type M 4 Murder ( Vicki writes everything from standalone novels of suspense (Burden of MemoryScare the Light Away) to a traditional village/police procedural series set in B.C. (Valley of the LostIn the Shadow of the Glaicer) and a light-hearted historical series (Gold Digger) set during the Klondike Gold Rush.After a computer career, she is enjoying the rural life in Prince Edward County , Ontario, where she rarely wears a watch.  Vicki's next novel is Winter of Secrets, the third in the Constable Molly Smith series, to be released in November, 2009 by Poisoned Pen Press.


I Can Cook. Why Can’t They?

I am quite a good cook, if I do say so myself.  I am particularly proud of my baking skills – pies from scratch, right down to the pastry, cakes, cookies of all types, squares to die for, including what I modestly refer to as my “World Famous Lemon Squares.”

My protagonists, however, don’t quite measure up.  I’m not sure how that came to pass, but when I thought about their culinary gifts, I realized I didn’t give them any. 

Let me explain.

Constable Molly Smith, of the Trafalgar City Police, in the books published by Poisoned Pen Press, lives close to her parents in the small town in which she was raised. Her mother, Lucky, has an extensive garden and a well-stocked freezer.  Perhaps Molly never learned to cook because she didn’t have to.  In Valley of the Lost, however, poor Molly is at an impasse. She is expected to bring something to the police department pot luck. She assumed her mother will make her legendary five-hour lasagne. Alas, Lucky has other things on her mind (such as an abandoned baby who hasn’t learned how to sleep yet). Molly is forced to purchase a frozen slab of something lasagne-like.  Here is Molly, contemplating her dilemma:  

She’d signed up to bring lasagna, so she’d have to head over to the supermarket and buy a frozen slab of mass produced product.  

At least none of the older guys would ask if she’d made it herself.

At the grocery store, Molly finds:

Smith stood in front of the freezer case and stared. The variety was impressive: seafood lasagna, vegetable lasagna, chicken lasagna, three mushroom lasagna, four cheese lasagna. Nothing called five hour lasagna, unfortunately, so she settled on the package with the simple label of: Lasagna. 

The line at the checkout was long. To pass the time, Smith read the label on the container. 

Defrost overnight.

Otherwise, three hours to bake from frozen. 

Who knew frozen food was so time-consuming? 

The five hour lasagna is real.  I make a recipe I got from Martha Stewart Living that is so complicated and takes so long I call it Five Hour Lasagna.  Here’s Molly thinking about it:

It was expensive, complicated, wordy. And it made a meal that tasted like something served in heaven to angels fluttering their wings on fluffy white clouds.  

I’m sure neither Martha nor Lucky Smith will mind if I give you a link to the recipe.

Fiona MacGillivray is the protagonist of my other series, who makes her first appearance in Gold Digger: A Klondike Mystery. Food on the Chilkoot Trail and in the gold rush town of Dawson, Yukon Territory in 1898, was about what you’d expect. Not very good and not much of it. Fiona calls on her neighbours at suppertime:

Their meal looked most unappetizing – a bit of fatty beef, a few leaves of boiled cabbage, some wrinkled potatoes. The ubiquitous beans. 

Fiona herself doesn’t even try to manage with what she has:

I once boiled an egg.  Forgot about it and left the pot over the fire until all the water had evaporated. The egg exploded as I reached into the burnt pot to take it out. I never dared to try cooking again. I wouldn’t call the horrid food I managed to scrape together on the Chilkoot trail cooking. Angus had to intervene out of sheer desperation,


I won’t provide you with any recipes from that book.


 Check out Vicki's web site at


Dana Fredsti said...

Five hour lasagna?! I'd have to drink a lot of 'cooking' wine to get through that process...

Donis Casey said...

And to think that women used to "slow cook" three times a day every day of the world.