Food good enough to write about

I was raised in an Italian household where food was the focal point of family gatherings. Anyone who came to my house was offered something to eat, and you got looked at strangely if you didn’t want anything. “What? How can you not be hungry?” or “Just try a little piece of this.” Not that we forced anyone to eat, but usually the tantalizing smells got to you and you found yourself eating without even realizing it.

So it wasn’t a surprise when writing UNTANGLE MY HEART that my heroine was also of Italian descent. Rather than a catering business like my family had, the DiFrancesco’s owned a pizzeria and later, a trattoria. All the DiFrancesco men and women can cook. Mama Carmen’s specialty is lasagna and canolis. Kate’s is shrimp & pasta marinara and biscotti. Her baby brother, Vinnie, makes a mouth-watering veal parm. Mr. D is all about the pizza. Sister Vicky is the baker of the family and makes a to-die-for Italian cream cake (my personal fav). Oldest bro, Nick, makes veal marsala that could make you swoon!

There were certain foods you ate on certain days and for certain holidays. At Easter, there are breads, pies, cookies you only get at that time of year. Eating them is extra special because you know you’ll go an entire year before indulging in them again. The same goes for Christmas Eve and the Vigilia di Natale (Vigil of the Nativity or Feast of the Seven Fishes).

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, which we did not celebrate in my house growing up. I didn’t have corned beef until I was an adult. Now, my husband makes it and I like it (although I’ll skip the cabbage). And I certainly won’t refuse Irish soda bread or a hot toddy!

Dream a Little Dream

Jaye here, posting from vacation in California. Yes, I am THAT committed. Or crazy. Or maybe I should be committed because I’m crazy? Anywho.

I’m in gold rush country, where scads of pioneers flocked in the 1800’s in hopes of fulfilling their dreams of riches. Mostly men came out here, intent on hitting the mother lode, a huge “harvest” of gold that would secure their family fortune. They were pretty crazy, too.

File:Gullgraver 1850 California.jpg

California Dreamin’.

It brings to mind something I’ve been pondering for a few weeks now.

Recently, the Femmes got together to celebrate scads of  good news. I made a comment about how 2013 has been a great year for our little group. Five of the seven of us have either had our first books published, or received contracts for them. Joanna won a major writing contest. Our discussion turned to our tagline (“Seven romance writers blogging toward the dream of Happily Ever After”). I commented how we needed to change that, since now we are achieving our dream. Joanna (funny, funny woman) was like, “No way! My dream is to be on the bestseller list with Nora!”

“Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.” Goethe

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