The Story Behind Cowboy Bites by Lorelei James
02 Mar 2021
By Lorelei James
I’d like to claim that the concept of pairing beloved reader stories with a kick-ass chef’s recipes was entirely my idea.
Truth is…it wasn’t.
Blue Box Press has put out several volumes of these writer and chef cookbooks. Some of my author friends have gone this route and I admit to jealousy about the cool stuff they were creating with words and food. So when the sweet and talented Suzanne Johnson had an opening in her schedule, I jumped right in, asking if she’d be interested in collaborating. She said yes, and we immediately sat down and began planning what type of cookbook it’d be.
Many of the characters in my Rough Riders series are great home cooks and there were a few infamous foodstuffs (like jams and brownies) that I knew my readers would love to recreate in their own kitchens. Since a few of my characters work in the restaurant industry, I wanted to explore the “signature dish” situation of a hometown diner. But because the series is set in rural Wyoming, I didn’t want odd or exotic ingredients for the recipes. And beings the McKay family are ranchers, I asked that some of the recipes be hearty enough to feed hungry, hard-working men, as well as being family friendly. But I also suggested a section of recipes for people who aren’t great cooks (like one of my female characters) that were super easy to prepare. Oh, and needed a fun section with appetizers and drinks.
Sort of a tall order, but to no one’s surprise, Suzanne delivered every single thing I asked for!
For the story aspect of the cookbook, I chose six couples from my Rough Riders world. Rather than writing a linear timeline, I opted to pick a different time in each of the couples’ lives, which allowed me to show my readers a slice of life, after the happily-ever-afters 😊
Because of COVID-19, Suzanne and I weren’t able to get together physically so I could sample her creations, but I had laid claim to a couple of recipes she’d had created during our author retreat weekends. Instead, she sent me pictures of everything she whipped up, and man, that was torture because I could see the love and care she put into the preparations.
So readers are in for a treat with good food and fun stories!
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