I love Patricia Cornwell books and her crime-solving extraordinaire character, Kay Scarpetta. I have read them all and always loved how Kay was passionate about cooking, even in the midst of solving crimes of every kind. While reading them, I remember thinking, she should write a cookbook; then remembered Kay was only a character! So imagine my surprise when this book was published in 2001, and co-authored by someone I actually knew. Marlene Brown, a cookbook author, recipe developer, and food stylist, formerly worked for Better Homes and Gardens. When my girls were young, our family was featured in a Better Homes cookbook about prize-winning cooks. Marlene was at our home for several days, along with another food editor and photographer. We had the time of our lives for those few days. I learned so much about food styling by watching Marlene work her magic. I knew if this cookbook had Marlene’s name on it, it would be amazing; then add Patricia Cornwell to the mixture, and I was in food crime heaven!
In the introduction of the book, Patricia Cornwell describes how she uses food and cooking to connect with people. The cookies she made as a child, are the ones that inspired her to use in one of her novels, The Last Precinct. In the same book, she included a Key Lime pie for a Christmas scene, inspired by her grandmother’s lime tree. As the character of Kay Scarpetta was developed, Patricia thought it was a natural choice for Kay to love cooking as much as she does herself. I love how Patricia makes a point to instruct us about the use of good, fresh ingredients, like herbs, vegetables, and fresh mozzarella. The character of Kay makes a lot of pasta in the books, and you will find great pasta dishes in the cookbook, too. The chapters are actually the titles of her books, and whatever Kay or another character cooked in that particular book, the recipe is in the cookbook. The recipes are fabulous! Or rather, to die for.
Since many best-selling novels are made into movies, which I hope will happen with Patricia’s books, I try to imagine what Hollywood star would fit a particular role. The Kay Scarpetta character has been a favorite of mine for a long time, so it has been fun to figure out which actress could fill her shoes. If any of you are also fans of Patricia Cornwell books and her character of Kay, who would you like to see play that role? I have thought of many, but I think my favorite choice so far is Diane Lane. She seems the right combination of toughness, brains, beauty, and strength.
But can she cook?