I came from an Italian heritage of sitting around the table—talking, laughing and arguing—and making each meal at my grandmother's house an event. Dessert was always a meal extender whether it was cannoli for Christmas, fried dough balls dipped in honey for Easter or Sunday dinner chocolate cake. Dessert gave us extra time to sit at the table and enjoy each other's company. My mother followed the tradition. She was a third grade teacher. Often she would bake layer cake or sponge cake in the morning before we caught the school bus! We'd either use it that night or freeze it for dinner with company on the weekend. Just as she served a salad and crunchy bread every night for dinner, she would serve dessert.
I've followed my mother's and grandmother's traditions because I like to cook. When my son was small, we baked and sold fruit breads at craft fairs. I entered cooking contests. He helped me make at least a dozen different kinds of cookies for Christmas to give away. Each meal was topped with something home-made. Now, of course, life and diets have changed. Fruit is often our dessert of choice. But once in a while, besides for company, I bake desserts for us because we need something special to remind us of traditions I'll never forget.
For me as a novelist, an epilogue is like dessert. Epilogues extend the story. They tell you where the characters have gone and what they've accomplished after the murder mystery and the romantic angst is over! The epilogue is the icing on the cake or the creme fraiche on the blueberry bread. When I spend an entire book with my characters, I don't want to leave them. I want to know what their everyday lives are about after extraordinary circumstances have ended. So my books usually have epilogues. I hope you enjoy these extensions into my sleuth and hero and heroines lives...and enjoy them as much as a dessert!
Speaking of desserts...
My sleuth Caprice De Luca also likes to cook (along with home staging, taking in strays and finding them homes, and wearing retro fashion.) In DEADLY DECOR, her neighbor encourages her to pick fresh blueberries and this bread is what I and Caprice created. I hope you enjoy it!
CAPRICE'S BLUEBERRY VANILLA PECAN BREAD
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons sour cream
4 teaspoons imitation vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk (1 1/2%)
2 large eggs
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, de-stemmed, washed and well-drained. (I put a paper towel in a bowl and let them roll around on that before adding to batter.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Grease and flour two 8 1/2 x 4 x 2 1/2 inch loaf pans.
Beat all ingredients except nuts and fruit in mixer bowl (scraping bowl often) on mix or blend until batter is smooth...1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in nuts by hand and then fold in blueberries.
Pour even amounts into 2 pans. Bake 60 minutes at 350 degrees until toothpick comes out clean.