Monday, November 24, 2014

Guest Post: The Importance of Food in the Tempe Crabtree Series by Marilyn Meredith

Let me begin by saying, I always disliked mysteries where the characters never bothered to eat. This series doesn’t center around food like some do, but my characters are real people with healthy appetites.
Often Tempe and Hutch eat at the Bear Creek Inn. The part owner and chef is Nick Two John who cooks some wonderful meals, but never shares the recipes. His reasoning is if Hutch cooked them at home, he and Tempe might not come to the inn for meals.
Hutch is a good cook, though tends to cook simpler means that those served by Nick. One of his dishes favored by Tempe’s son, Blair is macaroni and cheese. Nothing like the boxed kind, Hutch’s macaroni dish has lots of cheddar cheese, butter and sour cream. He always cooks it long enough so that the topping of American cheese browns around the edges.
In River Spirits, Miqui Sherwood has opened her house once again to guests, the producer/director of a movie being made on the Bear Creek Indian Reservation, and his assistant. On a Sunday after church, Miqui invites Tempe and Hutch to dinner and serves Indian tacos.
Most of the ideas for the meals Nick prepares come from dinners I’ve eaten in a restaurant that I really enjoyed. I also try to figure out the ingredients and make the dish at home. Sometimes I’m successful, sometimes not.
When it comes to Hutch’s cooking, his choices are much like what I cook. As for recipes, I’m one of those who dumps some of this in, a bit of that, and a sprinkle or two of a spice I particularly like. I’m fond of crushed red pepper—not much, but it adds a zip to lots of things like stuffed green peppers, beef stews, soups, and chili beans.
I’ve had plenty of practice cooking, having been married for sixty plus years, raising five of my own kids, a few grandkids, feeding lots of extras at every meal, and for twenty-two years I ran a residential care facility in my own home with six developmentally disabled women. Eating was one of their favorite activities and I fed them well—along with whoever else was around to join us at the table.
So, of course food is going to play an important part in the lives of my characters as it does in my life.
Blurb for River Spirits:
While filming a movie on the Bear Creek Indian Reservation, the film crew trespasses on sacred ground, threats are made against the female stars, a missing woman is found by the Hairy Man, an actor is murdered and Deputy Tempe Crabtree has no idea who is guilty. Once again, the elusive and legendary Hairy Man plays an important role in this newest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery.
Marilyn Meredith is the author of over thirty-five published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, the latest River Spirits from Mundania Press. Marilyn is a member of three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. She lives in the foothills of the Sierra. Visit her at and her blog at

Contest: The winner will be the person who comments on the most blog posts during the tour.
He or she can either have a character in my next book named after them, or choose an earlier book in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series—either a paper book or e-book.

Come visit me tomorrow at Buried Under Books,
I’ll let you know why I keep on writing.


  1. Hi, Sharon, thank you so much for hosting me today. I know you are really busy right now and so I appreciate this even more.

    1. I don't think my reply took, so I'll send again. I use food in my books too, but mostly out at restaurants where major scenes take place. I can work up an appetite writing and reading scenes with delicious dishes. I already passed the part in River Spirits where Hutch fixes Mac and Cheese for Tempe's son. His homemade version sure sounds better than the frozen Stouffer's I microwave.

    2. Hi Linda. I make that mac and cheese--favorite of two of my grown
      grandkids--probably not the healthiest, but sure tastes good.

  2. Food is important in my novels too because I think what a person eats, where they eat, and what they cook tells you a lot about them.

  3. Thanks for posting, Judy. And I love when authors put in tidbits about meal the characters are fixing or eating, one of the reasons I do it too.

  4. Yes! And so agree with Judy. What, where, and how a character eats can help a reader picture and identify (or not) with your character. Good post!


  5. Thanks, Madeline. We do all eat differently and favor different kinds of foods--and yes, it does help with the characterization too.

  6. Oooops! The link to Marilyn's blog is faulty.

    1. John, my blog is

    2. That is so weird, the link is right, but it isn't linking. However when I put in the blog URL it works fine. H'mmm, no answer for why.