Sunday, 16 September 2012

On Ketchup

I run a Bed and Breakfast on the scenic west coast of Canada.  Lots of people who stay with us are enjoying the B&B experience for the very first time. They don’t quite know what to expect.  They always seem surprised (and delighted) by the gourmet breakfasts we serve.  We alternate five breakfasts:  Four-cheese omelets, eggs benny made with home-made hollandaise sauce, French toast with fruit coulis, quiche, and the lightest pancakes you’ll ever encounter.  Always accompanied by fresh fruit of the season and a basket of home-made pastries with a choice of six kinds of home-made jam.  The only thing you’ll never find on our breakfast is ketchup. 
I loathe ketchup.  I think it is solely for the purpose of covering up inedible food.

In spite of that, we get a lot of return guests.  

One day a guest enquired about a little sanctuary in a corner of our garden, (a pet cemetery).

“Who’s buried there?” he asked.

Without a pause for breath my partner answered, “A guest who asked for ketchup for his eggs benny!”

Food plays an important role in each and every one of my books.  In The Memory of Roses, my characters enjoy fried Greek cheese (Saganaki) and black olives and thin sliced fried eggplant and tiny fried fish you eat whole, bones and all.  In Delighting In Your Company, I describe the kind of heavy English meal the plantation owners enjoyed in the early 1800’s in the Caribbean.  My hero in Sonata, a rough and tumble Vancouver cop, cooks for a hobby and has a kitchen that was designed for him, one that could never be taken for a woman’s.  

In the scene below, Sayuri first sees Michael Donovan’s kitchen.

Turning, she examined his kitchen.  It was considerably larger than was usual in downtown condos.  Perhaps that explained the compact size of his living room.  He must have gotten in at the finishing stage of the building and been able to design his space usage.  His kitchen was huge, and could never have been mistaken for a woman’s.  The serviceable white Italian tile counters were a good two inches higher than the standard thirty inches.  They’d clearly been fitted to Michael’s six foot two height.  The floor was in the same large square tile as the counters.   Plain, well-crafted cabinets and trim were all in a natural wood light finish.  Gleaming copper pots hung from a wrought iron rack to the right of the stove, a six burner gas stove that was half again larger than the one Nora worked on in the Point Grey house.  Sayuri bent down to read the name slashed across the front.  Wolfe.  She had seen ones like it in European restaurant kitchens.
 Everything about Michael’s kitchen shouted “male” and “chef”.

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The Memory of RosesDelighting In Your Company
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Blair McDowell