Saturday, 16 July 2011

Special Guest: Nicole Murphy ~ Rogue Gadda

With a blog title of Eleni’s Taverna, there was only one thing I could write for you all about – food and drink in the Dream of Asarlai trilogy.

I love reading about food and drink. I love seeing characters interacting in real social environments, or celebrating or commiserating in a way that seems real to me.

Food is something that’s really important in every culture. Even here in Australia, where at times it can be hard to see what is our culture, the one thing that shines through is food.

Major holidays. Celebrations. Australia Day has now become one of the major food moments of our year, with picnics and barbecues. Anzac Day has become synonymous with the biscuit. And at Christmas, we’ve moved from the traditional meals that came with us from England – roast and pudding – and we’re into barbecues and salads. Prawn consumption is higher on Christmas day than any other.

Drinking, of course, has been part of Australia’s culture from the moment the first fleet came into the cove. At one point, our entire economy ran on rum. Watching a sporting event doesn’t seem RIGHT without a beer on hand – at least for me.

So when it came time to write about the gadda, to write about people and relationships, food and drink automatically become an important part of it all.

At the very beginning of Secret Ones, we see Maggie shopping for sparkling wine and nibbles to celebrate receiving her master’s degree. I purposely mirrored this in the first time we meet Lucas – he’s also celebrating a career achievement. It didn’t seem right to be having these celebrations without food.
As the story goes on, we learn that Lucas doesn’t drink much – he’s not comfortable with losing control. Stephen as well, in Power Unbound, states that he only drinks occasionally – his focus has been on reaching sixth order, and he doesn’t want anything to interact with that.

On the other side, both Maggie and Ione are quite comfortable drinking. It showcases the easy attitude both these women have to life – an attitude that their respective partners come to need and appreciate.
Then there’s the famous Hammond Stew – the family secret that only marriage to a Hammond can reveal. I’ve always loved the idea of a family recipe. My family has one – all seven of us Dunkley kids cook our spaghetti bolognaise in pretty much the same way – Mum’s way. We’ve all got variations (I for example add canned tomatoes to mine) but the basis is the same.

So when I realised that Ione was a bit of a gourmet, it made sense to have her be the owner of the secret recipe. It also made sense that Maggie would forever be after her for it. But Ione will remain firm, because family and tradition is important.

And when Hampton and Charlotte are getting to know each other in Rogue Gadda, food is an important part of the courtship – it’s incredible how in the act of sharing a meal, you often end up sharing yourself as well.

I like food – a little too much, my waistline would say. I also like drink – again, much to my waistline’s dismay. But my favourite food and drink nearly always corresponds with people – sharing beers with my brothers, cracking a bottle of champagne with my friends, the first meal I cooked for my husband.
Magical moments, for me and for the gadda.

To win a copy of Rogue Gadda, tell me – what is your favourite meal memory?

Rogue Gadda cookie:

“I can’t cook, I’m afraid,” Hampton said as he brought two dishes out. “I got this from a restaurant in town. I hope it’s suitable.”
 He put the dishes down and the aroma of coq au vin rose to Charlotte’s nose. “Perfect. Although I would have been more impressed if you said you’d cooked it yourself.”
 He sat down and for a moment his eyes were so clear she thought he was looking deep into her soul. “No lies between us, Charlotte.”

Thanks Nicole for joining me on my blog, and for the giveaway.
So what are you waiting for everyone? 
Comment for you chance to win a copy of Rogue Gadda.

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