Coming Soon!

It’s slowly coming together.




What is it?

Well, what I’ve tried to do is create a 1980s look in a cookbook, based on a fictional eatery that figures largely in my Traces of Treasure novel series.  Hey, I collect cookbooks I know what it’s supposed to look like.
The Mossback Inn is a recurrent setting in both books, a local sort of greasy spoon, a throwback to the fifties and sixties, trying to hang on in the eighties.  The owner, Smidgeon Toll, is a feisty businesswoman, a romantic foil to the hero of the books but she, in fact, carries a good bit of that load herself in the second book of the series.

It’s not going to be huge, but it will look like the type of cookbook a place like I’ve created in the book might publish privately, just as a sort of tourist keepsake.
Except — for now — it will only be an ebook and a pdf one at that.

Sure, the place is fictional, and the characters are fictional, but the recipes you’ll find inside are real.  The setting is in the southwest, so the focus is on recipes one would find in the southwest.  All are good, and some are surprising.  Best of all, this will be a freebie.

Here’s a preview from my web site.  While you’re there click on the “subscribe” tab and subscribe to my maiing list.  Subscribers will get first notice when it is ready.
Don’t worry, I think I’ve sent ONE mailing in the last several months, so I won’t be slamming your inbox.  But the next mailing will be about the book release.  Trust me, you don’t want to miss this.

You might also want to click around and see what the books are about.  You’ll be glad you did and I’ll be happy if you buy them.


Keep the Home Fires Burning

imageThe word “Nostalgia” in the title is a good hook for a cookbook collector who concentrates mostly on vintage.  When I first picked up The Nostalgic Cook Book by Bill Habets, I had hoped for a good bibliography.  Sadly, there isn’t one.  Still, the book is a treasure-trove of interesting information and recipes.

It concentrates primarily on the war and post-war years in Great Britain.  Rationing had a huge effect on the nation and continued long after the war was over — like nine years after the war was over.  I had no idea.  This little book tries to bring back a little of the creativity required to endure food scarcity.  According to the book, a  typical weekly ration for one person during most of this time included the following deprivations:  6 ounces of meat, 1 egg, 4 ounces of Fat (butter margarine, lard), 4 ounces of cheese, 4 ounces of Bacon, 12 ounces sugar (later 8 ounces), 2 ounces of tea, and 2 ounces of sweets.  Again, that’s a weekly allowance.

As I said in the last post, I am interested in history, so I found myself, the big vintage cookbook collector once again relaxing my dating standards and picking up a 2009 publication.  Of course, foreign publications have a lot of interest for me too, so the historical angle and the fact that it was a British publication were major considerations for me so the book found its way into my cart.

There is a lot of information about wartime diets and nutrition and the tradeoffs people were forced to make.  There is mention of “national bread” or “national flour” — which they say is equivalent to whole wheat, but their inference is that it is not 100% equivalent, just close. Who knows what they were stretching it with, sawdust?

The book has a lot of really cool recipes and here is a small sampling.  In most cases, I’ve chosen recipes that show the character of the wartime recipes, or are typically British, or both.


I thought bacon turnovers was a nice twist.  Made me hungry just thinking of it because it has that one magic word:  BACON!!!!  In the southern US, we’d just call this a bacon biscuit but we usually just slice it and stick the bacon in.  I like the idea of baking it in.


And here we have Potato Jane?  Who the heck is Potato Jane?  I don’t know, but I have a feeling I’ll be meeting her very soon.   Seriously, this just looks like a take on scalloped potatoes.  I like it.


Mince in the Hole sounds so typically British I am amazed I’ve never heard of it.  It looks very unusual, meatballs cooked into a bread binding.  Sort of a meatball and dumplings concoction without the liquid.  This is another one I am likely going to try.

imageWe can’t consider a culinary trip to the British Isles as complete without having some Queen Cakes, can we?  I’m not sure what sort of royal connection the name implies, but these look delicious.

I think this is a handy cookbook to keep around in case you find a need to  ration yourself.  I’m talking about you survivalists out there.  If at some point you have to make the most of what you have, you might just need a little book like this.  It shows the ingenuity people employed during the war when many foodstuffs were in short supply.   I can see where the nostalgia comes in … nothing I have seen in this book speaks to deprivation, it speaks to survival and making do.  That’s a good thing.  I’m keeping this one handy.