Guest Chick: Galit Gottlieb

Becky here, excited to welcome Galit Gottlieb to Chicks on the Case! As someone who created goofy recipes for my Crossword Mystery series, I can totally relate to this!

Want to Test Recipes for My Next Murder Mystery?

In culinary mysteries, which I love reading, someone is murdered, the sleuth tries to figure out who did it, and everyone eats breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Over the years, I’d devoured the novels of authors like Donna Leon, Andrea Camilleri, and Martin Walker, whose sleuths enjoy three course lunches as they trek through Venice, Sicily, or the south of France, solving crimes. I wanted to write a book like one of theirs, and I figured Chicago was just as good a place to set a murder or two.

Much as I adored those novels, they didn’t include recipes. It took me three years to write and polish my first novel. Then it took months to clearly write out thirty of my best recipes. My niece Emily, a pastry chef, showed me how to use the proper terms. I’d taken classes at the French Pastry School, but she’d completed the professional course, worked in the industry, and must have paid way more attention when they discussed recipes.

During months of struggling to find an agent, my editor said, “Why don’t you submit to one of the contests advertised online?” She sent me a few links, and I sent out my query and first chapter to several of them.

Two weeks later, I received a request to see the full manuscript, which I sent immediately. It was from a publisher who warned me that he’d received hundreds of queries and wouldn’t get back to me for six weeks, but two weeks later, he offered me a contract. If I could get everything submitted to him by March 31st, he said, my book would launch in August of 2019.

What luck! Something, (he didn’t say what) had gone wrong with the author he’d scheduled for August, and he had an opening to fill.  

That’s when I realized that my recipes had never been tested. That meant the book wasn’t finished. I’d made those breads, cakes, cookies, dips, and dishes for years. Would my instructions be clear enough? Would everyone’s version of my recipes come out of the oven crispy on the outside, soft and fully baked on the inside?

I reached out to everyone I knew asking if anyone wanted to test my recipes. Friends from around the country responded and got busy baking or cooking. I began to get responses almost immediately:

Dear Galit,

Although your filling is super-yummy, I had a hard time rolling out the empanada dough and resorted (shamefully) to Mrs. Pillsbury’s crescent rolls. Further research suggests that this may NOT have been JUST my lack of skill. You meant the first FIVE ingredients go into dough (not four), and then likely liquid should be upped to ½ cup EVOO and ½ cup warm water (not ¼ cup each).  Hope this is right and loved participating in testing!  

Dear Galit,

I glazed the cake in the pan as directed but was immediately concerned as it seems like a lot of volume and then I couldn’t get it out of the pan. Also, the glaze was runny. It was ugly, but still tasty.

I screwed up something in just about every recipe. I’d forgotten to suggest baking a cake in a silicone bread pan and running a knife around the edge before pouring the glaze. I’d neglected to add a note about letting the glaze boil down for five minutes. I didn’t explain about stirring the flax with water and letting it sit before adding it to the batter or chilling a cookie dough before trying to put dollops on a baking pan.

So many blunders! I thanked everyone profusely, and later, when every recipe was fixed and the book was published, I thanked them in the acknowledgments. But one friend just reminded me how flummoxed she was when there wasn’t any chocolate in one of my chocolate cakes. Oops.

If you’re interested in testing my next batch of gluten-free, vegan recipes, please follow me on my blog. That’s where I share my latest articles, podcast interviews for the New Books Network, and events calendar. Feel like experimenting?  I’ll keep you posted.

Do you have any recipe disasters you want to share? Have you ever created a recipe of your own?

GP Gottlieb is the author of the Whipped and Sipped Mystery Series, which centers on a single mother of three who owns a fabulous vegan café in Chicago. Charred: A Whipped and Sipped Mystery will be published Feb 21, 2023, by DX Varos Publishing. Gottlieb has performed, taught, composed, and administrated while writing stories, songs, and several unwieldy manuscripts. She also fed her family and developed lots of healthy recipes. After recovering from breast cancer in 2015, she turned to writing in earnest, melding her two passions: nourishment for mind and body and recipe-laced murder mysteries.

25 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Galit Gottlieb

  1. Galit, I can so relate to this!! I left an ingredient out of a recipe in my second Cajun Country Mystery. I left a measurement off 500 recipe cards I printed and had to hand-write it in. And 30 recipes! Wow. I’m impressed.

    BTW, I just emailed you through your website. I owe you an apology. It’s all in the email!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Galit, thanks so much for visiting us Chicks today. Loved hearing about your early recipe-direction fails (er, learning experiences). But now you’re a pro! My lead characters don’t cook very well, because I’m that dinner guest who’s regularly asked when “helping” the hostess in the kitchen to please step away from the knives and the salad spinner (“Why don’t you put out the bread and set the table, honey?”) The most basic recipe takes me double the time as I frantically check and recheck the directions. I’m sure TV viewers of that Worst Cook in America show think the disasters are staged. (Oh no, Debbie forgot to preheat the oven and now her time is up! Been there, Deb.)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was so much fun to read, Galit! And like I said, I can totally relate. In my Crossword Mysteries, the mom is a weirdo in the kitchen, making all sorts of hilarious-yet-edible recipes. I had a lot of fun creating recipes for Pretzel Pancakes, Redneck Ravioli, Pad Thai with Dumplings, Black Bean Brownies, Funfetti Casserole, and Pineapple Pot Pie. I made—and ate—them all. If you can get past the weirdness of some of them, they’re quite delicious! But the joke was on me. Just to be funny, I sent the first one to my editor. She thought it was so hilarious she wanted them in all the books. I don’t think I have to worry about anyone making them, though!

    Congrats on the new book!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thanks for being on the Chicks today, Galit! I’m amazed at how many recipes you thought up–and they’re healthy, too! I always struggle with creating the recipes because I grew up not measuring anything.

    Also, with my recipe for Spicy Cucumber Salad (in Death By Bubble Tea), I know readers who didn’t like the very mild spice level. Too bad I already printed out loads of recipe cards. Just double the chilis, folks!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I guess this goes to prove that everything needs to be gone over by others, not just the novel. It’s easy enough to do, however. You know what you mean to say, but it doesn’t always come across. I just had an exchange like that with my boss yesterday. I thought I was clear in what I was saying, but she didn’t understand me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s because your brain fills in the missing points and you know exactly what you mean. Don’t worry, one day there will be a device that translates all of our brain signals to others and we won’t have to worry about not being understood!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I enjoyed this fun post, Galit. Since moving to our new home, my husband has watched a lot of America’s Test Kitchen. It’s been fun to see all the recipes they test as well as ingredients and cookware. I enjoyed reading about your publishing journey–thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, boy, do I relate! I’m a definite pantser when it comes to cooking, so figuring our actual ingredient amounts, rather than simply throwing a little of this and that into the pan, is always a challenge for me. Luckily I have a friend who’s a culinary arts teacher who always edits my recipes for me before they go to print.

    Thanks so much for visiting the Chicks today, Gait, and congrats on the new book!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Fun post, Galit! I mostly included party tips for Liv & Di. When I did include a recipe, I had a friend who is a good cook, test it for me. I’m one of those cooks whose desserts taste good, but don’t always look so pretty!
    Thanks for hanging out with the Chicks!


  9. Welcome, Galit, and congratulations on the book!!

    I love this post. My books don’t include recipes, but I’ve had plenty of didn’t-turn-out-as-planned culinary experiences. My favorite: banana bread sans flour. I wondered why it looked like pudding, then spied my bowl of flour languishing on the counter. *le sigh*


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