If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Check out our March author interviews: 3/7--Karen Cantwell, 3/14--Shawn Reilly, 3/21--Annette Dashofy, and 3/28--WWK Blogger Debra Sennefelder (on her debut novel!). Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our March Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 3/3-Heather Weidner, 3/10-Holly Chaille, 3/17-Margaret S. Hamilton, 3/24-Kait Carson, 3/31-Charles Saltzberg.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here: https://www.amazon.com/Necessary-Ends-Tai-Randolph-Book-ebook/dp/B079MS67CM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1520014972&sr=8-2&keywords=Tina+Whittle

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), will be available on April 3, 2018 at: https://www.amazon.com/Empty-Promises-Seamus-McCree-Book-ebook/dp/B078XJRYDG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1520089649&sr=8-2&keywords=James+M.+Jackson&dpID=51kcxPsst-L&preST=_SY445_QL70_&dpSrc=srch

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here: https://mammothpublications.net/writers-m-to-z/rodriguez-linda-dark-sister/

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in August, 2018.

In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Fifth Course of Chaos.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

My Latest Kitchen Volcano by Carla Damron

I have never been called a domestic goddess. In truth, few would use the words “domestic” and “Carla” in the same sentence. My cooking skills are legendary---and by that I mean, legendarily awful. I can’t remember the last time someone asked me for a recipe. Wait, that’s not true, I’m often asked to recount the detailed steps for making “Ice” handed down by my mother (the trick is putting the ice tray in the freezer with the openings UP).

It’s been hard on my poor husband, who doesn’t love cooking either. I try though. At least once a week, I attempt a meal that might even present leftovers to be eaten later. Here’s how the conversation often goes:

Jim calls: “What are you thinking about for dinner?”

“I thought I’d make some spaghetti.”

A long, thoughtful pause, and then, “You could, or we could just eat out.”

To give him proper credit, he does actually eat my culinary efforts. I think we both take comfort that the restaurant option is as an easy out.

Yesterday, I started imagining that fall might one day come to SC, and that got me thinking about soup. Google produced an easy beef stew recipe, so I went to the store, purchased fresh ingredients, and went to work. I thought about how pleasantly surprised Jim would be when he opened the door to fragrant beef aromas, thanks to me, domestic sub-goddess, Carla.

If witnesses had seen what happened next, what would they say? “She got overconfident?” “It was an understandable mistake?” “Thank God they live near restaurants?”

The broth, though tasty, seemed thin. My mama had taught me, years ago, to thicken with flour or cornstarch. I found the cornstarch first, put a 3-4 tablespoons in a measuring cup, added some of the broth, stirred, and dumped it into the stew. Just call me Rachel Ray.

And then.

It was as though my stewpot turned into a cauldron. Foam bubbled up. So … much…. foam. I grabbed the measuring cup and did my best to scoop it out but it was like Alka Seltzer gone amok in there. What had happened? I felt like I was living in an episode of I Love Lucy. I glanced at the pantry and found, sitting innocently on the shelf, the cornstarch. I grabbed the box from the counter to see what I had used by mistake—baking soda.

I grabbed my phone and Googled, “will too much baking soda kill you?” and learned that it wasn’t necessarily deadly. Maybe I could serve the stew anyway, once it lost its three-inch head of foam. But then I tasted it.  It was salty and odd. Bread dough odd. Weird on the tongue odd. No way it would pass as edible, even coming from me.

From the freezer I grabbed some packaged frozen thing, warmed it up, and put it on the stove. When Jim came home and entered the kitchen, he eyed the two options. “What happened here?” he asked, his voice edged with dread.

“Cornstarch shouldn’t look so much like baking soda and that’s all I’m saying about that,” I replied, and he knew better than to push. As we ate our bland, microwaved meal, I was pretty sure he was thinking what I was.
Thank God we live near restaurants.

I often say that events are either good experiences, or good material. This was the latter. Has something like this ever happened to you? Have you thought about including them in your writing? I have two characters who are notoriously bad cooks, so…. 


Kait said...

Oh, thank you for that early morning laugh! I can attest to the lack of wisdom of having the cinnamon next to the cayenne! My mistake was brownies. I was on the phone and baking at the same time. I reached, shook out my usual swirl, and not until they were baking did I think there MIGHT be a problem.

Soup does sound delightful.

Jim Jackson said...

I can see how this happens, particularly if you are distracted with, say, how to murder your next fictional victim.

It sounds to me as though Carla could use a domestic (he says, wanting to be one of the few who would use Carla and domestic in the same sentence).

Jan has often said that if she became rich she'd sooner hire a cook than a cleaning person, not because she isn't a good cook, but because she hates coming up with menus since I don't much care what we eat and am not particularly helpful in coming up with dinner suggestions.

Margaret Turkevich said...

Plenty of culinary disasters in my life, and now my children are experiencing their own. Like driving, cooking is best accomplished when not plotting my next murder victim.

Grace Topping said...

Carla, you poor thing. What a waste of all you fresh ingredients. Your blog is a testament to how people have been accidentally poisoned throughout history--mushrooms that looked so tasty have wiped out whole families.

So much of how we cook is also based on tradition. My friend said that she always cut off the end of a roast before placing it in a cooking pan. Her mother asked her why she did that. Surprised, she said, "Because you always did that." Her mother laughed and replied, "Because my pan was too small for the roast."

Carla Damron said...

I take comfort in knowing we all have stories!

E. B. Davis said...

I grew up in a sexist house. My husband grew up in a sexist house. I cook. He doesn't. But then, he is in charge of rodents, snakes, and insects. He must periodically perform those odious tasks. Cooking is fine, but it is 24/7, and I do get sick of it. So, I really don't have any culinary disaster stories. I feel sorry for people who can't cook. What do you eat, Carla?

I have to laugh at Jim's response. Jan and me, both. I've been know to go up to total strangers and ask what they planned for dinner. Coming up with new menu ideas is brick wall hard! My husband (whatever you want), like Jim, isn't helpful.

KM Rockwood said...

My mother had all her recipes in her head, and while my sister and I did most of the cooking, we followed her directions as we went. They included "lard the size of an egg" and "A scant teacupful of sugar."

Sometimes she'd give an instruction and leave the room. I vividly remember the tomato sauce on the ceiling from the "take it off the heat and put it in a bowl" without the all-important "wait until the valve on the pressure cooker is down."

What a delight it was to discover cookbooks and written recipes, with precise measurements!

Carla Damron said...

Yeah. My grandmother would say: add flour til it's the right texture. Huh?

Warren Bull said...

Salt and sugar look so much alike.

Shari Randall said...

Oh, boy, mistakes! Mine are usually the type that involve screeching smoke detectors - because I'm multitasking, AKA trying to read while I cook.
Thank God we live near restaurants is my new mantra!