Guest Chick: Debra H. Goldstein

F02 – Could Worst Cooks in America be in My Future? 

Sometimes, I think I should try out to be on Worst Cooks in America. I’m a natural – cooking from scratch petrifies me and almost everything I make in the kitchen frightens everyone else.
Let’s put it this way, if I offer to cook more than two nights in a row, my husband insists we go out for dinner. He’s anything but subtle.

From an early age, my children demonstrated the same reaction to my cooking. One evening, when my son was three or four, I announced it was dinner time. Distracted for a moment, I turned back to where he’d been standing and realized not only was he gone, but the door to the garage was open. Heart pounding, I raced into the garage and found him standing next to the car waiting to be put into his car seat.

A few years later, I received a call from school that the same child had flunked a story boarding test. He got the first three pictures right: the family sits down for dinner, the family eats dinner, and the family finishes dinner. The final picture got him. Apparently, the answer should have been the family clears the table, but my son answered, “They pay the check.”

For the past month, neither my family nor I have worried about me cooking. Somehow, while pushing buttons to clean my oven, I did something wrong. The oven emitted a burst of heat and the time on the clock disappeared. It was replaced by the message: “F 02.” I didn’t know what “F 02” meant, but it didn’t give me a warm and cozy feeling. A week later, when the repairman finally came, he took one look and said: “You fried the mother board. I’ll order a new one and be back to install it when it comes in.” That was three weeks ago. My family is praying the part is on backorder until next year.

At least there is one advantage to my kitchen phobia – I understand exactly how my protagonist, Sarah Blair, feels whenever she is threatened with having to make anything from scratch. In One Taste Too Many, when Sarah’s twin, Emily, a gourmet chef, is accused of murdering Sarah’s ex-husband with a taste of her award-winning rhubarb crisp, Sarah searches for the true killer lest she be forced to take Emily’s place at a Food Expo. Suffice to say, her efforts to avoid the kitchen in the newly released Two Bites Too Many probably won’t work out the way she hopes, either.

At least, in both One Taste Too Many and Two Bites Too Many, Sarah discovers some simple recipes that rely on pre-made ingredients. These include Jell-O in a Can.


Readers, how do you feel about the kitchen? Any easy recipes to share?


ABOUT THE BOOK: Things are finally looking up for Sarah Blair following her unsavory divorce. Settled into a cozy carriage house with her Siamese cat, RahRah, she has somehow managed to hang on to her law firm receptionist job and – if befriending flea-bitten strays at the local animal shelter counts – lead a thriving social life. For once, Sarah almost has it together more than her enterprising twin, Emily, a professional chef whose efforts to open a gourmet restaurant have hit a real dead end…

When the president of the town bank is murdered after icing Emily’s business plans, all eyes are on the one person who left the scene with blood on her hands – the twins’ sharp-tongued mother, Maybelle. Determined to get her mom off the hook ASAP, Sarah must collect the ingredients of a deadly crime to bring the true culprit to justice. But as neighbors turn against her family, can she pare down the suspects before another victim lands on the chopping block.

ABOUT DEBRA: Judge Debra H. Goldstein writes Kensington’s Sarah Blair mystery series (One Taste Too Many, Two Bites Too Many). She also wrote Should Have Played Poker and IPPY Award winning Maze in Blue. Her short stories, including Anthony and Agatha nominated “The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place,” have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies including Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Black Cat Mystery Magazine, and Mystery Weekly. Debra serves on the national boards of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America and is president of the Southeast Chapter of MWA and past president of SinC’s Guppy Chapter. Find out more about Debra at

