Friday, January 14, 2011

Taking a Bite Out of Crime with Joanna Campbell Slan

I met Joanna Campbell Slan also at a Love Is Murder a few years ago. She was such a dynamic speaker on the topic of marketing that I resolved to read her books. I was delighted to find that I love her scrapbooking mysteries not only for their smart, well written plots with wonderful three dimensional characters, but also for the way they made me want to take up that hobby. I have to credit her for some of the success of my Scrap-Cookbook show! She gives us another view of Bananas Foster this month for our Warm Up with Flaming Foods celebration. This and Cherries Jubilee are the most famous of the flaming foods. Enjoy!-AA

Bananas Foster is the perfect dessert for mystery lovers because the recipe was created in 1951 at Brennan’s Restaurant to pay homage to Richard Foster, a member of the New Orleans Crime Commission. Foster served alongside of Owen Brennan, the famous restaurant owner. The men worked together with other concerned citizens to clean up the French Quarter.

The classical manner of preparing Bananas Foster involves igniting a ladle full of rum and pouring it onto the bananas, creating a column of fire.

To this I say, “Are you nuts?”

No way would I try that at home.

I’m fine with burning food. That’s a culinary skill I’ve mastered. Heck, back in my Girl Scout days, I quickly realized that if I’d eat burnt marshmallows, everyone would give me their S’More failures.

But a column of fire in my home? Not likely. Not unless one of my guests is a professional firefighter.

Instead, I wimped out. Here’s how I prepared Bananas Foster. (No fire alarms were activated in the preparation of this dish.)

Bananas Foster

¼ cup of butter

1 cup of brown sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

4 peeled bananas, cut in half and then longwise

¼ cup of dark rum

4 scoops of ice cream

Melt the butter, sugar and cinnamon in a skillet over low heat. Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves. Add the bananas, flat side down. Cook until they soften. Very, very carefully pour in the rum and light it. Spoon bananas and syrup over ice cream.

Tip: You’ll probably want to tilt the pan to one side and light the rum with a match. One time my husband and I invited friends over for dinner and Bananas Foster, only to discover we were all non-smokers and no one had a match. We tried to light the rum with a cigarette lighter we used for candles. Because the lighter flame tilted up, we couldn’t set the rum on fire. With each try, we kept dousing the bananas with more rum. Finally we lit a rolled up piece of paper and touched it to the mix in the pan.

Boy, did our guests ever love that dessert! We had to drive them all home.


Joanna Campbell Slan is the author of the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series. She’s currently editing Make, Take, Murder, the fourth book in the continuing saga of Kiki, a spunky scrapbooking mother. Joanna’s first novel—Paper,Scissors, Death—was an Agatha Award Finalist. Visit her at

1 comment:

Molly MacRae said...

There are probably never enough Bananas Foster in the world. Thanks, Joanna. Will you be at LIM? Maybe we should organize a Bananas Foster panel with you and Sarah Wisseman as the cooks. I can probably convince Amy to join as principle taste-testers.