Sunday, October 3, 2010

Beyond Barbecue!

By Deena Silver
From the Mysteries a la Mode

Tally's crazy busy right now, so she asked me to fill in for her today . . . and since she went the extra mile to help me with my daughter Crystal's wedding this summer, I couldn't say "no."

My name is Deena Silver, and I own The Silver Spoon, one of the finest catering businesses in all of Lantana County, Texas. Tally and I met last year when we were both catering a client appreciation luau for Wayne's Weed and Seed, the lawncare business run by Tally's ex.

Wayne and his girlfriend Brittanie said they wanted an authentic luau experience, but other than the roast pig, there wasn't much authentic on their menu. I offered to make poi, but Brittanie opted for potato salad instead. And when I suggested poke (sort of like Hawaiian ceviche), Wayne Jones made a gagging noise.

So basically I offered standard picnic fare. Oh, it tasted like heaven, but I didn't surprise anyone.

This is my problem. I love my job, but my customers aren't terribly adventurous. I tried to convince the Dalliance Chamber of Commerce that a traditional Ethiopian feast, with a half dozen wats served on big round pieces of injera, would be a huge hit. I ended up making barbecued chicken and coleslaw. You see what I mean?

Don't get me wrong. I love good ol' southern cooking, and I have the hips to prove it. Icebox cake, fried chicken, pimento cheese, buttermilk biscuits . . . I'm not a snob. But I'd like to play a little, stretch my culinary wings. Not every day, but every now and then.

Alas, the good folks of Dalliance aren't much interested in experimenting with cinnamon babka when my cobblers are so dang good. And I'm not about to leave Dalliance. My husband, Tom Silver, owns a thriving horse ranch (and, since he's rich as Croesus, he can keep me in fine style). Horses aren't portable, you know?

So I'm going to keep on making the good people of Dalliance, Texas fat on sweet potato masher and my upscale Frito pie.

What about you? Are you an adventurous eater? What are some of your favorite down-home dishes?

Read all about Crystal's wedding (and more!) in Scoop to Kill, available now!

A Note from Wendy:

Friends, one of our own, Kate Collins, has suffered a tremendous personal loss, just as her tenth Flower Shop Mystery--Dirty Rotten Tendrils--is about to be released. In support of Kate and in honor of her husband, please pick up a couple of copies of Dirty Rotten Tendrils this week ... get one for yourself, so Kate knows how much you love her books, and one for someone you love in honor of her husband.

Thank you,
on behalf of the Killer Characters.


  1. I can be an adventurous eater if the dish looks visually appetizing and you don't tell me the ingredients until after I've said I liked it.

  2. I'm a picky eater. There, I've admitted it! Good luck with your customers, Deena!

  3. Deena, I'm on my way! I love trying new flavors.

  4. I'm also a picky eater. Give me the fried chicken and potato salad any day! Yum, yum.

  5. Oh, you picky eaters ... I'll still cook for you. Everyone's gotta eat, and ought to taste good.

    Dru, I agree - visually appealing food is very important. I made this eggplant stuff one time. Tasted fantastic but sorta looked like crap on a cracker. I couldn't bring myself to make it ever again. Food should hit all the senses -- look good, taste good, smell good, even sound and feel good.

  6. I love to try new foods. Cook for me Deena!


  7. I'm not super adventerous but I will try new foods as long as they look good. I would try your food.

  8. Not sure why it is necessary to go beyond fried chicken and potato salad. Actually, I enjoy trying new recipes, but not too adventurous about exotic ingredients.

  9. I love southern cooking! Your more exotic sounding recipes sound good too, but you'll find it hard to pull people away from the comfort foods they grew up with. love the photos!

  10. Why don't you come and live with me? My husband and I would both be thrilled.


  11. I was in the Air Force for 22 years and travelled all over the world. I've had some unique foods, but I stay away from innards, so no monkey brains or mountain oysters for me. I will eat chicken gizzards if they are made the way my mom and Grandma Violet makes them...dredged in flour, garlic salt and pepper and fried in bacon drippings....