Sunday, April 11, 2010

Chow Time

Maggie B, Vancouver Kidsbooks bookseller extraordinaire listens intently
It doesn't seem to matter whether it's a family reunion, office potluck, or book launch, wherever there's food there's usually someone asking, "Can I have that recipe?"

So it was on Saturday at the launch of THE BALLAD OF KNUCKLES McGRAW.

I always figure that whenever you throw a party, there should be food. So for this event I planned cowboy treats:
Wagon Wheels - is it just me or are they much smaller these days than they used to be?
Baked beans - not home made, I but cooked up 'a mess of beans' about ten cans, heated at home in a cast iron pan, carried them to the venue swaddled in a towel, then decanted into a tureen borrowed from a work colleague.
'Cowboy whisky' - iced tea
Corn crackers - sweet and savoury.
The sweet ones were quite easy - Cornmeal & Lemon Crisps from a recipe that's been languishing in my kitchen notebook for about fifteen years. It was not so easy to find savoury ones, so I ended up using a recipe for the topping of a chili pot pie that the kids used to like - which in tru ranch tradition I've renamed 'Triple C Treats' - for Cowboys and cowgirls, cheese and corn.

So, herewith for those who asked, are the recipes. And a few pics from the event.

'Triple C' Treats
Heat oven to 425 degrees
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup coarsely grated strong cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup coarse grind black pepper
1 tsp mustard powder
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large egg
3 tblsp milk
Paprika for dusting
Combine the dry ingredients
Combine the wet ingredients, beating the egg to blend with milk and oil
Add wet to dry, mix well by hand until well blended
Knead of floured board until smooth.
Roll to 1/4 inch
Cut in circles or strips
Place on pan with silcone liner
Bake 10-12 mins @ 425 degrees
Dust with paprika

Literary Guide Dog in training - Orca (which also happens to be the name of my publisher!)

Cornmeal & Lemon Crisps
Heat oven to 350 degrees
1/2 lb butter at room temp
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1. tsp. fresh grated lemon peel
1-1/2 cups flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
Beat butter and sugar together until smooth.
Add egg yolks and lemon peel. Mix until well blended
Mix in flour and cornmeal and blend well.
Wrap in plastic or wax and chill 3-4 hours
Roll out to 1/8"
Cut in circles
Dust with sugar
Place on greased pan or lined with silicone liner
Bake 350 degrees for 8-10 mins
You're never too young to attend a book launch - my grandson Cooper, 4 months
They came. They listened. They ate, They bought books. I'm happy.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Is all news good news?

Today I spent part of the day at work drafting a marketing style guide.

Under P for Proofreading, I suggested that someone not involved with the original work be recruited to proofread any document intended for public consumption - esp. details such as dates, times, names...

It's happened to us all - we spend hours on writing a report, news release, grant application, and under the stress of deadlines send it out. A few hours later, next day, next week, when we prepare to file the document we catch the one error we wish we hadn't missed.

I know too well that cringing feeling you get when you spot the mistake, after it's too late to correct it.

Today returning from our after-supper walk we picked up the local paper from the lobby of our building.

An article about my book and the April 10 launch - complete with pic - is on page 3. Page 3! Anyone who knows newspapers knows page three is where you want to be.

The picture is not too bad... another point in the paper's favour.

I read the article... despite the fact that the paper's interest was generated by a News Release that I submitted and a copy of the book that I sent the reporter - my name is spelled wrong. Not horribly wrong, but enough to me to shrink just a little. Petersen. Peterson. What's the diff?

Then I note a misquote. Not only in the body of the article, but also used as a pullout underneath the photo.

What I KNOW I said was, 'I don't write light commercial fiction.' What the paper has me saying is, 'I don't like light commercial fiction.'

A subtle difference, perhaps. But enough of a difference to make me cringe.

(I like lots of commercial fiction. And if it was easier to write, I might even give it a try!)

Any publicity is better than no publicity. Right?