Posts Tagged ‘food’

Guest Post: Mary Chris Escobar

September 5th, 2014 • by Karen A. Chase • 3 Comments

Today, my fair readers, I am happy to introduce Mary Chris Escobar. A friend and author, Mary Chris and I frequently dish about books, writing and well… dishes. We discuss what we eat. Where we eat. We’ve even cooked together. She graciously drops by the blog today to offer her take on Books and Food:

Mary Chris Escobar

BOOKS & FOOD by Mary Chris Escobar

My books make people hungry. Not metaphorically hungry as in, “I can’t wait to devour the next novel”; physically hungry as in, “She has an amazing ability to make ME hungry when her characters are enjoying nachos.” Really, that is an actual quote from a review. At least one review for each of my books indicates that it made the reader want to eat something.

The strange thing is, I have no idea how this happens. In all my stories there are scenes where food is mentioned, but not described with the sort of detail I would assume is required to make someone hungry. For example, here is a line about making lasagna from my most recent novel, How to be Alive: “My whole apartment smelled like tomatoes and garlic.” The scene continues with the characters catching up over dinner, but no additional details are given about the lasagna.

My characters frequently meet in restaurants or over home-cooked meals. It’s a natural place for conversation and connection. Perhaps my readers get hungry because they feel drawn into the scene and want to share food with the characters. Perhaps they are hungry when they sit down to read, and just don’t realize it until I mention nachos.

No matter the reason, it is the highest compliment for a writer to know that their words have affected the reader in some way. Therefore, I feel honored to know that I can make my readers’ stomachs growl.

(Just in case you want lasagna after reading this, here is one of my favorite recipes.)

Mary Chris writes women’s fiction. Her second novel, How to be Alive, came out in late June. She lives in Richmond, Virginia in a renovated parking garage with her husband, and you can find her just about anywhere with good coffee or craft beer. Find her at She also hangs out on Twitter @marychris_e



Bonjour Bread Festival

May 11th, 2012 • by Karen A. Chase • 2 Comments

Bread. In Paris. Mais oui! Especially the baguette. Yummy, crunchy-exterior, and soft air-filled morsels of yeasty goodness made by artisans using only four ingredients–flour, yeast, salt, and water. Now, imagine a whole pile of artisans together, under one giant tent filled with ovens, surrounded by flour, linens, rising dough and free samples of bread (and cheese).

Each year in Paris, beginning the Monday before May 16th and lasting for a full week, they celebrate Fête du Pain. May 16th is the day of Saint-Honoré, the patron saint of bakers. I just happened upon the celebration while I was there last year. My nose found the massive tent near Notre Dame before my eyes did. Drifting from it was the rich smell of fresh baked bread like my mother baked until I was sixteen. That same delicious scent would greet me coming up the walk from school, so my nose knows what it’s doing when it comes to eeking out fresh baked bread.

The festival, however is more than just a collection of officially designated artisans. It’s in part, a competition. So in addition to baguettes you see them forming the most remarkable feats with dough. Faces. Brie baked inside. Flowers formed with it. And you can witness the whole process. Oh la la. It’s so decadent.

There were so many great pictures from the festival last year, I’ve put in the gallery below – just click to enlarge. There’s also this little YouTube video so you can feel like you are there. Sans smells, of course.

First Friday: Bella Eats

November 4th, 2011 • by Karen A. Chase • No Comments

As I began the blog last month, here in Compositions, I’ll be featuring an artist for the first blog of each month. For November, say hello Andrea Hubbell, professional photographer and blogger for Bella Eats. Her website is among my favorite sites for three reasons. One, she’s a lovely person. Two, she’s an amazing professional photographer. And three, her photos of food make me lick the screen. There are many culinary photographers in the marketplace, but in Bella Eats, Andrea’s approach is quite different. She photographs the ingredients, set-directs each image, and then photographs each step of a recipe’s preparation as she personally makes the dish.

Andrea is the perfect combination of an aesthetic, creative mind, with a photographer’s eye. Surprisingly, she has an architectural background, but not surprisingly you can see that influence even in her culinary images. A pan of half-eaten corn stuffing looks like an aerial rendering, and blocks of raw wood contrast with soft linens under fine china like carefully selected building materials. Additionally, her recipes use seasonal ingredients, and are simple, honest and uncomplicated. A marinara and meatball recipe for tomato season. Roasted chicken stuffed with plums and nectarines. Corn pancakes. Andrea’s images alone are worth the visit, even if you can’t pick up the perfectly photographed fork – for that, you’ll have to follow her photographs as you try out her featured recipes. Then you, too, can experience just how beautifully this bella eats.

Andrea's photo of Tomato Goat Cheese Tart. The recipe is on her blog.

The lovely and talented Andrea Hubbell.