In a previous life I was a professional chef and owner of my own small café. The annual pilgrimage to San Francisco was a way to keep my little shop viable in the foodie capital of the world, California. Also, I just loved all the samples. Candies, wines, cheeses, coffees, there were more varieties of food than I can list and I always went home with at least two bulging bags of samples.
But a chef’s life is a rough one, lots of time spent on your feet near blazing hot surfaces and sharp objects. Eventually I left the world of professional cookery and moved on to professional writery. Which is a word I just made up, because writers can do stuff like that. Writing is certainly less hazard prone than cooking, but just as much fun and creative juices can flavor any project.
The title character in my novel, The Last Prospector, is a hungry man. His belly always grumbles, which gave me a fine reason to sprinkle a few tasty morsels throughout the story. At first, I thought it would be easy to create fantasy food for my fantasy world. I know a lot about food; flavors, textures, colors, countries of origin and a host of other information, surely with all those building blocks, I couldn’t go wrong.
The problem, it turned out, was that I know too much about food. The amazing breadth of choice for edibles on Planet Earth is staggering, if one truly tries to make a list. The world I created, Solstice, yields the same types of foods familiar to us. But try as I might, I did not think up a food that couldn’t be found somewhere on Earth.
Not yet anyway. The Last Prospector kicks off the Song of Solstice series and the challenge to myself still stands.
For the sake of expedience, so I could write the actual story, Prospector had to content himself with exotic variations of known foods. Not that he minded, the man isn’t a food snob. Amethyst eggs, jungle morels, cherry potatoes and gilt beans are fairly easy to imagine. Milk, no matter how unusual the udder, is still milk and there is even an upscale beverage known as kaffe.
The most foreign culinary ground I broke is the unassuming sweet leaf tree. They are very rare in Solstice, and wildly unpredictable. For a large part of a sweet leaf’s existence, it’s a very ordinary tree growing tall with green leaves. Occasionally though, for reasons unknown, a sweet leaf will go into bloom. All the leaves turn blue as pale flowers bud and eventually become ambrosia fruits.
All kinds of delicious foods and wines are made with the leaves and flowers, but it’s the fruit that is the real prize. It’s said ambrosia fruit tastes like happiness. But happiness isn’t a flavor, you say, it’s a feeling. All I can say about that is, in Solstice, nothing is impossible.
Are you hungry for more? (Oh, I couldn’t restrain myself from that) Please considering venturing into the world of Solstice. Join Prospector for a hearty breakfast and get a reservation at the Golden Daggers restaurant for dinner. Tuck in and enjoy.
Please join the fun and enter the book cozy contest! Just leave a comment below for a chance to win the lovingly hand crafted The Last Prospector book cozy. You’ll be the envy of all your friends (and me, I want one too). Make sure your comment includes one of these:
- A recipe using foods from Solstice
- A recipe using foods that are locally available that you think the Prospector would like
- A recipe for colorful food and/or drink that pays tribute to the world of The Last Prospector
After Holly went to so much trouble to crochet a book cozy, the least I could do was concoct a suitably matching libation. I call it the Cozy Book and it’s great to sip on a cold winter’s day while reading a good book. Is this a bad time to mention that The Last Prospector is a good book?
“Cozy Book” Drink Recipe
4 ounces warm apple cider, preferably a cider spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves
1 ounce brandy
Thimbleful of cream or milk
In a warm mug, combine warm cider and brandy. Stir well, inhale deeply to start enjoying your beverage. Add cream or milk, stirring to combine, and garnish with lemon peel. Grab a good book, find a comfortable chair and tell everyone to leave you alone because you are busy.
More Chances to Win
That book cozy isn’t the only prize available. Hop on over to The Last Prospector Facebook page and enter to win one of three copies. To further increase your chances of scoring free swag, swing by The Masquerade Crew. Vote for my book in the Cover Wars and join the Scavenger Hunt.