Please welcome Passionate Cook David Lee Summers to the Cafe!
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My name is David Lee Summers and I’m the author of the Scarlet Order Vampire series, which includes the novels Vampires of the Scarlet Order and the forthcoming Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order. One of the things I enjoyed about writing paranormal romance was the opportunity to explore vampire legends and lore. Around the turn of the twentieth century, there was a vampire folklorist named Montague Summers (no relation) who collected tales of vampires into two volumes, The Vampire, His Kith and Kin and The Vampire in Europe. According to Summers, one of the things that distinguishes a vampire from a human is that a vampire is unable to eat solid food.
Now, I am truly passionate about food. Giving it up, even for immortality, would be incredibly difficult! I decided to explore this idea in Vampires of the Scarlet Order and my thoughts eventually turned to a familiar vampire trope–the idea that vampires are repelled by garlic. In the novel, Jane Heckman is a lonely scientist who is turned into a vampire by the dashing five-hundred-year old Rudolfo de Cordoba. She begins a series of diary entries that explain her observations about vampires. In one of the entries, she writes:
Rudolfo stored many of his volumes of literature and writings in the Socorro Peak cave, a fact that lends credence to the claims of his history and pedigree. Rudolfo has shown me some of the texts he had stored away. Among them is a fascinating volume written by a league of professional vampire hunters from the Island of Santorini in Greece. So far, this volume is the closest thing I’ve seen to a scholarly study of real vampires. However, its focus is entirely on how vampires may be destroyed and does little to explain the actual nature of vampires.
Though the hunter’s guidebook goes a long way toward explaining the origins of classical vampire lore, I find many of these topics leave me with more questions than answers. On the other hand, there are topics that the hunter’s guidebook explains quite satisfactorily.
For example, the hunter’s guidebook explains that garlic is unreliable as a means to drive off or delay a vampire. The reason garlic works at all is due to the fact that vampires cannot digest solid food. Since smell is one of the most evocative senses, aromatic foods such as garlic and onions can cause a vampire to long for his former, human existence. I could imagine that the smell of freshly baked bread or chocolate chip cookies might do just as well to distract me.
Jane Heckman is from Socorro, New Mexico, a town where I lived for six years and the place where I met the love of my life, my wife Kumie. One of the things I enjoyed most about Socorro was the terrific local food. When the staff of All Romance eBooks solicited submissions for Passionate Cooks, I immediately thought of the wonderful food in Socorro.
My recipe in Passionate Cooks is called “Spicy But Comforting Chilaquiles.” Chilaquiles started as a way to use the leftovers of Mexican food, including strips of fried tortilla (or tortilla chips), sauce, cheese and a little meat. In essence, they’re the original nachos, but filling enough to make a light supper when served with refried beans and rice. It’s quick enough, it can be whipped up in a few minutes, but satisfying enough to linger over. Pair the dish with a dark Mexican beer such as Negra Modelo or a slightly sweet wine such as a Riesling. The Scarlet Order Vampires can drink wine, so bring enough to share as they pine over the delicious, aromatic dish you’ve made to share with someone you love.
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