Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Second Career . . . as a chef by Avery Aames

Avery Aames is the author of A Cheese Shop Mystery series.  The first, The Long Quiche Goodbye, is a national bestseller. Avery is an Agatha Award nominee for “Best First Novel.” Avery blogs at Mystery Lovers Kitchen, http://www.mysteryloverskitchen - a blog for foodies who love mysteries. And some of her characters show up at Killer Characters,  Visit Avery at her website: to read a sneak preview, see her book trailer, find recipes, and more.


My second career…as a chef 
by Avery Aames 

No one ever told me when I became a writer that in addition to spending time in my writing office, I’d also be spending a lot of time in a different office…the kitchen.  I spent years writing novels in my office, in the library, in coffee shops, but I never had an inkling that much of my time as a writer would wind up in the kitchen.  I cooked as a girl. A lot. I catered at one point in my life and I waitressed in restaurants and worked in restaurant and camp kitchens. But not once did I consider becoming a professional cook and devising recipes every week. That wasn’t in my purview.


And yet here I am. I write A Cheese Shop Mystery series, so cooking is part of my research.  Oooh, do I love research. I’ve visited cheese shops in numerous states. I’ve tasted over a hundred different cheeses in the past year and a half (since I started writing the series)--cheeses like Tuscan Tartufo, Brebis d’Argental, Abbaye de Belloc, and more. And I’m adding cheese to tons of recipes.

Why? Because my protagonist Charlotte Bessette offers different samplings of food at Fromagerie Bessette in addition to her gourmet cheeses, so I try to emulate her.  I’ve created a Ham and Pineapple Quiche  as well as an Asparagus quiche that (my husband and a few fans have told me) are to die for.

In addition, to promote my novels and reach a different fan base, I blog with a bunch of authors every week on Mystery Lovers Kitchen, a blog for writers who love to cook up crime. For my weekly post, I devise a new recipe. Some are
complex and some are as simple as a delicious cheese and chocolate pairing platter.  I’ve reposted many of the recipes on my website including: Apple Pie with Cheddar Cheese crust; Five-cheese MacaroniStilton and Mascarpone Torte; and Champagne Fondue.

Actually, I’ve been making lots of fondue of late, since the book coming out May 3rd is titled LOST AND  FONDUE.

Of course, taste testing everything I make means that I have to exercise more because I’m eating more.  It’s like a vicious circle or a rat caught in a maze, which probably goes along with the cheese theme, right?

Now, some might ask, with all the cooking, when do I have time to write? I make time. I can’t not write.  I love to write. I love creating new characters, new  plots.  I just turned in book 3 in the series, and I’m working on book 4 as well as writing short stories while coming up with other new ideas for series. 
Titles, you ask? CLOBBERED BY CAMEMBERT and TO BRIE OR NOT TO BRIE.  Cheese-y, I know.

Question of the day:  If you’re a writer, what’s your snack of choice while writing? If you’re a reader, what’s your snack of choice while reading? And do books about food make you hungry?

Three commenters today will win an autographed copy of THE LONG QUICHE GOODBYE.   So make sure we have your email.  Good luck.  And don’t forget to check out the rest of my blog tour, which is entered on the event calendar on my website.

Say cheese!




Morgan Mandel said...

That is so fascinating! I love your book titles. Somehow I find time for lots of things, but cooking isn't one of them. I do appreciate good food cooked by others!

Morgan Mandel

Kari Wainwright said...

I sometimes suck on peppermint candies when I write. I think it's a carry-over from eons ago when I quit smoking and needed some sort of oral substitute.

But I do love cheeses.

gkw9000 at

Patty said...

Snacking is my hardest thing to avoid, but it seems I can't avoid it all the time. Sometimes I like chocolate, sometimes salty, but I try and stick with unsalted nuts. Gives me some protein without as much salt and fat. As for cheese, I like it with meals rather than as a snack, unless someone puts it out on a buffet, then I *always* take some. My favorite dish with cheese is fettuccini alfredo, with shrimp if possible, otherwise with chicken. Oy!

Pat R. said...

Your books make me hungry. Love the titles too.

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Morgan, hi! You find time for eating, right? That's enough! :)

Kari, a piece of string cheese is always good as a snack. But I love peppermint candies. My character, Charlotte, likes Hershey's kisses. I know, not gourmet, but delish!

Oh, Patty, Fettucine Alfredo. This might be compared to manna from Heaven! Yum.

Pat, thanks. I've heard they make people hungry. Heck, they make me hungry writing them. Why do you think I'm cooking all the time?

Hugs to all.


Amy Meyer said...

I eat anything while reading.I enjoy alone time every other morning. (I have dialysis 3 times a week, so I eat breakfast before I go)I love the spinach and artichoke quiche at Panera Bread, so that is my morning indulgement. I also snack on sliced meats and cheese rolls for the extra protein. BTW, can't wait for the next installment from Fromage Bessette. I am friends with a woman who is French and has learned English in the last 25 years or so, so your book has bitten me and she is teaching me some words in French. =)

Jeanne S. said...

I usually reading while I'm on the treadmill so I don't snack but I'm usually hungry for wine, cheese, cookies, or whatever I've been reading about.

janimar said...

Really could snack on anything but I snack on apples and pretzels the most while reading.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Avery - Welcome!!! My snack of choice is potato chips. But - a close second is apples & cheese - Figi Apples and Havarti Cheese. And yes, reading about food makes me hungry. Everything makes me hungry! Posting this piece for you has me craving quiche something awful.

