Food, Glorious Food!

By  Casey Dawes, author of California ThymeCalifornia HomecomingCalifornia Wine, and California Sunset

California ThymeMy critique partners always get a chuckle when my characters dine. They don’t have eggs, they rhapsodize about the dish in front of them:

“Nice presentation,” Mandy said. “Of course, that’s the thing with California. Fresh fruit is always available for culinary artistry. Other places, not so much.” She took a mouthful of spinach and mushroom omelet. “Yum. Good choice!”

Or, sometimes they don’t:

“The folded yellow cardboard pretending to be an omelet lay motionless on James’s plate.”

In California Thyme, the fourth book in the California Romance Series, I spent a lot of time looking at menus and thinking about food. The heroine, Mandy, wants to become a caterer, but can’t seem to get her business off the ground. An opportunity arrives to work as a movie caterer, and she accepts the position.

Both my husband and I are self-professed foodies. We love to explore new restaurants and cook at home. Some of my favorite cookbooks are Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, With a Measure of Grace: The Story and Recipes of a Small Town Restaurant (you have to try the Spicy Cowgirl Meatloaf!), and The Girl & the Fig Cookbook.

Years ago, when my husband Ken and I were dating, we decided to write a book about the wineries close to where we lived in Santa Cruz, California. We learned a ton about wine and had some amazing experiences. We also learned a lot about the ins and outs of self-publishing.

As I’ve written the California Romance series, some of these experiences have played out in the books, as did the restaurant visits we made in the area. While we were visiting California in 2013, we went to the restaurant that is called Café California in California Thyme. We had the same experience that James, the hero in the story, had trying to find a parking place:

He drove down the last hill leading to the beach area and circled the lot in front of the restaurant several times before noticing a bright red sixty-seven Cadillac convertible pulling out of a spot. He put on his blinker and waited.

If you’re in the Monterey Bay area of California and you’d like to try some of the restaurants and cafés mentioned in the California Romance series, check out my web page on exploring the fictional town of Costanoa. It has descriptions and links to many of the places in the books.

Bon Appétit!