By author Alice Loweecey
It’s no secret that a lot of writers claim to be fueled by coffee. I’m an odd bird, because caffeine has no effect on me. I can drink espresso (yum) and fall asleep right afterward. However, a good, strong, rich cup of coffee can fuel me with its deliciousness and the act of drinking something hot. It breaks up the Quasimodo hunch over the keyboard.
(I’ll pause while all of you who realized you were hunching stretch and regroup.)
Ill admit to being a coffee snob in one sense: If it’s thin and bitter, it’s not touching my lips. That goes for tea as well. Green tea? Thank you, no. White tea? It doesn’t even pass my doorstep. Herbal tea? I make two exceptions: Celestial Seasonings’ Peppermint and Bigelow Jasmine.
But the real point of this is coffee. As in, Seattle’sBest No. 5. You can have mine when you pry it out of my cold, dead hands. Seattle’s Best is owned by Starbucks but its No. 5 is smoother and richer than Starbucks French Roast. Trust me on this: I’ve done a LOT of research. Taste testing takes stamina, but someone has to step up and do it. I willingly took that burden upon my shoulders. Nom.
I got to thinking that mysteries are like coffee. The genre has something for everyone. I started out as a horror writer, but I was published first in mystery. My first three books were labeled “soft-boiled” mysteries. The next three are labeled “humorous” and “cozy.” They all have a touch of romance too.
So I decided to create a pairings chart, like wine experts do for which wine tastes best with which meal.
Espresso = Noir
Strong black coffee = Hardboiled
Coffee with cream = Soft boiled
Coffee with cream and sugar = Sweet mystery
Flavored coffee = Mysteries with sidekicks, animal or human
Coffee with syrup shots = Mysteries with extras, like recipes and crafts
Irish coffee = Mysteries with romance
Any coffee with a shot of whiskey (my grandfather’s favorite) = Paranormal mystery
I haven’t done enough research to confirm the fitness of all my pairings. Call me a slacker, but the trouble is I really don’t like sweet coffee or flavored coffee. My sleuth Giulia won’t drink any other kind. I do not understand that woman.
The ancillary pairings list is of course coffee and pastry. I do love desserts.
Espresso = Napoleon
Strong black coffee = Frycakes
Coffee with cream = Jelly doughnuts
Coffee with cream and sugar = Cinnamon buns
Flavored coffee = Nutella Mug Cake
Coffee with syrup shots = Lemon or raspberry bars
Irish coffee = Soda bread, of course
Any coffee with a shot of whiskey (my grandfather’s favorite) = Scones
Now that I’ve made everyone hungry, I’ll share my Irish Soda Bread recipe. I’m Italian, so I called for help the first time I made it. This was given to me by an Irish friend, and it’s her grandmother’s recipe.
Irish Soda Bread
4 C flour
1 t salt
1 t soda
1 t powder
1 T sugar
1-2 T caraway seeds (optional)
1/2 C raisins (optional)
1-1/2 C buttermilk*
Mix dry ingredients. Add buttermilk to make a soft dough that is just firm enough to hold its shape. Use more flour or milk as needed. Knead a few minutes till dough is smooth and velvety. Form into a round loaf and place on a greased cookie sheet. Cut a large cross on top with a sharp, floured knife. Bake until loaf is nicely browned and the bottom sounds hollow when rapped. Cool before slicing.
* If you don’t have buttermilk, sour any milk by putting 1 T vinegar in a cup measure and adding enough milk to make 1 C. Stir and let it set a few minutes.
I like my soda bread on the sweet side, so I always add raisins and a little more sugar than the recipe calls for.
Enjoy! And let me know your ideas for the perfect coffee/mystery parings.
–Check out the Giveaway Below–
About the Author:
Baker of brownies and tormenter of characters, Alice Loweecey recently celebrated her thirtieth year outside the convent. She grew up watching Hammer horror films and Scooby-Doo mysteries, which explains a whole lot. When she’s not creating trouble for her sleuth Giulia Driscoll or inspiring nightmares as her alter-ego Kate Morgan, she can be found growing her own vegetables (in summer) and cooking with them (the rest of the year).
(click on cover to go to amazon page)
Giulia Driscoll’s sister-in-law barges into Driscoll Investigations and promptly passes out from OD’ing on an unknown drug. Two OD’d teenagers are found dead in the park and behind a convenience store. DI’s new client insists her missing twin sister is not dead and enlists Giulia as the “Missing Person Whisperer.” Hooray for steady work?
The missing sister’s trail leads to married, pregnant, ex-nun Giulia’s first experience with online dating sites, to the delight of her husband and employees. Those dates lead her to local Doomsday Preppers. They grow their own everything, and that everything may be connected to the drugs, her sister-in-law, and the missing twin. These Preppers are about to learn the true meaning of doom.
a Rafflecopter giveaway