The Chicks welcome back the always-entertaining Sherry Harris, author of the popular Sarah Winston Garage Sale mysteries. Take it away, Sherry!
Thanks Chicks for having me back! Ellen recently posted a link on Facebook to a funny article that was on The Onion about an Italian grandmother talking about lasagna. (Here’s the link – warning there is some bad language – https://local.theonion.com/italian-grandmother-doesn-t-have-heart-to-tell-family-a-1822927180_)
The gist of the article is that there is a supposed Italian grandmother whose family wants her recipe for lasagna that they think is secret and has been handed down for generations. The grandmother on the other hand doesn’t want to admit that the recipe is off a pasta box, that anyone can make a lasagna, and soufflé is what is hard to make.
The article made me laugh because one of the subplots in I Know What You Bid Last Summer is about a lasagna bake-off. The book opens with Sarah’s good friend Angelo DiNapoli saying, “I need your help, Sarah.” Sarah can’t imagine what she could possible do for him, but is willing to do just about anything. She even thinks: Angelo and his wife have done so much for me that I’d gladly do anything this side of legal to help them. And maybe the other side of legal, if it was really important.
Angelo finally tells her he’s entering a lasagna bake-off and that he wants her to check out the top five competitors’ lasagna. Sarah, of course, says yes. Then Angelo adds that he wants her to bring him back a piece and that he doesn’t want anyone to find out what she’s doing. In the meantime, Angelo’s wife is telling Sarah she doesn’t have to do this. But Sarah is ready to set out on this quest.
The Italian grandma story reminds me of another completely true story. Family friends had an Italian exchange student years ago. The host mom was a cooking teacher and fabulous cook. She kept making him plates of spaghetti and he kept telling her it wasn’t like home. Finally, one night when she was in a hurry she heated up a can of Chef Boyardee. The student tells her this tasted like home!
Back to I Know What You Bid Last Summer – I spent a lot of time thinking and writing about lasagna for the next several months. I put Sarah in some situations that I hope you will find funny. I always like to use a bit of comic relief to balance the more serious murder investigations Sarah becomes involved with. In this case Sarah is running an athletic equipment swap for the Ellington school board and finds the superintendent dead in the supply closet.
Sarah goes back and forth between investigating the school board members who all seem to have a reason not to like the superintendent and going to local restaurants to eat lasagna without anyone recognizing her.
After I turn a book in, our family tradition is to go out to dinner. After I sent off I Know What You Bid Last Summer we went to an Italian restaurant (go figure) to celebrate. I hadn’t eaten lasagna in over a year, but I opened the menu, spotted it, and thought, “I’m so sick of lasagna!” Then I realized it was Sarah who is sick of lasagna not me. But I ordered the Marsala anyway.
Bio: Sherry Harris is the Agatha Award nominated author of the Sarah Winston Garage Sale mystery series. She is the Vice President of Sisters in Crime National, a member of the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime, the New England Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers. In her spare time Sherry loves reading, is a patent holding inventor, and is a former model (okay, it was just the one time at Talbots last year, but it was fun). Sherry, her husband, and guard dog Lily are living in northern Virginia until they figure out where they want to move to next.
Readers, what’s your favorite Italian dish?