This is the time of year that I start looking for books to curl up with on cold nights. Do you love reading cozy, home-focused, small town novels? I do! It’s even better when I find a recipe in the novel I’m reading.
More and more authors are including recipes in their books. This is especially the case in women’s fiction, Christian fiction and cozy mysteries.
It’s an easy way to give depth to the characters and setting. It allows authors to share something special with their readers. If the recipe is made again and again, the authors name might come up a lot in conversation, year after year. Often the decision to keep a book on my shelf or pass it on is decided by the recipes.
Do I judge a book by it’s recipes? You bet I do! Here are a dozen novels with recipes for you to consider for your next evening of reading.
Angelina’s Bachelors by Brian O’Reilly
Angelina, recently widowed, does the only thing she can think of to soften her pain. She cooks. When she starts delivering all the extra food to other lonely people in her neighborhood she finds herself on the road to healing. This novel is riddled with recipes for hearty, wholesome home-cooked meals. It has questions in the back for your next book study, too. Why not make it a dinner party? Shop Amazon US | CAN.
The Quilter’s Kitchen by Jennifer Chiaverini
Anna’s passion for cooking and quilting inspire her to take a position as chef at Elm Creek Quilts, a popular quilter’s retreat. We follow Anna as she works to win hearts with food and enthusiasm. This is a short and simple story. What really stands out are the flawlessly coordinated menus. Each chapter is a festive event, complete with recipes for a variety of meal alternatives. You will find ideas for dinners, potlucks, picnics, breakfasts and holidays. Use these recipes for your next gathering. It will be hard to choose! Shop Amazon US | CAN.
Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray
Ruth is committed to caring for her family through all their ups and downs. She loves baking cakes. She doesn’t need an occasion. But…as the problems pile up the cakes do too, and eventually she’ll need to stop baking. The recipes in this book are for, you guessed it! Cakes! You’ll find Coconut Pineapple Cake, Sweet Potato Bundt Cake and Lemon Layer Cake. My favourite is Oatmeal Stout Cake. I’m making that one for my husband’s birthday in a few weeks. Shop Amazon US | CAN.
Friendship Cake by Lynne Hinton
Four mismatched women come together, out of the chaos of the local Christian Women’s Guild, to create a cookbook. The reader follows the women through the ordinary tragedies and victories of the community as the women become closer in friendship. The novel is punctuated with the sort of recipes you would see in a community cookbook; vintage and practical with a splash of individuality. You’ll find recipes like No Meat Balls, Roxie’s Angel Food Cake and Charlotte’s Banana Pudding, among others. Shop Amazon US | CAN.
An Amish Country Christmas by Charlotte Hubbard and Naomi King
This book contains two sweet Christmas romances in one volume by the authors of the Angels of Mercy and Seasons of the Heart series. Visit your favourite characters for a holiday treat or meet them for the first time. There is a whole “sugar and spice” section with recipes for rolled cookies with chocolate chips, orange date bars, cream cheese macaroons and others. Shop Amazon US | CAN.
Naomi’s Christmas by Marta Perry
‘Tis the season for holiday reading! This sweet Christian romance will warm your heart. It’s Book 7 in Marta Perry‘s Pleasant Valley series, but it stands well on its own. Naomi, a young Amish woman, finds herself in a new home and job at Christmas time. Will her budding relationship bloom into romance? I got my copy from Goodreads in exchange for an honest review. My Mom loved this one, too! You’ll find traditional Pennsylvania Dutch recipes as well as instructions for a paper star garland at the back of this book. Shop Amazon US | CAN.
Crime Brûlée by Nancy Fairbanks
Carolyn is a food writer. While travelling with her husband and researching Cajun dining Carolyn’s friend goes missing. While you’re following Carolyn’s detective worth don’t forget to sample the food, especially Banana Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce and Catfish Pecan. Shop Amazon US | CAN.
Catering to Nobody by Diane Mott Davidson
Goldy is a caterer with a lot of stuff on her plate. She is still sorting out her relationship with her ex-husband when she finds herself the prime suspect in the investigation of a deadly poisoning. Afraid, Goldy sets out to solve the murder herself. It’s a suspenseful story with a lot of frank dialogue and raw emotion. Pick up this novel, make a batch of the Honey-I’m-Home Gingersnaps in Chapter 23, and follow Goldy as she digs up all the skeletons. Shop Amazon US | CAN.
Allergic to Death by Peg Cochran
So many of these novels with recipes feature protagists who cook for a living. Have you ever dreamed of getting paid to make delicious food? I have! I would love to run a B&B someday. This book is about Gigi, who caters diet dishes for people who are trying to lose weight. Whoops, did she kill her best client by letting peanuts slip into the meal, or was it foul play? You’ll have to read the book to find out. Also read it for the cute detective and the Chicken Tortilla Soup. Shop Amazon US | CAN.
Death Al Dente by Leslie Budewitz
Erin Murphy is determined to turn her tired family business into a posh Italian food boutique. When the shop’s former manager turns up dead behind the building, Erin needs to find out why. Who actually came up with Mama’s famous recipes? Erin digs deep into the lives of her mother’s friends and neighbors to find the true killer. At the end of the book you will find everything you need to host an elegant Italian dinner. Stuffed mushrooms, spinach salad with raspberry walnut vinaigrette, fettucine with vegetarian minted tomato sauce and grilled peaches is just one combination that you might try. Shop Amazon US | CAN.
A Catered Murder by Isis Crawford
A high school reunion with vampires? Libby and Bernie knew they would have their hands full catering this event. What they didn’t know was that someone would die and Libby would become the cheif suspect in a murder investigation. Grab this book for your next Halloween dinner party. It recipe that would make a spooky table beautiful, like tomato aspic,salad with blood oranges, black pepper encrusted beef tenderloin and finger bone cookies. Shop Amazon US | CAN.
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
It’s a classic. If you haven’t read Fried Green Tomatoes yet you should. This is one of my favourite novels. It’s not only because of the surprising mystery that unfolds or because of the diversity and desperation of the characters. It not just that I love the Southern country setting, which is described so well that I can almost smell it. It’s special because there are recipes in the back! They’re old-fashioned, homestyle recipes like buttermilk biscuits, pecan pie, and yes, fried green tomatoes with gravy. Shop Amazon US | CAN.