Pairing Books and Food

I love curling up with a good book and knowing I have an uninterrupted stretch of time ahead of me to enjoy it. That doesn’t happen nearly as often as I’d like (because I have my own books to write, too!), but when it does, I always like to find the perfect spot. In the summer, that might be the hammock on my deck. In the winter, an oversized chair near the fireplace. No matter where I’m reading, a good book deserves a good snack or drink to go with it! Here are my suggestions for ten great books (or series of books) to read and what to pair them with:

  1. Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series: The heroine of this series eats nothing but junk food, so while binging the series, I suggest following Stephanie’s lead and straying from the healthy stuff. My junk food of choice is kettle cooked potato chips with blood orange Italian soda.
  2. Robert Ludlum’s Bourne series: I love reading the books before seeing the movies, and even though the Bourne trilogy (the first three) don’t follow the original Bourne books, it’s still fun to do it in order. I suggest reading the books, then watching the movies and going international like Jason Bourne with chocolate from around the world. My latest chocolate binges from around the world include an old French favorite (La Maison du Chocolat), a Belgian classic (Neuhaus), and a New England chocolate influenced by the chocolatier’s Scandinavian roots (Knipschildt).
  3. Rachel Howzell Hall’s And Now She’s Gone: Something about a good P.I. book makes you want to sit at a scarred table under the harsh light of a single table lamp with a drink at your side. Or is that just me? I’m not much for hard liquor, so I suggest a nice glass of wine (perhaps a cabernet).
  4. Jennifer Hillier’s Little Secrets: This book that opens with the heroine’s child being grabbed and then quickly descends into a domestic thriller with a lot of twists will keep you up late reading. So you’ll need something to help you read it in one sitting. I suggest a cappuccino, dusted with cinnamon.
  5. Megan Miranda’s The Girl from Widow Hills: Atmospheric and creepy, this book revolves around the heroine having been swept away during a vicious rain storm as a child. I’d pair it with a strong cup of tea (I’m partial to a good rooibos chai) and perhaps reading by the window on a rainy day.
  6. Laura Griffin’s Hidden: Many of Griffin’s books take place in Texas and this one is no exception. The author lives in Texas and you can definitely tell she knows it well, because you feel like you’re there. Whenever I’m in Texas, it’s tamales I’m after (the vegetarian version for me), so I’d pair this book with a good tamale (you can go classic, with meat or cheese, or have fun with it and get an apple-filled tamale).
  7. Walter Mosley’s Trouble Is What I Do: This time around, Mosley’s Leonid McGill is helping a bluesman. Having lived near a city with musical roots (Detroit) all my life, whenever characters are involved in blues or jazz, it conjures up memories of sitting in a club that’s been around for fifty or more years and watching musicians who’ve been playing just as long. I suggest pairing this book with a southern classic like sweet tea.
  8. Hank Phillippi Ryan’s The First to Lie: They say revenge is best served cold, but I suggest reading this twisty tale of deceit and betrayal curled up by the fire with a cup of hot cocoa. (My favorite is a French hot cocoa called Les Confitures a L’ancienne with milk, not water.)
  9. Tori Eldridge’s The Ninja’s Blade: Lily Wong’s second adventure may be even more intense than her first. Lily is a fighter and so she has to keep her strength up with lots of food (which is made easier since she lives above her father’s Hong Kong cuisine restaurant). I’d pair this one with a super healthy snack, like Greek yogurt topped with berries and walnuts, to make you feel powered up to fight like Lily.
  10. A. Barres’s They’re Gone: In E.A. Aymar’s debut under his Barres pseudonym, two women pair up after their husbands are inexplicably killed on the same day and in the same way. Sometimes, a good mystery just needs to be devoured with a plate full of cookies, which is what I’d suggest for this one. My cookie suggestion? Double Chocolate Treasures (recipe below).

Recipe for Double Chocolate Treasures:

  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups of oats, uncooked
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In heavy saucepan over low heat, melt one cup chocolate chips. Stir until smooth, cool slightly. Beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then blend in eggs, vanilla and melted chocolate. Add the dry ingredients (except powdered sugar) and stir in the remaining chocolate chips. Shape dough in 1” balls, roll in powdered sugar (I flatten & sprinkle the powdered sugar on top; you can also put the powdered sugar on after cooking if you prefer). Place on ungreased cookie sheet; bake 10 to 12 minutes. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet, remove to wire rack. Makes about 4 dozen.


About the Author

Publishers Weekly bestselling author ELIZABETH HEITER likes her suspense to feature strong heroines, chilling villains, psychological twists, and a little bit (or a lot!) of romance. Her research has taken her into the minds of serial killers, through murder investigations, and onto the FBI Academy’s shooting range. Her novels have been published in fourteen countries and translated into eight languages; they’ve also been shortlisted for the HOLT Medallion, the Daphne Du Maurier award, the National Readers’ Choice award and the Booksellers’ Best award and won the RT Reviewers’ Choice award. Her latest release Alaska Mountain Rescue was on the Publishers Weekly Bestseller List.