Mysteries and Mm-mmm
Small town mysteries and food seem to go together as naturally as “Mm-mmm,” and “May I please have seconds?” And while the Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries are about knitting, weaving, dyeing, spinning, quilting, and all else fiber, the books do also involve an awful lot of eating. In fact, after I took an evening and went through the five books in the series, I wondered if I should start worrying about what might be a food habit . . . But no, we all have to eat, don’t we? Even the characters in books.
Most of the food in Knot the Usual Suspects, the fifth book in the series, comes from Mel’s on Main, the best (the only) café in Blue Plum, Tennessee. Mel, who owns and runs the business, is in her early forties, wears her hair spiked, and dyes it to match whatever color her favorite apron happens to be at the moment. In Knot the Usual Suspects, that’s lime green. Mel’s is open from early morning until early evening and the menu is to die for – not literally, though. None of the murder victims in the series is ever found in or near the café. As much as the Weaver’s Cat – the yarn shop – is the main hub for action in the series, Mel’s café is the secondary hub, or the sub hub, if you will. Although, come to think of it, I don’t recall submarine sandwiches being on Mel’s menu. Maybe I should remedy that . . .
Anyway, here are some of the menu items from Mel’s mentioned in Knot the Usual Suspects:
- Black Rice Pudding with Coconut Milk
- Buttermilk Banana Pancakes with Banana Cream
- Chocolate Cubed – a cube of two dense layers of chocolate cake filled and topped with dark chocolate ganache studded with dark chocolate chips
- Cinnamon Sour Cream Strudel
- Eighteen Wheeler Special – eggs, sausage, potatoes, pancakes, and biscuits
- Lentil Salad
- Marble Pound Cake
- Marmalade Muffins
- Reuben Sandwiches
- Roasted Radish and Beet Salad à l’Orange
- Rum Cake
- Sweet Potato Fries – sprinkled with a nicely balanced combination of salt, garlic powder, and smoked paprika
- Tunnel of Fudge Cake with Ginger
Does that make you hungry? There are recipes for the Roasted Radish and Beet Salad à l’Orange and the Tunnel of Fudge Cake with Ginger at the back of Knot the Usual Suspects (along with a pattern for making your own yarn bomb pennant). I don’t actually have a recipe for something called Chocolate cubed, but I can picture it very clearly and plan to do some experimenting. I’ll report my progress on that and post pictures on Facebook. In the meantime, here’s the recipe for marmalade muffins, which really are Mm-mmm.
1 ¾ cups unbleached white flour
¼ cup whole wheat flour
⅔ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup 2% milk
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
½ cup orange marmalade (or other jam)
½ cup sliced almonds
- Preheat oven to 400º F. Lightly butter 12 muffin cups.
- Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl and stir to blend.
- In separate bowl, whisk milk, butter, egg, and extracts until blended. Add to dry ingredients and stir just until evenly moistened.
- Fill muffin cups half full with batter. Plop a rounded teaspoonful of marmalade or other jam on top of batter. Top with remaining batter, dividing evenly. Sprinkle tops with almonds.
- Bake until tops are golden and edges begin to pull away from the sides, about 15 minutes.
- Cool on a wire rack before removing from pan.
Series: Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery (Book 5)
Publisher: NAL (September 1, 2015)
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Buy: Amazon, Kindle, IndieBound, The Book Depository
In the latest from the bestselling author of Plagued by Quilt, Kath Rutledge yarn bombs Blue Plum, Tennessee—and gets tangled up in the mystery of a bumped-off bagpiper.
It’s time for Handmade Blue Plum, an annual arts and crafts fair, and Kath and her knitting group TGIF (Thank Goodness It’s Fiber) plan to kick off the festivities with a yarn bombing. But they’re not the only ones needling Blue Plum. Bagpiper and former resident Hugh McPhee had just returned after a long absence, yet his reception is anything but cozy. The morning after his arrival, he’s found dead in full piper’s regalia.
Although shaken, Kath and her knitting group go forward with their yarn installation—only to hit a deadly snag. Now, with the help of Geneva, the ghost who haunts her shop, Kath and TGIF need to unravel the mystery before someone else gets kilt!
Thanks to the publisher, I have one (1) copy of Knot the Usual Suspects to give away.
Giveaway open to residents of the US only.
Giveaway ends on September 17th
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Winner will have 48 hours from the time of notification to confirm their win or another winner will be chosen.
Molly MacRae spent twenty years in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Upper East Tennessee, where she managed Place, an independent bookstore; may it rest in peace. Before the lure of books hooked her, she was curator of the history museum in Jonesborough, Tennessee's oldest town. MacRae lives with her family in Champaign, Illinois, where she connects children with books at the public library.
Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries