According to statistics, there are more than 33 million people in America–a little more than 10% of the population–who lay claim to Irish ancestors.
I am not one of them.
My bloodlines are strictly eastern European and I will take pierogi over corned beef and cabbage any day, a shot of vodka (it has to be from Poland) instead of a beer, a plate of the fruit-filled pastries called kolachki over . . . well, pretty much over anything!
So why begin my new Ethnic Eats mystery series with IRISH STEWED and Irish food?
The answer is really pretty simple. In the book, the heroine, Laurel Inwood, meets a man named Declan Fury who comes from a big, boisterous, rollicking Irish family. It’s no coincidence that my husband, David, comes from a big, boisterous . . . well, you get the picture.
David’s ancestors were railroaders, firemen and housekeepers. Our current circle (it’s a big one) of relatives includes bagpipers and cops and any number of in-laws, nieces and nephews who will argue politics passionately with you one moment, then drape an arm around your shoulders and give you a hug the next.
One of our best family traditions is a huge (we’re talking more than 100 people) St. Patrick’s Day party where David and I are always in charge of the colcannon. Ever have it? For the uninitiated, colcannon is simply mashed potatoes (the more butter added, the better) mixed with chopped steamed cabbage and kale. For our crowd, we start with fifty pounds of potatoes and every last bit of it is eaten.
Ah, if Laurel only had to worry about the Irish food she’s decided to add to the menu at her aunt’s restaurant! Life would be good if she could concentrate on boxty and soda bread, not on the body she finds in a booth her first day on the job. Serving up plates of Irish stew would be easier if she wasn’t so busy tracking down suspects, and since the victim is a TV investigative reporter, there are plenty to be had.
In addition to giving me the chance to craft a fun mystery, writing about ethnic food has allowed me to explore heritage and how our sense of self is wrapped up in memories and memories often come with the aroma of home cooking. How about you? What ethnic foods did you grow up eating?
IRISH STEWED, book #1 of the Ethnic Eats mystery series, went on sale May 3.
About Kylie Logan
Kylie Logan is a pseudonym used by Casey Daniels. She’s the author of several mystery series. As the daughter of a Cleveland Police detective and head of security for the Cleveland Library System, she came by her love of cops and books naturally.
About IRISH STEWED
The national bestselling author of the League of Literary Ladies Mysteries introduces an all-new cozy culinary mystery series featuring ethnic eats.
After flopping as a personal chef to a Hollywood movie star, jobless Laurel Inwood finds herself humbled in Hubbard, Ohio, helping her aunt Sophie run her restaurant. Much to Laurel’s dismay, Sophie’s Terminal at the Tracks is not the cozy bistro her aunt would have had her believe—it’s a run-down greasy spoon in an old railroad station. To save the dingy diner, Laurel cooks up a plan to feature alternating ethnic cuisine as specials.
But first there’s the problem of the body in the booth. Slumped over a table with a receipt spike in his back is Jack Lancer—”the Lance of Justice”—an investigative reporter for local TV news. Assisted by the drop-dead gorgeous owner of the neighboring Irish store—who may or may not be a suspect—Laurel sets out to track down a killer who had no reservations about impaling a newshound. But as she turns up the heat, will she end up in the soup herself?