Six Degrees of Separation – What’s Cooking?

Posted November 6, 2022 by elzaread in 6 Degrees of separation / 13 Comments

Greetings you guys! It’s the first Saturday of November and for a change, I’m not going to moan about how quickly this year flew by. It’s time to come to an end – so let’s just celebrate the happy month of November. What better way to celebrate than with good food and some wine. Luckily, our startup book for this month, helps us to do exactly that. But wait, first more on this fun, monthly meme:

This monthly fun meme is hosted by Books are my Favorite and BestOn the first Saturday of every month, a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. Books can be linked in obvious ways, for example: same authors, same era or genre, or books with similar themes or settings. Or you might choose to link them in more personal ways: books you read in the same holiday, books given to you by a particular friend or books that remind you of a particular time in your life. The choices are endless here! 

This month, we are starting off with a cookbook. Ha, what fun this was! We have one or two Jamie Oliver Cookbooks in the kitchen, but not this one:

Naked! It’s not him – its the food! Jamie Oliver, a.k.a. the Naked Chef is England’s #1 bestselling food sensation, a charismatic, streetwise culinary wonder boy whose personality is as fresh and unpretentious as his cooking. In this extraordinary cookbook, Jamie takes all of the trade secrets he has accumulated since he started cooking at age eight and distills them into a refreshingly simple style that really works for people who are passionate about food, but don’t always have a lot of time, money, or space. Jamie has applied his strip it bare then make it work principle to all his meals from salads to roasts, desserts to pastas and has created a foolproof repertoire of simple, feisty, and delicious recipes that combine bold flavours with fresh ingredients. With more than 120 fuss-free recipes, The Naked Chef, a sumptuous feast for the eyes as well as the stomach, is modern cooking at its best.

We went very randomly this month, there’s a lot going on and random is good at this stage. So keep up!

From one famous cook – to the next.

First Degree: For over fifty years, New York Times bestseller Mastering the Art of French Cooking has been the definitive book on the subject for American readers. Featuring 524 delicious recipes, in its pages home cooks will find something for everyone, from seasoned experts to beginners who love good food and long to reproduce the savory delights of French cuisine, from historic Gallic masterpieces to the seemingly artless perfection of a dish of spring-green peas. Here Julia Child, Simone Beck, and Louisette Bertholle break down the classic foods of France into a logical sequence of themes and variations rather than presenting an endless and diffuse catalogue of dishes. Throughout, the focus is on key recipes that form the backbone of French cookery and lend themselves to an infinite number of elaborations–bound to increase anyone’s culinary repertoire. With over 100 instructive illustrations to guide readers every step of the way, Mastering the Art of French Cooking deserves a place of honor in every kitchen in America.

Cooking in America, a strong female, can’t help but think of Elizabeth Zott.

Second Degree: Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel–prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with—of all things—her mind. True chemistry results.

But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo.

Laugh-out-loud funny, shrewdly observant, and studded with a dazzling cast of supporting characters, Lessons in Chemistry is as original and vibrant as its protagonist.

For our next degree, we are making a loop back to our first link. Most chains do form loops after all. Our next book is a book really still want to read. I did apply for an ARC, but didn’t get one. Now I’ll have to wait for the release in 2023!

Third Degree: Set in the City of Light and starring Julia Child’s (fictional) best friend, confidant, and fellow American, this Magnifique new historical mystery series from the acclaimed author of Murder at Mallowan Hall combines a fresh perspective on the iconic chef’s years in post-WWII Paris with a delicious mystery and a unique culinary twist. Perfect for fans of Jacqueline Winspear, Marie Benedict, and of course, Julia Child alike!

As Paris rediscovers its joie de vivre, Tabitha Knight, who recently arrived from Detroit for an extended stay with her French grandfather, is on her own journey of discovery. Paris isn’t just the City of Light; it’s the city of history, romance, stunning architecture . . . and food. Thanks to her neighbour and friend Julia Child, another ex-pat who’s fallen head over heels for Paris, Tabitha is learning how to cook for her Grandpère and Oncle Rafe.

