Welcome to the Blog Tour for A Novel-Tea Evening with Authors including Lynn Austin, Susie Finkbeiner, Jocelyn Green, Laura Frantz, Kate Breslin, Amanda Barratt, and Joanna Davidson Politano, sponsored by JustRead Publicity Tours! I’m so honored to tell you about this special event AND to host the fabulous Kate Breslin today as she shares a yummy recipe from In Love’s Time!
You are Invited
A Novel-Tea Evening with Authors
September 2, 2023 at 7 p.m.
Palmer House Hilton Hotel, Chicago
Join us at 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 2, at Chicago’s historic Palmer House Hilton Hotel for a tasteful evening with tea and talk of books, writing, history, and the power of story. Emceed by Chris Jager of Baker Book House, seven novelists will share what inspires them, tales from the research files, what they’ve learned on the journey, and their hope for readers.
My Favorite Recipes – the Food of Kings and Characters
by Kate Breslin, author of In Love’s Time
In writing my novels, describing food has become a bit of an obsession. Depending on my story’s time period and setting, I love deep-diving into history to discover meals that my hero, heroine, and friends might enjoy, and then incorporating the dishes into my breakfast or dinner scenes. After all, characters need to eat to survive too, right? Yet food is about more than sustaining bodily function; it holds an immeasurable significance, which I discovered while writing my first novel, For Such A Time. Pouring over research material written by Jewish survivors of the Nazi prison camps and ghettos of WWII, I came to understand that starving the prisoners worked not only to defeat their physical state, but psychologically cripple them as well. Since the dawn of man, food has symbolized community. It’s usually the centerpiece of a religious rite or a celebration with friends, or simply gathering with family around the table in the evenings to share news and laughter with one another. Food is comfort, which sadly was denied to the Jews. I read that many of the prisoners dreamt about food, while recalling different recipes in minute detail that took them back to happier times with their families and neighbors, before Hitler and his brutality. Since writing that novel, I’ve come to appreciate that food scenes can give my characters the chance to reveal much about themselves, and how they relate to one another.
My other historical novels to date are set in WWI Europe, and include dishes originating in England, Belgium, France, Spain, and Scotland. Also with the war came rationing, and it’s amazing how women were able to stretch those meager food allowances and still provide their families with wholesome, palatable meals.
Describing food in my stories has also been the means to stretch my own culinary skills. Whenever I feature a story recipe in one of my newsletters, I’ll first make the dish to ensure it’s relatively easy to prepare and that it tastes good. These include WWI Trench Cake, a fruit cake that loving mums and sweethearts sent at Christmastime to their fighting “Tommies” overseas; another is Soupe à l’oignon gratinée or onion soup, once a commoner’s meal until King Louis XV created his own modern version, which became a #1 hit in France. Mine is based on the original recipe from the famous Café de la Paix in Paris, where my hero and heroine, Colin and Johanna, enjoy a repast in my fourth novel, Far Side of the Sea.
In my latest release, In Love’s Time, set mostly in Britain, Marcus, Clare, and friends can often be found enjoying a proper English tea. This included tiny cucumber sandwiches, tea cakes, and of course, scones. Below I’ve included for you my absolute favorite scone recipe, and I hope you’ll give it a try. In the meantime? As my next book ideas develop, I’ll be thinking of food…
Cranberry Lemon Scones
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, divided
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
- 1 Tbsp. lemon peel, finely grated
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, diced
- 1 cup dried sweetened cranberries
- 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)
- 1/2 cup half-and-half, chilled
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Use parchment paper or a non-stick baking sheet. Whisk 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a bowl to make the glaze.
Whisk flour, baking powder, lemon peel, salt, and 1 cup sugar in a large bowl. Add chilled butter; use a pastry blender to mix together until a coarse meal forms. Mix in cranberries and walnuts. Add the half-and-half and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Toss with fork until dough comes together in moist clumps. (Add a little extra half-and-half for moisture as needed.)
Gather dough into a ball; divide in half. Press out each half on floured surface to 6-inch-diameter (1-inch high) round. Cut each round into 6 wedges. Transfer wedges to a baking sheet; brush with glaze. Bake scones until golden and tester comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Makes 12. (Recipe courtesy of Chef Meg Gavin, Midwest Culinary Institute.)
A Florida girl who migrated to the Pacific Northwest, Kate Breslin was a bookseller for many years. She is a Carol Award winner and a RITA and Christy Award finalist and lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington.
Connect with Kate by visiting katebreslin.com to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.
(1) winner will receive a tote bag, one bag of Pride and Peppermint Novel Tea, plus a $20 egift card to BakerBookHouse.com!
Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight April 12, 2023 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on April 19, 2023. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.
Giveaway is subject to JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.
This giveaway is hosted by JustRead Tours, not RimSP
Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
What about you? What makes you want to attend A Novel-Tea Evening with the Authors? Have you read In Love’s Time by Kate Breslin yet?