by Peggy Lampman
I like that you use the word “flavor”, and I take license to first provide a literal answer to the question.
The landscape and citizenry of my hometown, Birmingham, Alabama, shaped my passion for food, which has inspired my cooking and writing style through the years––in essence, I write Southern Fried Fiction (-:
Raised in Alabama, Farm-to-Table is no fad for me, but a way of living and most emphatically influenced the plot and flavors of “Simmer and Smoke”. My family still lives in the house where I was raised, a plume of smoke often curling from the chimney in the barbecue pit, where a pork butt smokes. The Birmingham Farmers Market – Pepper Place – is a favorite; I visit whenever I can.
One of my protagonists, Mallory, is a version of myself in that we both had similar upbringings in the Deep South and both share a love of cooking, writing and photography. As well, we had by-lines in a newspaper and then, dot coms. Mallory is a more twisted, tortured and exaggerated version of who I was at her age, but, unlike Mallory, I’d had a couple of kids and a divorce under my belt. Having owned a specialty food store and worked in marketing for an upscale grocery chain, I’ve gotten to know many Shelby’s in my life, as well.
My inspiration to write “Simmer and Smoke” occurred one December afternoon in 2010. I was visiting my ancestral graveyard in Stewartville, a back-woods, confederate flag-waving town in Alabama. As I watched a young woman and child wander down the road, I wondered how a young mother could escape a town of racism, poverty and crack houses. That evening I wrote the first page of “Simmer and Smoke”.
I write of the smells and colors of the South savored in her fragrant magnolias, her simmering gumbos; I write of her affectations, her murky incongruities and transgressions; and I write about the power of her food ––the Soul of the South––bringing her people together.
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Peggy's Newest Release: Simmer & Smoke
A food writer who just lost the love of her life.
Two women discover what's worth fighting for in this deliciously rendered novel that illuminates the power of food, love, friendship and family on the human heart
1. ASSEMBLE INGREDIENTS:
Shelby Preston--a young, single mother trapped in a hardscrabble life in rural Georgia--escapes her reality as she fantasizes herself a respected chef in a kitchen of gleaming stainless steel and pans shimmering with heat. Mallory Lakes--an Atlanta newspaper food writer--may lose her job, and searches for her muse in a shot glass of illusion.
Mallory secures her job by crafting a zealous doppelgänger to satisfy the expectations of an illusive cyber audience. This also mollifies the memories of her lover who recently bolted; no warning. Shelby persuades her mother to take care of her daughter so she can pursue her dream of going to chef school in Atlanta. She cooks them a special dinner said to bring good luck; Lord knows her family could use a pot of something good.
Chasing desires and ambitions, the women's lives unravel down a path beyond the kitchen, then weave together in an unsettling culinary landscape of organic farms and shadowy borders--some borders not meant to be crossed. As Mallory combats her demons with booze and pills, and Shelby battles the odds stacked against her for becoming a chef, the women discover what's really worth fighting for.
Available Here: Amazon