Adding Spice to a Character

Today’s title isn’t intended to be suggestive … in this case, the notion of ‘adding spice’ comes from the cooking scenes I’ve woven into That Was Then. The main character, Andrea (aka Andie) Larson doesn’t cook. Fortunately, her boyfriend Nat makes great dishes like risotto and lentil ragout. Read on for the first of those recipes and a taste (!) of the new novel.

~~~

I had work to do too, but instead sat at my desk in the alcove after Nat left, savoring the coffee and wondering how to tell him about Brad Greiner.

I had to tell him. And it had to be soon. But not today.

When Nat arrived home at 7:00, I was dressed in black jeans and a red sweater I knew he liked. The kitchen and living room were tidy, and my laptop and notebook were put away neatly on my desk.

“What’ll we have for dinner,” he asked, after shedding his boots and winter coat. “It’s bloody cold out there.” Nat rubbed his hands together.

“We can get take-out,” I replied, putting my arm around Nat’s waist and reaching up to kiss his cheek. “Or I can make French toast.” I had a few recipes in my limited repertoire, and French toast was one of them.

“Why don’t we do risotto?” he replied. “There’s shrimp in the freezer, and we can use whatever vegetables you have.”

Photo: Iowa Girl Cooks

“Mmm. I love risotto.”

Res ipsa loquitur. You open the wine and I’ll start cooking.”

Nat loved Latin phrases. It was as if they were a secret code and he was one of the privileged ones who could decipher them. He’d learned most of them in law school. Res ipsa loquitur—the thing speaks for itself—was a favorite.

“I’ll chop,” I said. I pulled onions, carrots, red pepper, and zucchini out of the fridge, then grabbed a favorite knife and a large cutting board. Risotto is delicious, but it does require a lot of chopping. Nat assembled the rest of the ingredients and poured two glasses of wine.

Then I perched on a barstool at the counter and sipped a glass of pinot noir while Nat sautéed vegetables and stirred broth, a half cup at a time, into the rice. Although I made small talk with Nat, Greiner lurked in the back of my mind.

~~~

Here’s the basic recipe I use for risotto – it’s wrinkled because I keep it in the risotto container 🙂 Over the years I’ve found that you can add a range of vegetables to it – asparagus, peas, mushrooms, red pepper – use your imagination, as well as protein like grilled shrimp or a dash of white wine for added flavour. PS – my husband is a great cook, but I always make the risotto!

I’ll be back with the lentil ragout! In the meantime, let me know some of your favourite recipes.

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION  FOLLOW A WRITER OF HISTORY. There’s a SUBSCRIBE function on the right hand side of the page. PS – THAT WAS THEN IS AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER.

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel is THE ADMIRAL’S WIFE, a dual timeline set in Hong Kong. Mary’s other novels, PARIS IN RUINS, TIME AND REGRET, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from AmazonNookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.

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