From the fifth White House Chef Mystery, AFFAIRS OF STEAK, by Julie Hyzy, coming out January 3, 2012
Happy New Year!
I’m stealing a few minutes here to say hello because tonight the Hydens are hosting a huge New Year celebration and I’m in charge of the food (natch). With more than three hundred people scheduled to arrive after nine o’clock this evening, I’m relieved we aren’t plating a four-course dinner. Instead, Mrs. Hyden requested we prepare an assortment (a huge assortment!) of appetizers and finger-friendly desserts. We’ll be prepping items and sending them upstairs with tuxedoed butlers until the party winds down. No idea how long the partyers will stay. The Hydens haven’t been at the White House all that long yet, and this is the first time they’re hosting New Year’s Eve.
People ask me if I mind not being able to ring in the new year at home, or at a party of my own. I don’t mind at all. Really. For years, I spent the night all by my lonesome, watching the revelry in Times Square on TV while treating myself to popcorn or Baskin-Robbins chocolate-chip-mint ice cream (a guilty pleasure). You know what? I enjoyed the solitude. I loved being able to reflect on the year that had just passed and to dream and plan for all that was fresh and new ahead of me. I took that quiet time for myself every year, thankful to be alive (after some harrowing experiences), and determined to stay out of trouble going forward.
A few changes this year, however, are requiring adjustment on my part. First off, I’m here at the White House working through the festivities. Second, I have a brand new relationship to consider. This will be our first New Year’s Eve as a couple and I confess that I’m secretly glad to be working—it takes the pressure off. Looking ahead to next year, my team and I may be preparing for another big presidential party, I may make plans to be with that certain someone, or I may be alone with my ice cream and TV. Who knows?
By the way, it’s been a busy year. Very busy, in fact. Shortly after Buffalo West Wing wrapped up, I got involved in a messy murder. Worse, I was teamed with Peter Everett Sargeant when I found the first body… and the second. If you know how well Sargeant and I get along, you’re feeling my pain, aren’t you? I hope you’ll pick up AFFAIRS OF STEAK and find out what happens to us. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes in this one. And in my love life, too. I don’t want to tell you more than that right now because all the fun in life is in discovery, isn’t it?
Hmm… that may be the very sentiment that gets me into trouble all the time. You think?
Can’t worry about that now. I’ve got two hundred cherry tomatoes to stuff.
Be well, enjoy the night, and all my best to you in 2012. By the way, what are your plans this evening?