As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles (A Food Lovers’ Village Mystery): Interview with Author Leslie Budewitz

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Erin is one smart cookie, but can she keep the holiday spirit—and herself—alive till Christmas?

In Jewel Bay, all is merry and bright. At Murphy’s Mercantile, AKA the Merc, manager Erin Murphy is ringing in the holiday season with food, drink, and a new friend: Merrily Thornton. A local girl gone wrong, Merrily has turned her life around. But her parents have publicly shunned her, and they nurse a bitterness that chills Erin.

When Merrily goes missing and her boss discovers he’s been robbed, fingers point to Merrily—until she’s found dead, a string of lights around her neck. The clues and danger snowball from there. Can Erin nab the killer—and keep herself in one piece—in time for a special Christmas Eve?

Includes delicious recipes!


Leslie, thanks for stopping by Island Confidential! Can you tell us about your protagonist, Erin?

Erin Murphy runs the Merc, a local foods shop in her family’s hundred-year-old grocery in the heart of the village of Jewel Bay, Montana. She’s half Italian, as you can tell by her name, and deeply committed to the village, local business, her friends and family, and justice. Like a lot of Montana kids, she left the state for a few years, then returned. It still surprises her to realize that while she was gone, her hometown changed. But then, so did she.

In AS THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE CRUMBLES, Erin meets another woman returning to her hometown after years away and feels an instant connection. She’s determined to forge a friendship, despite what some locals, and the woman’s own parents, say about her. She’s busy at the Merc, village headquarters for holiday food and gifts. And she’s getting married on Christmas Eve.

What could go wrong?

How much alike are you and Erin?

Like Erin, I grew up in Montana, left, and returned. I’m enjoying exploring that theme, a common one, through the experiences of a younger woman. Like her, I’m obsessed with food and enjoy cooking and entertaining. Erin shares my habit of spouting odd lines of poetry or from a play, my love of cats and cookies, and my commitment to my community. Although her mother Fresca and I aren’t much alike, I suspect that if I met Erin, she would feel like a daughter to me.

Do your characters change and evolve throughout consecutive books in the series?

Oh, definitely! That’s part of their appeal to me as a writer, and I hope, part of their appeal to the reader.

Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life–on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean?

I’ve thought of it, but never done it because if I disliked someone that much, I wouldn’t want to spend six months and 300 pages with them!

How realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?

The village of Jewel Bay, Montana is closely based on the town where I live, though I’ve changed the street names and most of the businesses. A few are simply too cozy, too iconic, to mess with, so I’ve kept them alive, with the owners’ permission—Red’s Bar, the Playhouse, and the Jewel Inn would all be easy to identify if you strolled the streets with me. There’s a touch of wish fulfillment in my fictional town—a lovely green belt we lack around the bay, which we do have, a library and community center we hope to get soon, and a bakery I’m glad doesn’t exist because I would drop in far too often!

When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?

Honestly, I don’t know! I don’t use actors as models for my story people, and couldn’t begin to cast the finished project! Occasionally, I picture someone I know when I start creating a character, but they evolve so much as the story unfolds that no one would ever recognize them on the page.

What’s the worst and best advice you’ve heard or received as an author?

It’s actually the same piece of advice: Do whatever works. It’s the best because it gives a writer permission to find her own way, and the worst because it can give her an excuse to stay stuck in a rut. Writers are often told they must write every day. When I started, I was practicing law full-time, sometimes more. I just didn’t have the brain power to write every day, so I wrote on Fridays and Saturday mornings—and finished three manuscripts that way. But when my work schedule changed, I chose to develop new writing habits and now I do write nearly every day. I’ve always been a planner, but when I couldn’t see the middle of a book in advance, despite knowing the ending, I let myself start anyway, trusting that I would discover what happened in those chapters along the way. Following a radically different process was terrifying, but for that book, it worked. And now, because I’ve been willing to explore other processes, other options, I’ve got more writerly tools in my box.

Thank you for letting me introduce myself to your readers. It is such a gift to be trusted with someone’s most valuable assets: their time and attention. I am grateful to be able to explore the world through storytelling—and it’s the readers who make that possible.


About The Author  

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. She lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician, and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model, and avid bird-watcher.

