Tag: bourbon


Food and drink and characters and places

   In my household we love to cook. Perhaps that’s why food plays a role in my writing. Whether prepared at home by loving hands or a resident chef, or ordered in a restaurant or take-out stand, food is more than a staple of life. It says something about who we are as individuals and as a society.  In my Swiss series, I can’t pass up mention of spaetzli or rösti, these staples of a ‘real’ Swiss household. And no one in Switzerland would order ‘a coffee’ in a restaurant. The order would be specific: espresso, cappuccino, latte, café Americano. This is not the land of the drip coffee pot. Actually, hot chocolate should have headed that list. There is nothing better than a real European hot chocolate. Here, despite famed Swiss chocolate, I think the Venetians and the Viennese do it best!   Currently, I’m working on a book set in Kentucky. In it, I’ve included bourbon as a food group (actually giving my heroine a distillery). However, there must be food. What to pair with bourbon? A hot brown. This classic open face sandwich was created in 1926 at the Brown Hotel in Louisville. If you’re unfamiliar with it, imagine a slice […]

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Sights and smells

 I love describing ‘the scene.’ The quality of the air, the view, the buildings, the landscape. I can even conjure up a variety of words for the color of snow. It is smell that sometimes stumps me. And I know how important smell is – the sense that evokes our most vivid memories, able to awaken feelings long buried and place us immediately back in time.   Recently I’ve been touring various distilleries – all part of research! There are many distinctive smells at a large distillery, including the scent of bourbon rising up through the halls of the warehouses. It occurred to me that I feel comfortable describing something as scented with bourbon. But I’m not as sure about the scent of sour mash…. that fermenting smell that fills the other parts of the distillery complex. Can I rely on people knowing what this is, like the scent of the ocean, or freshly cut grass? How much description do we need for smell, or do we have a common store of olfactory knowledge that spans most human experience?  

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Warm Winter Wishes

You may have guessed from my previous posts this week that I have winter issues. Christmas is one of my favorite holidays (Easter being the other) but I’d like it just fine if Christmas came in October. During the dark, cold stretch from late November to early March, I’d just as soon take a vacation from the world, crawl into a cave, and hibernate. But, since I am not a bear, I have to bundle up, go outside, and deal with it. Mysteries help me deal with winter. Solving puzzles (or following along with a brilliant detective and wondering how I missed that oh-so-obvious clue) keeps my brain from going as numb as my fingers. Singing Christmas songs off-key at the top of my lungs along with the all-Christmas music station as I drive back and forth to work also helps but I don’t like to admit that. Drinks that give me the warm fuzzies help, too. Let’s call them comfort drinks. I’m writing this post in the Hearth Room of the Deerpath Inn, one of my favorite places on the planet. I braved the cold tonight because I wanted an Adult Red Velvet Hot Chocolate—a cinnamon and candy cane concoction I […]

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