Friday, November 06, 2009

Sandra Byrd's Thanksgiving Menu

I am so excited about guest blogger Sandra Byrd's post today! Readers here will remember that a few weeks ago I discovered her French Bakery trilogy and literally devoured them for their perfect blend of smart characters, surprising plot twists, recipes, light romance, and Christianity. I am giving these books as holiday gifts this year. The third - Piece de Resistance, is new and while I am sad to see these end, I know Sandra is hard at work on more books for adults and teens. I found her website, and wrote to say how much I enjoyed the books. By the way - you should always do that with books that particularly touch you; authors do not hear often from readers! I discovered that Sandra is as lovely as her books. She agreed to guest blog about her Thanksgiving menu. Welcome Sandra Byrd!-AA

What a delight to be invited to be a guest on Amy's blog because she combines two of my very favorite things - cooking and eating! And, because I'm an author, the fact that she is a librarian just raises her to heroine level. So, I thought I'd start off with a little background and self Q & A just to let you know something about me and my books and then move on to something else fun - my Thanksgiving menu for this year! What's on yours?

What made you start writing and how did it dovetail with food?
When I was a kid I wanted three careers: to be a hair stylist, to be a waitress, and to be an author. After I mohawked my Barbie and gave myself a bad red dye job I knew I wasn’t cut out for the hairstylist career. I actually was a waitress in a Jewish deli when I was a teenager. Although I loved talking to my deli customers, especially the Holocaust survivors, and watching the deli guys slice a clover-stained cow's tongue, writing was the real passion. Putting them together is a gift from God.

Much of this series revolves around food. Do you like to cook? What kind of research did you have to do while writing this book?

I do like to cook and bake! I got my first serious cooking instruction book, by Jacques Pepin, when I was 17 years old. La Technique. My first "real" job was for a caterer. See? I was starting with food early. I learned how to make Pasta Primavera there and also Chicken Marsala, all before I'd graduated from high school, and I've been a home cook and baker every since.

For this series of books, I went to France, of course and sampled many chocolate croissants and visited Laduree, which everyone must visit at least once. (be sure to watch the whole slide show!)

You feel bad for me, don't you? I also job shadowed a baker at a French bakery here in town. And I visited a baking school for a day. It was great fun, but I also so how very hard they work. The physical endurance required of bakers and chefs is amazing. Something we lay people don't often think about.

Are the recipes in the book your own?

Yes and no. No new recipes are really invented any more, we know how everything works and what works together and what doesn't. Tweaking going on every day, though. I made these over and over again till we were all tired of them. Well, the boys never tired of Boyfriend Bait Beef Stroganoff. And I tried to tweak them so casual cooks would be comfortable making them. There are recipes in each of the three books in the series. I hope you'll try at least one in each!

Byrd Family Thanksgiving, 2009

Succulent Smoked Turkey (from Black Diamond Smoke House in Black Diamond, Washington)
Mashed Potatoes with Crema and Chives
Cornbread Stuffing with Walnuts
Gravy. Lots of it.
Butternut Squash Bake with Candied Topping
Toasted Sweet Corn Pudding (Gourmet Magazine, November, 2009.)
Cranberry Salad

Fig Crostata (Gourmet Magazine, November 2009)
Homemade Pumpkin Pie (15 year old daughter's chore! Train 'em young!)

You'll notice I haven't even tried to balance this with vegetables. We'll eat salad till December 24th. :-)

After earning her first rejection at the age of thirteen, bestselling author Sandra Byrd went on to publish more than three dozen books including her widely-acclaimed adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake and it's sequels, Bon Appétit and Pièce de Résistance. Keep an eye out for her forthcoming tween/teen fiction series, London Confidential.A former textbook acquisitions editor, Sandra is also an accomplished non-fiction writer and author. Her articles have appeared in numerous publications such as Radiant, Focus on the Family's Clubhouse Magazine, Christian Parenting Today, Today's Christian Woman, Pockets, Decision, and Guideposts. During the past eight years Sandra has mentored hundreds of students through the Christian Writer's Guild.
Sandra Byrd Online:

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