Connect with her on her website, http://www.LeslieBudewitz.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

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Character interview and giveaway: Pick and Chews: A Barkery and Biscuits Mystery by Linda O. Johnston

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Carrie Kennersly tries to help her veterinarian boyfriend when he’s under suspicion of murder…Is he a keeper, or should she let him go off-leash for good?
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Plum Tea Crazy: A new Tea Shop Mystery by NYT Bestselling Author Laura Childs

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Theodosia Browning investigates a Charleston steeped in tradition and treachery in the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.

While viewing the harbor’s Gaslights and Galleons Parade from the widow’s walk of Timothy Neville’s Charleston mansion, local banker Carson Lanier seemingly tumbles over a narrow railing, then plunges three stories to his death. But a tragic accident becomes something much more sinister when it’s discovered that the victim was first shot with a bolt from a crossbow.

At the request of the mansion owner, Theodosia investigates the tragedy and is soon neck deep in suspects. An almost ex-wife, a coworker, a real estate partner–all had motives for killing the luckless banker, but one resorted to murder to settle accounts.

INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS!

 


Interview with Laura Childs, New York Times bestselling author of Plum Tea Crazy.

Laura, thanks for stopping by Island Confidential. Can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist?

Theodosia Browning is the sassy, outgoing proprietor of the Indigo Tea Shop. Formerly a marketing exec, Theodosia is quick-witted and droll, and has a knack for getting embroiled in police investigations.

How alike are you and Theodosia? 

I’m a former marketing exec myself, but I’ve never gotten involved in a criminal investigation. However, if I met Theodosia in real life I’d probably be analyzing clues right alongside her and trying to figure out a list of suspects.

Do your characters change and evolve throughout consecutive books in the series?

They’re the same characters personality-wise. However, they have grown and evolved a bit over the course of nineteen books. For example, Theodosia and her dog Earl Grey used to live in the apartment above the Indigo Tea Shop. Now they reside in a cute little Hansel and Gretel cottage in Charleston’s historic district.

Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life – on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean?

I haven’t killed anyone from my past in any of my books, but I do get my petty revenge from time to time. I assign their names to killers or characters that I particularly detest!

How realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties or are you true to life?

My Charleston, SC setting is faithful right down to the antique cobblestones. The places I write about – Church Street, Gateway Walk, Duelers Alley, White Point Gardens – are all real places. My job as an author is to capture their charm and allure with words. I want you to picture the Spanish moss swaying in the trees, smell the salty Atlantic air rushing in, and have the feeling of being followed down a narrow, walled-in lane.

When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major roles?

I think Debra Messing would make a terrific Theodosia

and Michael Caine would be a delightful Drayton.

What’s the worst and best advice you’ve ever heard or received as an author?

Worst advice – English teachers (pretty much all of them) who tried to hammer in that old maxim of “writing what you know about.” If authors did that we’d never have fantastic novels about outer space, time travel, and dinosaurs. Writing is all about creating imagery – a direct product of stretching your imagination!

Best advice – This was an object lesson of sorts. Mystery great Mary Higgins Clark took me under her wing at a Mystery Writers of America symposium and graciously introduced me to several editors and agents. When it came time for lunch – when Mary had a plethora of invitations – she whispered to me that she had to go home and write, that she had a tricky deadline. That’s when I realized that producing pages and meeting deadlines took precedence over panel discussions, lunch, and everything else. I realized that writing was serious business.

BONUS: Stay tuned for a character interview with Theodosia Browning herself!


About the Author

laura-childs-from-facebook

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fund raising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:

The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

Visit Laura’s webpage or find her on Facebook.

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New College Town Cozy Series: Gone with the Wings, a Meera Patel Mystery

Author Leena Clover announces a brand new cozy mystery series set in a small Oklahoma college town. Mystery readers will enjoy this culinary cozy murder mystery featuring plenty of yummy recipes like Masala Fried Chicken and Shish Kabob Blue Plate Special.
Meera Patel is back home with the family after she dropped out of graduate school. Now she shelves books for a living and rustles up fusion recipes at Sylvie’s Cafe & Diner. Everything is fine until her old nemesis Prudence Walker floats up in the local pond. Meera is accused of murder! Well, she did publicly declare Prudence would drop dead.Meera cries foul and screams police harassment. But she has no defense when she is accused of a second crime. Flanked by pals Tony and Becky, Meera puts in the leg work, trying to solve clues and discard red herrings.Fall in Oklahoma has never been more exciting.Cozy mystery fans will love this new mystery series featuring an Asian American amateur sleuth. There is a full cast of characters with a professor father, young sibling, old grandparents, loyal friends and a candid glimpse into South Asian culture.


