Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Culinary Mysteries--MEP's Cooking Up a New Series

I’m not a big mystery reader, but I really enjoy listening to audiobook editions of the Goldy Culinary Mysteries, a series by Diane Mott Davidson. The titles of these books are clever--The Main Corpse, Sticks and Scones, Catering to Nobody, Prime Cut, Grilling Season . . . just to name a few. The heroine, a caterer named Goldy, is really likable. Plus, all the mysteries come complete with recipes.

Though my titles are admittedly less clever, I’m pitching my own series of culinary mysteries.

#1 One Potato, P.U. Potato
After plumbing work was recently done in her basement (installation of tile drain as well as another failed project involving the sewer line, big holes, and wet concrete), our heroine Mighty MEP starts noticing a strange smell around the landing six steps up from the basement. She wonders aloud what the smell might be but is too worried to investigate. She hopes she is not smelling sewage and shares this anxiety with her hubby in a manner that suggests that any problems in the basement are his fault. She feels foolish once she realizes that the landing smell has nothing to do with the basement plumbing and everything to do with a huge bag of red potatoes she purchased at Costco a few weeks back which are now rotten and oozing potato juice. The real mystery begins as Mighty MEP tries to crack the case of the poor potato storage. Short of procuring one of those wooden bins that have the word “Potatoes” or “Spuds” carved into them (picture a 1980s country kitchen), our heroine needs to know where regular people store their potatoes, how they manage to remember they bought potatoes, and what they would do with five pounds of red potatoes? If you have any ideas to help the plot along, please share them in the comments. As a mystery writer, I am also interested in researching a sequel, No Funion, which involves black, soggy, fly-trap onions.

#2 Zucchini, You’re Killing Me!
Our heroine Mighty MEP is the mother of two young boys. Her boys, especially the little one, are good eaters. Proteins? No problem. Fruit? Yum, yum, yum. Vegetables? Sadly, only in baby food form. Our heroine’s older son goes out of his way to mention his aversion to vegetables, “Mama, you know __________ [insert name of vegetable]? I can’t eat _________. Do you know why? ___________ make me sick.” Quite mysteriously, her son often mentions vegetables he has never tried, despite her efforts, except in pureed form. The mystery really heats up then when Mighty MEP’s son comes home from preschool and, in response to her query about the day’s snack, announces, “We eat zucchini. And you know what, Mama. I like it. I really like zucchini!” When I sell the movie rights to this one, I will work hard to cast a preschooler who can deliver these lines with as much enthusiasm as Mighty MEP’s son and who can say “zucchini” as cute as he does. It will be tough. But back to the plot. MEP can’t believe that zucchini was served as a snack at preschool and that her son ate and enjoyed it. She asks follow up questions like, “Was there dip? Did you dip the zucchini in something white?” Her son says yes, but she is not convinced. The suspense heightens as MEP continues to forget to ask her son’s teachers if they really served zucchini for snack. The plot thickens as MEP and the other preschool moms start slipping bribes to the teachers in an attempt to get the school to introduce more vegetables to their picky eaters.

These are just two of the culinary mysteries I’m working on now. Obviously, NTB and all rights reserved.

Stay tuned for information on future books in the series, including a mystery with a working title of “How the hell do all these parents get a real dinner on the table almost every night?” Alternate titles are “Why Do I Suck?” and “What Am I Doing Wrong?” Not clever enough just yet, but I’m working on it.

Any culinary mysteries you want to add to the series? I’d be open to including other writers . . .


Anonymous said...

hilarious! Rita

Anonymous said...

Funny stuff. As my children have inherited their father's "I'm not a big fan of potatos" gene (who knew that existed, right?) I am not a bulk buyer and can offer no storage solutions.
Your post got me thinking of titles for our kitchen:
Call it Chicken and Serve it with Ketchup
Take Three More Bites
We're Out of That
Forget it...Too Many Ingredients
And my favorite, heard tonight, Good Dinner Mama

E... said...

I told you this topic was where we'd find our big money book deal!
Thank you, again, for introducing me to good old Goldy Bear -- so comforting in her preparations of scones and espresso amidst murder and mayhem.
I personally store my potatoes in my laundry room/office/craft room/mess pile. That way, the smell intermingles with eau de pee sheet, dirty sock, and "is that a dead mouse?".
Maybe the zucchini was part of a "tasting" menu??
A similar mystery at my house: "Why is What's On My Plate So Much Better Than Yours?"

Actchy said...

Oh Lord. We had a rotten bag of potatoes in our law school apartment once. I can still smell it if I think about it really hard.

Working titles Chez Actchy:
"How Can You Eat So Many Servings of Prunes and Still Be Constipated?"
"Stick-to-It-Iveness: Why I Spent 65% of 2009 Cleaning a High Chair"

Actchy said...

I forgot about the bestseller for people with children under the age of one:
"That's Not Edible"

SET said...

How about "Blue ice cream = green pooh" not really culinary, but nonetheless having to do with food and really quite a mess. It is the weirdest thing - MOnster Cruch from Petersen's does odd things in the digestive track. Here's to beating the mystery of the no veggie pre-schooler - I have one myself!

CaraBee said...

Oh MEP, you never fail to entertain! We have a vegetable-averse kid as well, although tonight she ate broccoli, but only when using a Club cracker as a spoon/fork. I also managed to get her to eat scallops. But NOT potatoes, even when presented on a cracker. Considering my ideal world would be full of potatoes in various presentations, mashed, smashed, twice baked, fried, souped, scalloped, etc, I am beginning to suspect we might have a changeling. No child of mine would turn down a potato. It's just not possible.

Nap Warden said...

What about "Wait, I have to do this every night?!?"

I hate cooking dinner:P Can Rick Bayless just do it? He lives down the road...

Anonymous said...

Ha! Ha! Too Funny! I store my potatoes in the crisper drawer of the garage beer refrigerator. Also my onions in the other drawer. They both last alot longer but I have to admit occasionally I have gone to get an onion for a recipe and there were green sprouts sitcking out of the drawer and all the onions had decided to grow leaves????? Is this normal? I don't think so.... CLM (sis-in-law)
ps. I did NOT use those onions!

Don Mills Diva said...

I like Nap Warden's addition - I'd totally buy this series!

cake said...

cracking me up. just the title 'one potato p.u. potato had me in stitches.

my favorite, and easiest thing to do with potatoes is to cut them up into sort of home-fry-like pieces, toss them in a big (metal, not pyrex) roasting pan, with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast them in the oven at 400 degrees or so. toss them every now and then, until they are browned and yummy.

also, we have had (some) luck getting broccoli in cosmo by doing some sort of "big giant is gonna eat all the tiny trees" story line. i didn't think it would actually work, but it did!

E... said...

Hey -- was at the ped. with N. on Mon and had the whole no eating veggie discussion. Basically said to still keep putting on her plate, give her a Flintstone vitamin to be on the safe side (I go with the gummy bears instead), and also to try the veggie juices: V8 Fusion, Bolthouse Farms Green Goodness were his recs.

East Coast Bro said...

Be careful what you wish for....Rog and G eat veggies pretty well but I can attest that that two of their favorites, corn and asparagus, come back to haunt you several hours later.

We have settled in the Pizza, Ravoli, Pancakes, Mac & Cheese cycle......not optimal but we are getting by.

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