Saturday, August 15, 2015

Martine Bailey

Martine Bailey’s first historical novel, An Appetite for Violets, is a gastronomic mystery tale set in 18th century Europe. Written as a book of recipes, it takes a young cook on a murderous trip from England to Italy. Bailey lives in Chester, England and as an amateur cook, won the Merchant Gourmet Recipe Challenge and was a former UK Dessert Champion.

From her Q & A at Psychologies:

Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the story - Erddig Hall in Chester? And about your passion for food and historical cookery?

The idea for An Appetite for Violets came to me in the beautiful 18th-century kitchen of the National Trust property, Erddig Hall. I picked up a few hand-written recipes for roast venison and almond pudding and felt they brought the past vividly to life. I pictured a clever young cook working at the scrubbed table, who would be wrenched from her comfortable life and use her talents to survive. I wanted to evoke a world of lost recipes, an account of a journey to foreign lands spiced with plot twists and murder.

I originally started baking to save money and feed my son, making traditional specialities like Bakewell Tart, gingerbread and fruitcakes. Then one day, I entered a Merchant Gourmet contest with a Spanish dish for a Smoky Asturian Stew. I was amazed to win; the prize was a cookery course in Provence, France. One thing led to another and...[read on]
My Book, The Movie: An Appetite for Violets.

The Page 69 Test: An Appetite for Violets.

--Marshal Zeringue