Character Interview: Meera Patel

Meera, welcome to Island Confidential. Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

I’m Meera Patel, a 20 something girl from Swan Creek, Oklahoma. My father loves to think I’m some kind of prodigy. I think he expects me to be one. But I love cooking more than hacking computer networks which I’m good at. Really good at. No one really knows why I dropped out of graduate school just a few credits shy of getting my degree. I packed my bags one fine day, bid California goodbye and came back home to Swan Creek. A certain blue eyed guy might have something to do with it. But no one’s guessed it yet. So let’s keep it between us for now.

Who’s the Gone With the Wings character you get along with the best?

That’s a toss-up between Tony and Becky. We’ve been together since first grade. But there’s some things I talk to Becky about that I can’t share with Tony. He’s a guy, after all.

Is there anyone you don’t get along with so well? 

Pappa, my grandpa, is always on my case, I don’t know why. He refers to me as ‘that girl’ all the time, never calls me sweetie or baby like my Motee Ba. He’s just a cranky old man, I guess. Or he just likes ordering everyone around. Colonial hangover!

Just between you and me: What do you really think of Leena, your author?

I think she’s done a fair job so far. She’s kept my secrets. She lets something slip once in a while, but thankfully, it’s been vague enough that most people haven’t caught on. She keeps wanting to talk about my mother though. And my future. What’s the rush, I don’t get it. I’m happy frying chicken at Sylvie’s, for now. Maybe I won’t be doing it two years later. But I’m in no hurry to get there.

What’s next for you?

Have you joined forces with my Dad? That’s all he asks me every few days. He wants me to get on with my life, do something spectacular. But what? Isn’t that the million dollar question?

I’m having a good time back here in Swan Creek. Rustling up new recipes for Sylvie’s Café is rewarding. And then I spend all my free time with my pals. I think I might have to go back to school soon. Maybe even teach a few classes. Or I might become a full fledged PI. Yeah, that’ll be the day. Meera Patel, Private Investigator instead of Dr. Meera Patel, Professor.

Que Sera Sera, right? What do you think is in store for me?


About the Author

Leena Clover is the author of the brand new Meera Patel Cozy Mystery Series, starring a 20 something Desi girl as the protagonist. The series is set in a small Oklahoma college town Meera calls home.

Leena Clover offers plenty of clues for her readers so that they can solve the mystery as they read along. Readers can expect a unique look into Indian/ South Asian culture and plenty of yummy recipes.Author Links

Twitter – http://twitter.com/leenaclover

Facebook – http://facebook.com/meerapatelcozymystery

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16918791.Leena_Clover


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New Tea Shop Mystery: Pekoe Most Poison by Laura Childs

>>>Enter to Win a Print Copy of Pekoe Most Poison<<<

In the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs, Theodosia Browning attends a “Rat Tea,” where the mice will play…at murder.

When Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning is invited by Doreen Briggs, one of Charleston’s most prominent hostesses, to a “Rat Tea,” she is understandably intrigued. As servers dressed in rodent costumes and wearing white gloves offer elegant finger sandwiches and fine teas, Theo learns these parties date back to early twentieth-century Charleston, where the cream of society would sponsor so-called rat teas to promote city rodent control and better public health.

But this party goes from odd to chaotic when a fire starts at one of the tables and Doreen’s entrepreneur husband suddenly goes into convulsions and drops dead. Has his favorite orange pekoe tea been poisoned? Theo smells a rat.

The distraught Doreen soon engages Theo to pursue a discreet inquiry into who might have murdered her husband. As Theo and her tea sommelier review the guest list for suspects, they soon find themselves drawn into a dangerous game of cat and mouse…

INCLUDES RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS


About the Author

laura-childs-from-facebook

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fund raising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:

The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

Visit Laura’s webpage or find her on Facebook.


