Earlier this month I asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
Very often I find myself escaping from fiction by reading nonfiction. Of course, I read a lot of nonfiction anyway to research for my own fiction, but to escape even that, I’ll look for an interesting alternative. Usually, I don’t care for memoirs (I think of them as waaah texts: “Oh look at my poor tragic life.”). But in this case, I was drawn to Julia Child’s book My Life in France, as part of it was used for the delightful movie Julie and Julia. In the movie, I craved more of Julia and less of Julie and here it was in spades.Learn more about the author and her work at Jeri Westerson's website, her "Getting Medieval" blog, and the Crispin Guest Medieval Noir blog.
The fun part about reading the book is that you can hear her strident voice throughout and it’s a very charming read. I like to do my own fair share of gourmet cooking, though with a writer’s time constraints I don’t get to do as much as I used to. And let me tell you, the book makes you want to cook. She describes in almost lurid detail her adventures in dining in France, the amazing people she met and learned from, and how a bored housewife overseas discovered what was to become her life’s work. And oh the food! The butter! Sacre Deu! She even includes her beurre blanc recipe and all the details on how she labored over getting the recipes just so for American cooks with American ingredients so that each recipe would be utterly fool proof. Amazing to think that in the fifties, housewives preferred easy boxed food to the fresh stuff we enjoy now and that Renaissance was partly due to people like Julia Child. Do not read this book on an empty stomach. Bon appétit!
Westerson wrote about Crispin Guest's place among fictional detectives for The Rap Sheet.
The Page 69 Test: Veil of Lies.
The Page 69 Test: Serpent in the Thorns.
The Page 69 Test: The Demon's Parchment.