29 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Debra H. Goldstein

  1. Welcome, Debra! I’m not a very good cook, but I do it out of necessity. I have a handful of regular meals I can make with a fair amount of competence. Anything else I attempt has a 50% chance of being inedible. I can’t say I’ve ever gotten an “F 02” warning though, so you might have me beat there!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I am not a very good cook, but there are a few things I can make fairly easily. My 20-something nephew and I live together, and he is a very picky about food cooked at home. I usually end up cooking for just myself, which is not really worth it.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Oh my. You had me at F 02, Debra! I chuckled all through your hilarious post—very nervously, because those culinary fiascos sounded eerily familiar. When I was raising my kids in NYC and working full-time, we either went to dinner, picked up takeout, or I’d run 3 blocks to beg Rocky, our neighborhood’s fabulous Italian butcher, for something to heat up. He always left the light on for me—and Brooklynites, United Meat Market in Windsor Terrace is still thriving! I’m off to buy your new book, Debra—it sounds amazing, and right up my alley. Congrats!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Lisa Q. Mathews….. I have no excuse (kids are grown and I no longer work fulltime per se), but we still go out, pick up or bring in. We all have those neighborhood restaurants that know us well. Thanks for your comments…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the story about your son’s storyboard. Hilarious! I’m a fairly good cook, but I’ve turned into a bored cook. When all 3 kids lived here we were Ozzie and Harriet, sitting down for a home-cooked dinner every night. But now that it’s just the two of us, we’re happy with a caprese salad, or salmon and broccoli, or a container of yogurt. Thank goodness my husband is easy to please! (And he makes a killer lasagne!) Coincidentally, my oven gave me one of those messages … which I ignored and it disappeared. Can’t wait to dive into your series, Debra!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Love this so much, Debra — thanks for hanging out with the Chicks today!
    I’m clumsy in the kitchen. In fact, I’m no longer allowed to peel sweet potatoes — hubs can’t stand the sight of blood!
    As for the package on backorder, the last package I ordered (from Amazon) arrived four days after its “guaranteed” delivery date after taking a circuitous route through six states, including passing through Louisville, Kentucky twice! So you could be waiting a while for that motherboard. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. It won’t surprise anyone who knows me to learn that I’m a pretty good cook–I did go to culinary arts school, after all. But the older I get, the more lazy I get, and I’ve become an expert at one-pan meals: toss chicken parts, potato wedges, and slices veggies with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper, roast at 350 degrees till done. Easy peasy! And very yummy!

    As for your oven, I long for the days when kitchen appliances didn’t have mother boards. Sigh…

    Thanks so much for visiting the Chicks today, Debra! I loved One Taste Too Many, and so looking forward to the next one!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Leslie,
      I’ve always marveled at your Facebook pictures that include food you’ve prepared for family or friends… and I’ve salivated while reading your novels..loving how you combined your love of music and food (and skills).

      Thank you for your kind words about One Taste Too Many — so excited Two Bites Too Many now is available. First speaking engagement today, but the real launch is this Sunday at B&N at the Summit in Birmingham, Alabama.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m with you. I could do okay in the kitchen, but I’ve spent so little time actually cooking that it terrifies me. Not good for a bachelor. I’d be dead without TV dinners and take out.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Not good for a married person or a mother, either. Remind me sometime to tell you about when a friend and I, when we were single, invited a cute guy to dinner — and then went back to our apartment to defrost the chicken we planned to serve an hour later. BTW, I grew up to be a lawyer and writer; she grew up to be a surgeon – neither of us could carve that frozen bird well. We ended up eating oreos that night.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Debra, thanks so much for visiting and congrats on the new book! Considering I have recipes in TWO series, people might be surprised to know that I am so not a cook. I swear, recipes are the hardest part of a book for me. I have to say, that pineapple dish you posted looks both horrible… and delicious.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Welcome, Debra, and congrats on the new book!! It sounds fabulous!

    I found myself nodding along (and laughing!) while reading your post. (The storyboard made me laugh out loud!)

    I don’t enjoy cooking–and my family doesn’t enjoy my cooking. I can make 6.5 dinners that don’t involve a microwave, cans, or the word “Helper” in the name with relative success, which means that friends who’ve had babies, surgery, or illness experience my complete culinary repertoire in very short order. Thank goodness my husband likes to cook!

    Congrats again and so glad you’re here!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Great post, Debra! (“They pay the check” = LOL)

    I’m more of a warmer-upper than a cooker, but I would like to do it much more…IF it could be like on the cooking shows, where the ingredients are already laid out on the table when you get there. 🙂

    Congrats on your book and thank you for visiting us!

    ps #supperclub ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Debra! I love to cook! (not bake, mind you – I refuse to actually follow directions) My husband is so appreciative, he does all the dishes 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What a fun column — and the comments were, too! Although I used to be a very good cook, the whole process has gotten old. Anything that uses fewer than five ingredients sounds gourmet to me now.


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