Fantasy Food

Every winter there is a large fancy food show in San Francisco.  Held at the Moscone Center, it is quite literally a wonderland of food and jammed with vendors purveying everything from crackers to caviar. It’s an industry event, not open to the public, for retailers large and small to discover new ingredients, keep up with food trends and network with others.

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


Let’s Party!

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

Lemon peel

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.

Cairn Rodrigues

Cairn Rodrigues is new to the world of publishing.Formerly a stay at home mom, she attended the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and worked in many facets of the hospitality industry.She was the chef and owner of the Café 455 in Sacramento before retiring from professional kitchens in 2007.Born and raised in Sacramento, she is a devout lover of California and still resides near her hometown.Cairn also loves animals, gardening, television and Bruce Springsteen.

Latest posts by Cairn Rodrigues (see all)

Please share this post!

14 thoughts on “Fantasy Food”

      1. Please Sir, can I have some more? Wait, wrong book.

        I’m going to go make BACON. And eggs. And maybe a pancake. And maybe Prospector will join me!

        I’m going to have to try the “Cozy Book” next #blogcrawl. It would have been absolutely PERFECT last time we had ice – ‘scuse me, Dippin’ Dots from Heaven!
        HollyJahangiri recently posted…A Book Warming PartyMy Profile

  1. Cairn – Great post and invitation to wet the appetites of readers :).
    This will be a wonderful series and franchise of literary gems and I look forward to reading and sharing them all. I am proud of you kiddo 🙂

    1. Good morning, Ron! Cairn’s an inspiration, isn’t she? Sometimes, I know, she’s not even aware of it – but I have watched her develop this book, edit it, build her readership, and turn herself and her bird into Twitter superstars – she doesn’t give herself enough credit. Brilliant woman, great book – I can’t wait to read the rest of the series, too!
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…A Book Warming PartyMy Profile

  2. Pingback: Blog Tour Day 6 – Fantasy Food : The Light Stealers Song
  3. Mmmm…. On Solstice, there are these trees with nuts that look like our coconuts only about the size of duck eggs. If you harvest them at their peak, you can break one open and the liquid inside is thick and rich with protein and tastes a bit like cinnamon. The “meat” between the liquid and the shell is sweet. You dredge bread in the liquid and fry it in butter, then grate the nutmeat on top and that’s breakfast.

    I want some now!
    Marian Allen recently posted…Gremlins On SampleSundayMy Profile

  4. Fortunately, I have already had breakfast and am able to resist the temptations aroused in your post.

    My understanding is that prospectors generally prospect in remote and exotic places.

    If the Last Prospector had spent time in Africa on his way to Solstice,you would have included the delicious snacks of madura (dried mopani worms) fried flying ants (termites) and grasshoppers (taste like frog’s legs.

    Another unusual dish your prospector may have experienced, as I did at a lunch on a Taiwanese cargo ship, could have included, sea slugs and black eggs.
    Peter Wright recently posted…Three good books on success, mastery and intelligence.My Profile

    1. Peter, you’ve lived an interesting life. One I’m usually happy to experience vicariously, although you are tempting me with the notion of grasshoppers that taste like frog legs! I thought sea slugs were poisonous? I’m starting to think you’re immortal, and that there’s a rather high price to pay for that. 🙂
      Holly Jahangiri recently posted…A Book Warming PartyMy Profile

    2. I’m in the middle of editing the second book in the series. I saw Peter’s comment right after finishing a chapter set in the jungle where Prospector has commentary about the feast laid out for him. One of Prospectors favorites are the grubs, he likes them crispy.

      You two seem to have a lot in commom 😉 Thanks for stopping by!
      Cairn Rodrigues recently posted…Blog Tour Day 7 – Fantasy FelinesMy Profile

Comments are closed.