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Small towns and gossip go together like flaky crust and sweet pastry cream. Between the police scanners, social media, and the senior center, it’s like a zombie apocalypse where the undead consume people’s secrets instead of living flesh.
But Vangie Vale wants nothing more than to stay under the radar…especially the police radar.
So when her new bakery becomes linked to a murder investigation, nothing will stop the gossip mill from connecting her to the dead body. Can’t have that.
Forced into the role of investigator, this new-in-town bakery owner has to become the very thing she hates–a nosy, small-town gossip–in order to clear her good name, and keep her face off the front page. But when a dating debacle brings her face-to-face with the Sheriff, Vangie can’t ignore the fact that one of her macarons was involved in a murder. She has to find the who-dun-it.
Book One in a cozy culinary mystery series from USA Today Bestselling Author, R.L. Syme.
Food as a Business
I’ve spent most of my life as a foodie—all of it I can remember, at least. My earliest memories are all in my grandmother’s or my mother’s kitchen. Cooking or baking. It’s not unusual, then, that I would take the leap into culinary cozy mysteries. It’s a natural fit for someone who already plans life around good food.
A lot of us who love food have wanted, on one level or another, to be a professional in the food industry. Maybe own our own bakery or our own restaurant. Maybe be a food writer or a restaurant critic. Maybe cater.
When I was very young, my mother ran a catering business. She’s a great cook and baker—which she got from her mother, and passed on to my sister and myself—but I learned that it was very different to do food for a living than it was to enjoy food. Making food for a living was all about consistency, and doing food consistently is not easy.
I remember, for dinner parties, my mother having to make recipes with precise measurements, and with dollar amounts attached to it. She could tell you how much half a teaspoon of pepper costs, and how much of that cost was distributed over each serving of whatever dish she had. Her notebooks were filled with recipes that had two sets of numbers on them. One was the amount of the ingredient in the recipe, per-serving. The other was how much the cost of that ingredient was, per serving. It was fascinating. That’s not a glamorous part of the job, for sure, but it’s an important part.
In 2003, I found that out the hard way when the job I was working at decided to open a café as part of our ministry. Because I was the director of the organization, I ended up being the one in charge of opening the café. It was such a huge amount of work, getting ready to open that place. Some of it was fun and fascinating, like building and testing the menu. But some of it was like those two sets of numbers. Very detail-oriented, and very tedious.
In order to be a success, long-term, in the restaurant world, just having good food isn’t enough. You have to know what to charge for the food and for your labor. You have to know how to restock yourself, how to pace yourself. It’s a very interesting process.
I thought about that a lot when I was working on the first book in the Vangie Vale series, The MatchBaker Mysteries. Vangie has to move to a small town, when she’s exiled from her denominational connections as a pastor, and she is forced to open a business to keep herself afloat. She convinces some of her family to invest in her, and she opens The Matchbakery. Vangie had to do all that intense preparation in order to get ready for her bakery to open. And she’ll have to make sure she is responsible with the business, if she wants it to stay open.
No more mystery-solving, in other words.
That will never work. 🙂
About the Author
Rebecca Syme writes small town romance as Becca Boyd and cozy mystery as R.L. Syme. She is a long-time foodie and loves fancy cheese. Becca calls the mountains of Montana her home and draws inspiration from the beautiful vistas and heartwarming people. She is the USA Today bestselling author of the Line of Fire series of sweet romances and part of the Chick Tales series set in Somewhere, TX. You can find her on Twitter talking #fancycheese or #Chopped, and on Facebook with her fans in Becca Nation.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bighopesbigheroes/
Becca Nation Facebook Fan Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BeccaNation/
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2vsJTmi