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New Cozy and #Interview: Egg Drop Dead by Laura Childs

In Laura Childs’s New York Times bestselling mystery series, Suzanne, Petra, and Toni—co-owners of the Cackleberry Club café—are back to track down another bad egg…

egg-drop-dead
When Suzanne Dietz, proprietor of the Cackleberry Club Café, stops by Mike Mullen’s dairy farm to pick up wheels of cheese, she’s greeted by the urgent, upturned faces of cows that haven’t been milked – as well as Mike’s mangled body! Stunned by her grisly discovery, Suzanne vows to find out who killed this mild-mannered farmer. Was it the shunned neighbor boy, a strange man transporting horses to Canada, or Mike’s unhappy wife? Juggling multiple suspects, a busy restaurant, tea parties, and a raucous Halloween celebration, Suzanne maintains her good humor and keeps her romance with the town doctor sizzling. In the tradition of all her previous New York Times bestselling cozies, Laura Childs doesn’t let her readers down when it comes to heart-warming humor, a breathless pace, and homespun recipes!

 


Q: Laura, thanks for stopping by Island Confidential. Can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist, Suzanne? 

A: Suzanne Dietz, is the owner of the Cackleberry Club Café along with her partners Toni and Petra. Suzanne is sweet, tough, and imbued with a can-do spirit. She also has a great sense of justice. When some poor character gets murdered, she’s almost driven to bring the killer to justice. Of course, that puts Suzanne in a lot of hot water and can make her quite unpopular with local law enforcement. Suzanne is also a dog lover, horse owner, and excellent cook who tries to source all her fresh ingredients locally. (She also shares her recipes with readers!)

Q: How much of you is in the Suzanne? What do you think would happen if you met her in real life?

A: Suzanne is curious, unafraid to push the envelope, and very much an entrepreneur, so I’d say there’s some of me in her. I started an ad agency (against the advice of a bunch of seasoned ad guys) at the age of thirty and ran it successfully for twenty years. If I met Suzanne in real life, I’d probably buy her a drink and talk about what the next chapter of our lives holds.

Q: Do your characters change and evolve throughout consecutive books in the series?

A: They change and evolve somewhat, but their basic personalities always shine through. Suzanne’s two partners, Toni and Petra, are probably a little more outrageous now than when I started. Toni is the resident hottie-pattotie with skin-tight cowboy shirts, hot pink extensions, and a bawdy sense of humor. Petra is probably a little less religious now that when we started out. I guess I’m a bad influence on them.

Q: Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life – only on the pages of a murder mystery?

When I owned my marketing firm, there were always certain clients who were cranky and demanding or tried to cheat us. Now I take my petty revenge on them by putting them in my mysteries (Cackleberry Club, Tea Shop, and Scrapbook Mysteries). I either kill them off in a gruesome manner or name a slimy character after them. It’s great fun!

Q: How realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?

A: I grew up in a small, Midwestern town, so I think my setting for the Cackleberry Club Mysteries is spot on. The mysteries take place in the fictional town of Kindred, which is rural, charming, and filled with quirky characters who have surprisingly dark secrets. Really, just like the place I grew up!

Q: What’s the worst and best advice you’ve heard or received as an author?

A: No advice, but a very telling story:  Once when I was at the Mystery Writers of American symposium in New York, I was talking with Mary Higgins Clark. She had helped me get started and had set me up with her agent. It was almost noon and I wanted to take her to lunch. But when I brought it up, she got this funny, almost frightened look on her face and said, “Oh, I wish. But I have to go home and write. My publisher wants another 50,000 words in six weeks.” That’s when I knew this whole writing thing was deadly serious – that panels and symposiums and signings are all grand, but until you park yourself in that chair and start cranking out words, you’re not really a professional author at all.

 


About the Author

laura-childs-from-facebook

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fund raising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:

The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

Visit Laura’s webpage or find her on Facebook.


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Recipe: Easy Quiche

Here in rural Hawaii, many of our neighbors own chickens. When they’re laying (the chickens, I mean), we have access to really fresh, delicious eggs–and a lot of them.