Welcome, everyone - Thanks for stopping by.

caryn said...

Stopped by to say hello and how much I'm looking forward to the next book! The first one had me reading with a note pad to write down interesting cheeses to try! Don't enter me in the contest since I've preordered the book so it should be here soon.

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Amy, sorry to hear about the dialysis, but it sounds like you have it under control. Good for you! Also good luck with the French lessons. Or should I say "Bonne Chance."

Jeanne, do you have a holder on the treadmill that holds back pages or do you read on a Kindle-type reader? It is hard to get wine and hceese down when breathing in, exhaling out, isn't it? LOL

Janimar - apples and pretzels. Nice combo. The salt with the sweet. Add a piece of cheddar, and I'm hooked! [Except I'd need the gluten-free pretzels.]

Kaye, thank you so much for inviting me to your "place." I'm enjoying the friendly community!


Kuzlin said...

My snack of choice while reading is M&M Peanuts - not the healthiest of snacks, but very satisfying!

Doreen said...

Eat while I'm reading? Oh, no!! I was never allowed to do that as a child, because I might ruin the book with spills. That's a habit that continues to this day.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

CHEEEEESE....I pound chicken breasts flat, and bake til almost done. Spread with basil pesto,cover with provolone, put under the broiler. SO easy,and SO delicious!

Sprinkle parmigiana reggiano (how do you spell that, Avery?) on top and broil again quickly for an extra treat!

April S. said...

I either eat popcorn, apple slices or Colby Jack cheese sticks while I read. :)

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Caryn, how nice to see you here. Thanks for the compliment of ordering Lost and Fondue. Thrilled you liked the first!


Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Doreen, isn't it funny the things we learn as a child and adhere to, to this day?

Kuzlin, you snack on my husband's favorite snack! :)

April, popcorn. Love popcorn. With Parmesan on top? A fabulous treat. [A little greasy for turning book pages, though, don't you think? Need a napkin nearby. I can manage a napkin.]

Hank, while your chicken sounds delicious [adore pesto], I'm not sure I could eat that while reading. All the knife up, knife down action. OTOH, if I cut it into bites beforehand and eat bite by bite at a table (which I am known to do a lot, especially while traveling) perfect.

BTW, Parmigiano Reggiano - you got the spelling right! :)


Krista said...

Wonderful pictures! Love seeing them, Avery.

My dogs are convinced that the best snack in the world is -- cheese! They don't do a lot of reading, but they do love snacks!

~ Krista
Domestic Diva Mysteries

Harbinger said...

I'm a reader and my favorite snack while reading is chunks of apple and pear with whatever cheese I happen to have on hand. Yes, really. I love cheese!

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Harbinger: I love cheese too. Go figure! LOL

Krista, love seeing you here, too. :)


Rochelle Staab said...

Your question forced me into a confession, Avery. I'm addicted to bubble gum and always have a piece or two in my mouth when I write. Even now. Could be a "keeping the juices flowing" thing? I know I'm on a roll when the gum loses all flavor and I don't care.

Most of my reading is done on the elliptical at the gym in the morning (no snacks there) or while I'm eating lunch and dinner at home. If the chapter doesn't end before I finish my turkey sandwich or dinner lasagna, I have to keep reading.

After reading about your kitchen adventures, I think lunch today will be grilled cheese. (Yes, you made me 'say cheese'!)

Best of luck on the new release and fingers crossed for an Agatha win!

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Hi, Rochelle, I like to chew gum sometimes, too. Especially when thinking "hard." It seems to keep my jaw relaxed and my mind free.

Thanks for the good wishes.

Good luck with your writing. Hey, everyone, Rochelle Staab has her FIRST BOOK coming out this fall. Who do Voodoo from Berkley Prime Crime! Yeah!!!!


Carol M said...

I never eat when I'm reading. If I did I would be eating all the time! lol I do love to find new recipes though when I read. I'm looking forward to reading this series. It sounds like something I would enjoy.
mittens0831 at aol dot com

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Carol, it's so delightful to see you here. I hope you enjoy the series. A dedicated reader. Love it. Enjoy every word.


Nancy said...

Hi Avery, yes, reading about food does make me hungry and I love cozy mysteries with food talk and recipes. Macintosh apples with cheddar cheese slices is a great snack while reading.

Nancy said...

Oops, I forgot to leave my e-mail address. It's

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Hi, Nancy. One of my all-time FAVORITE snacks is apples and cheese. {I sneak them into the movies!} I actually based one of my "favorite" recipes on that, as well. A cheddar cheese apple pie. I put the recipe on my website. (There's a gluten-free version, as well.)


cyn209 said...

when i read, i snack on chips, or cashews!!!!!
thanx for the giveaway!!!


Lynn in Texas said...

Avery, hope you know how much I adore your books and recipes. Mwah! Can't get enough cheese~xo

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Cyn and Lynn, (love the rhyming), how nice to see you so late in the day! Chips, ah, yes, chips.

And Lynn, thanks for the compliment. Thrilled that you love the books and recipes. It's a thrill for me to write them and be published, too. :)


Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Thank you, Kaye, for letting me be a part of this community today. I had a great time. What terrific comments from everyone. AND I got a whole new list of snacks out of the deal. Lucky me!


Unknown said...

My first choice of a snack is potato chips but not while reading ... the book would be a mess. So something like grapes which don't leave you with sticky fingers. Reading one of your books it would have to be fruit & cheese.

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