NOVEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Elaine Marie Cooper
We are so blessed to have Elaine Marie Cooper here for our November/Thanksgiving spotlight Elaine’s THE LEGACY OF DEER RUN finaled in the Grace Awards 2012. When thinking of novels with themes of thanksgiving, selflessness, gratitude, and sacrifice, Elaine’s entire Deer Run series, set during the American Revolutionary War era, comes to mind.
Thanksgiving Turkey Terror By Elaine Marie Cooper
As an author of novels set in Colonial Massachusetts—where Thanksgiving was THE holiday of the year—I have a personal, culinary dilemma. In my holiday scenes, I’m supposed to describe feasts for a large family in such a way that my writing seems as natural as Paula Dean in a Southern kitchen.
The truth is, when it comes to planning and executing a banquet in real life, I feel like a fish out of water. When I am the only one available to cook the turkey, stuffing and sweet potatoes, my anxiety level can exceed the red zone of hypertension.
That’s why it was so easy for me to describe the character of Susannah Dobbins in THE LEGACY OF DEER RUN as she fretted about Thanksgiving dinner. Fortunately for Susannah, she had guidance from the housemaid named Modesty, whose cooking skills far exceeded her social ones. Modesty tutors the helpless Susannah in the art of cooking, helping the inept, somewhat-spoiled Susannah become competent at cooking chicken over an open hearth and baking pies in a wood-heated oven that required keeping the temperature just right.
Susannah scanned the room nervously. “What am I forgetting?
“I think you’re forgettin’ to breathe, miss.” Modesty threw her head back and gave a hearty laugh as she returned to beat the egg whites for the green corn pudding.
“I am frightfully nervous. My last cooking endeavor was a disaster.” Susannah rolled her eyes at the memory.
The outcome, however, turned out to be a sumptuous feast as Susannah’s suitor, father and brother relished the meal.
Stephen took a swallow and set his glass down. “This looks most delectable, Susannah…and Modesty. I must say, dear sister, your cooking skills have improved immensely.”
Success for the fretful Susannah!
So where is a “Modesty” when I need one? Well, one Thanksgiving meal was a tremendous success—because it was cooked to perfection and displayed in beautiful array by my daughter-in-law, Kristen. She and my son, Ben, were living in Virginia at the time, and Kristen put on a display of sumptuous turkey with all the fixings that would leave you begging for seconds.
I’m not too proud to admit it: My daughter-in-law is a far better cook than I am. My son is a blessed man.
So rather than wallow in self-pity about my lack of cooking skills, I think I’ll admire the delicious offerings of those more skilled than I in the kitchen, help clean up the dishes—and plan another novel at my laptop.
Let’s see…another sequel?
Purchase Links: THE LEGACY OF DEER RUN
Barnes & Noble/Nook. http://bit.ly/1cJrOgz
Author Elaine Marie Cooper
***Photo of the hearth courtesy of Thomas Deitner