Here’s a quick way to turn a dozen eggs into a tasty meal. If you’re watching your carbs, this is a great, keto-friendly dish. If you’re limiting your fat intake, this is probably not the recipe for you.


 

Preheat oven to 350.

Take

1 dozen eggs
1 pound shredded cheese (cheddar or Swiss style)
1.5 cups heavy cream
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic salt

(Optional) 1/2 cup to 1 cup of whatever leftover cooked meat or vegetables you have in the fridge that might taste good. Chopped Spam, for example.

Mix everything together (I use a KitchenAid mixer) and pour into an oiled or parchment-lined lasagna pan. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Bake about an hour and fifteen minutes. Or if you’re using combination microwave/convection, half an hour at 325.


 

Easy quiche

This is for the entire quiche.

 


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SPAM musubis are gluten free, are therefore health food | Recipe with photos

If you’re really on a budget, you can use the Spam can as a musubi mold.

Delicious, inexpensive Spam musubis

SPAM musubis are gluten free, are therefore health food | Recipe with photos.


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Recipe: Mike’s Famous Pork Belly

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to consume more animal fat, then you’ve come to the right place.  Here is the no-longer-secret recipe for Mike’s Famous Pork Belly, star of the potluck table and scourge of your 2015 weight-loss plans.

Pork bellies look like bacon, and in fact it’s the same fatty, boneless cut of meat. The only difference is that bacon is cured or smoked. If pork belly is not available in your area you can buy it online.

Pork Belly: Eerily similar to bacon.

Pork Belly: Eerily similar to bacon. Click to enlarge.

Cooking pork belly is tricky. You want to get it crisp, but not too hard and tough. The secret ingredients? Water, and very particular application of heat.

1) Cut it into thick slices, then sliced through the skin 0.5-1 cm deep, 1-2 cm apart (or 1/4 inch deep, 1/4 – 1/2 inch apart).

Raw pork belly. Click for a bigger picture.

Raw pork belly. Click to enlarge.

2) Season with Montreal steak seasoning (or your salty seasoning of choice).

3) Place on a rack in a roasting pan skin side up, covering some of the larger spaces with foil so the meat doesn’t fall through.

Pork belly arranged in the roasting pan. Click to enlarge.

Pork belly arranged in the roasting pan. Click to enlarge.

Arrange the strips skin-up across the supports of the rack. Click to enlarge.

Arrange the strips skin-up across the supports of the rack. Click to enlarge.

4) Add water to cover the bottom of the pan–about 0.5 cm or 1/4 inch.
5) Bake at 149 C/ 300 F for 4 hours
6) Turn up the heat to 232 C/ 450 F and bake for another 0.5 hours

The finished product. Click to enlarge.

Pork in a Pan

7) Turn on broiler and watch until the pork belly reaches the desired crispness–do not walk away because it can burn very quickly.

8) Slice it into bite-size chunks. You may not even have time to transport it from the cutting board to the serving dish because your guests will swipe pieces of it. Like bacon, it can be considered a finger food.

Crisp, succulent, and very, very fatty. Click to enlarge.

Crisp, succulent, and very, very fatty. Click to enlarge.

You will have a lot of rendered fat in the pan. Pour it out and save it, and use it to fry things. Like your Spam and egg breakfast the next morning.


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Recipe: Easy Pork Butt

Calling this a “recipe” might be a little grandiose, but it’s a great way to get a main dish going with minimal effort and maximal deliciousness.

What we call pork butt is actually the shoulder.

Know Your Pig Parts

1) Buy a pork butt. It will probably be somewhere in the 5-10 pound range. If you’re lucky enough to have locally raised pork available, go for it! If you can get a bone-in butt, you’ll get the benefit of all of that glycine, proline, and other bone-y benefits.

2) Drop the pork butt into your slow cooker.

You should have a slow cooker in your kitchen. I like the latching cover for potluck-friendly portability, and the shallow oval shape for access to the food.

3) Dump Montreal Steak Seasoning all over it.  Make sure it’s on all the surfaces.

You should always have some of this around.

4) Put the slow cooker on medium or auto and leave it to cook until it’s fork-tender, about 8 hours.

4a) Obligatory Spam reference: Leftovers can be pan-fried until crispy in the same pan as diced Spam for maximum pork-y goodness.


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