One of the most exciting things about writing a book is, if you're like me, getting the email with your new cover from your cover artist.
Learning to Love is a different book for me; it is my first book written in first person and though I thought it would be difficult, I knew right from the start it couldn't be any other way. Gideon Marks spoke to me like no other character of mine has and I knew his story would be different than any other I have written.
Both of my characters are Jewish and though I've written Jewish characters before, this might be my most "Jewish book." It originally was written as a Chanukah story but evolved into so much more, once I revised and expanded it. If you know my books, many of my characters are Jewish; it is an integral part of who I am and I enjoy introducing people to the religion and culture.
One thing that is very important in Jewish holidays is the food. In Learning to Love, Gideon is a chef and he makes many of the meals I grew up with. I decided to give some of my recipes for some of my favorite meals in the book itself. Today, along with the cover I will give you my mother's recipe for the chicken soup that we had with our dinners on Friday night.
1 chicken, cut into eighths. I use a pullet.
7 cups of water
1 large onion, chopped roughly
1 parsnip cut in half length-wise
1 turnip cut in half
4 carrots, chopped into 1/2" pieces
2 stalks of celery chopped
1 TBS salt
1/2 tsp pepper
handful of dill
Bring cold water to a boil in a large, deep stockpot. Add the chicken pieces then lower the heat to a simmer. Skim the fat as it bubbles up. Keep at low simmer for 1/2 hour, then add the vegetables. Cover the pot half way and keep at a simmer for another hour or until the carrots are soft. Remove the parsnip and turnip. Take out the chicken, remove the skin and shred the meat, then add it back to the soup and add the dill. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Wait until the dill wilts, then serve.
Oh and here is my gorgeous cover for Learning to Love. I think it's my favorite yet.