I skim my finger down the index. Chicken...blah, blah, blah...Braised in fruit...yada, yada, yada...Cockscombs. What the hell is that? Ah, Coq Au Vin.
Okay, Irma, speak to me. Tell me what you know. “In other countries, blood is often added as a thickener.” Okay that’s just gross, and let me tell you, it’s not happening in The Chef of Hearts’ kitchen. I continue reading—yada, yada, yada—“wash and disjoint the chicken.” I frown at the meat I purchased—three whole roasting chickens and a package of thighs for extra measure. I’ve got to wash them? Those oozy, fleshy, decrepit looking things?
Let me just say up front, I like poultry. I like to eat poultry with a variety of sauces. But I’ve never had to cook it. Not with my dad, not with Richard, not by myself. There was always a takeout, restaurant, frozen dinner, or a man willing to grill.
Raw flesh of a dead bird. Why would anyone want to touch the stuff? I begin to have second thoughts about this whole cooking shenanigan. Maybe masquerading as a chef isn’t such a great idea after all. Come on Maggie, pick up the bird. Pick up the poor chicken that has been slaughtered so you can become a columnist and begin a new life. And make lots of money.
I stare at the chickens and voilà! Of course. I don’t have to touch the fetid fowl flesh, I can use rubber gloves. I reach under the kitchen sink and pull out a box of unopened rubber cleaning gloves. Perfect.
Then I think of cutting up one of those birds with blood and chicken juice squirting me in the eye. Germs! Bacteria! What if I get food poisoning? My breathing quickens and I feel my chest tighten as if a boa constrictor is wrapped around my body, squeezing the common sense out of me.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
If only life came with a recipe for success . . .ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Maggie Malone wants a new life. Who aspires to be a single, forty-year-old jobless new mother? Driven by the need for an income, Maggie Malone decides to enter a writing contest. Cooking and Women Magazine is seeking a columnist who can compare finding “Mister Right” to cooking. To qualify, an entrant must be single and an experienced chef. Maggie is neither – she can’t even cook. But desperation turns white lies into tasty morsels that whet Maggie’s creative appetite and she whips up an article comparing finding “Mister Right” to picking the right tomato for her homemade salsa. She wins the contest, is dubbed The Chef of Hearts, and her new life is launched.
Women across America write to her about loneliness, infidelity, insomnia - even to complain about a boyfriend’s snoring. Maggie dissects their problems with a single stroke of her pen, all the while struggling with her own issues. She dishes out therapy in recipes and funny stories and becomes an instant celebrity. As she balances learning how to cook, being a mother and writing a column, Maggie’s dual lives spin out of control. On the back burner, subterfuge sizzles in the skillet, threatening Maggie’s new recipe for success, and she finds herself in the same stew as many of her readers – lost and alone. It’s only when Maggie comes clean with all her lies that she realizes pickin’ the right tomato might not be simply about finding “Mister Right” – sometimes it’s about making the right choices.
Pickin Tomatoes serves up a three-course meal of mayhem, motherhood and middle age flavored with dashes of irony, wit, and wisdom. A liberal sprinkling of recipes geared towards those who don’t cook, and Pickin’ Tomatoes becomes a must read for anyone who has searched for “Mister Right” and ended up finding herself.
J. W. Bull lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and two sons. Although she has worked as a sous chef for Lavande Restaurant, she currently is a private violin teacher and a member of The Georgia Symphony. She is also finishing another novel, Musical Chairs, a mystery involving Maggie’s cousin—Molly Malone, plucky part-time symphony player and fulltime Irish fiddler. It’s a hilarious spoof on symphonies, Irish fiddling, and mysteries that continues the Malone saga.
**Anyone who purchases their copy of Pickin' Tomatoes before July 30 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will get five entries in a drawing to win a $10 Amazon gift card!!**