Between tutoring Americans in French, visiting the market, and eagerly sampling the results of Julia’s studies at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school, Tabitha’s sojourn is proving thoroughly delightful. That is, until the cold December day they return to Julia’s building and learn that a body has been found in the cellar. Tabitha recognizes the victim as a woman she’d met only the night before, at a party given by Julia’s sister, Dort. The murder weapon found nearby is recognizable too—a knife from Julia’s kitchen.

Tabitha is eager to help the investigation but is shocked when Inspector Merveille reveals that a note, in Tabitha’s handwriting, was found in the dead woman’s pocket. Is this murder a case of international intrigue, or something far more personal? From the shadows of the Tour Eiffel at midnight to the tiny third-floor Child kitchen to the grungy streets of Montmartre, Tabitha navigates through the city hoping to find the real killer before she or one of her friends ends up in prison . . . or worse.

For our fourth link, we are sticking with food and murder.

Fourth Degree: Meet Tannie Maria: A woman who likes to cook a lot and write a little. Tannie Maria writes recipes for a column in her local paper, the Klein Karoo Gazette.

One Sunday morning, as Maria savours the breeze through the kitchen window whilst making apricot jam, she hears the screech and bump that announces the arrival of her good friend and editor Harriet. What Maria doesn’t realise is that Harriet is about to deliver the first ingredient in two new recipes (recipes for love and murder) and a whole basketful of challenges.

A delicious blend of intrigue, milk tart and friendship, join Tannie Maria in her first investigation. Consider your appetite whetted for a whole new series of mysteries . . .

Don’t you just love books that include a really nice recipe or two? A story and a cookbook, all wrapped in one. We especially enjoyed this one lately:

When a Halloween stalker shows up on Mischief Night, Vic encounters lots of tricks, no treats, and one murder …

Fifth Degree: It’s the post-summer season in Oceanside Park, and mystery writer Victoria Rienzi’s hometown is preparing for one last blast on the boardwalk—its annual Mischief Night parade, held the evening before Halloween. While Nonna keeps her busy making treat bags full of Italian candy, Vic dreams up the perfect costumes for herself and Tim: Nick and Nora Charles, the famed detective pair from The Thin Man movies. Completing their look is a canine scamp, Willie, borrowed to play the part of Nora’s pet terrier.

But Victoria’s excitement is dimmed by the presence of a stalker, Edward Millman, who’s seen lurking around the Rienzi family restaurant. And who shows up at the Mischief Night parade dressed as Victoria’s book sleuth, Bernardo Vitali. But halfway through the parade, Willie sniffs out trouble, leading Vic and Tim on a not-so-merry chase that brings them to a dead body—Victoria’s stalker, Edward Millman. And in a scene straight out of Victoria’s latest book, Millman is found with a knife sticking from his chest, along with a nasty note: You deserved this.

As Vic digs into the details of the victim’s life, she wonders: Is it life imitating art? Or is there a more deadly form of mischief at work this Halloween?

For our last degree, we will break away from the food and recipes, but stick with the murder. And we are going to make another loop back, this time to our fourth degree. Back to South Africa and one of the best murder mysteries written by a South African author. We can recommend this one to anyone who loves a really good whodunnit.

Sixth Degree: A week before getting married, Janien Steyn is found dead on her parents’ farm in her wedding dress. Desperate for answers, retired top cop Jaap Reyneke begs Sarah Fourie, a convicted hacker, to help him find out what happened to his niece. Was Janien’s death suicide or murder? Why did she erase everything on her laptop? And why was her body arranged so carefully, almost artistically, as if someone was making a statement?

From The Naked Chef to a South African whodunnit – how on earth did we get here?

Looking forward to see all your chains as well this month! Have a wonderful November!

 

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13 responses to “Six Degrees of Separation – What’s Cooking?

  1. You have WAY more foody references than I could come up with – probably because I don’t really like to cook, avoid it when I can, and maybe make a full blown meal once a month or so….and usually if we’re entertaining. Nothing fancy at my house! 🙂 However, your ending book – I’m VERY interested. I loved your other S African author rec (Deon), so I’m going to try this one as well. When I actually achieve a circle with my chain, it’s a total fluke! Thanks for the visit.