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Avery Aames | The Joy Of "Cheese" Cooking


When I started writing mysteries, I spent a lot of time researching the gritty underbelly of society, but when I was given the opportunity to write A Cheese Shop Mystery series, all of a sudden I had to spend more time in the kitchen. Why? Because I wanted the stories to make you hungry for more than just the mystery; I wanted the stories to titillate all of your senses. I wanted the moment you entered Fromagerie Bessette (what the locals in quaint Providence, Ohio call The Cheese Shop) to be a moment that you experienced on many levels. That kind of detail requires research. My mysteries include a literal feast of foods: cheeses, as well as meals devoured at homes, the Country Kitchen diner, and the local pub. I would find it difficult to write about these moments if I didn't experience them for myself. Sometimes I make myself hungry when I insert food and cheese descriptions into a chapter, but it's the sacrifice I make for my art. [Can you hear me laughing? Such a sacrifice! Lucky me.]

FROM THE LONG QUICHE GOODBYE: However, when I treated her to a taste of Tuscan Tartuffo, the ultimate in Italian cheeses, made with raw Pecorino and black and white truffles, fabulous alone or drizzled with a nutty honey, she caved.

Part of my research involves cooking a new dish every week. Fortunately, I've been a "foodie" most of my life. I was taught at an early age to cook. My mother didn't learn to cook until she was married, so she was determined that I learn how to cook. What were my favorite things to whip up? Pies and grilled cheese sandwiches. At the age of eight, I went door-to-door to neighbors to sell my chocolate cream pies with graham cracker crust. I sold out every time. I made the grilled cheese for myself. How I loved the gooey, oozy cheese. With a cup of tomato soup? Heaven.

FROM LOST AND FONDUE: Delilah had invented a number of new recipes, including a potato-bacon grilled cheese, lobster grilled cheese, and portobello-vegetarian grilled cheese. She'd even used one of my cheesecake recipes to make a grilled cheese for dessert.

To enhance my cooking skills, I participate in the Mystery Lovers Kitchen blog. On it, we have a number of authors who love to cook up crime. Each week, on Wednesdays, I provide a blog post with recipe and photos. This involves a lot of research and taste-testing. In the last two years, I've tasted over 200 new cheeses with exotic names like Zamorano, Collier's Welsh Cheddar, Brillat Savarin, Fromage d'Affinois, and Camembert. In addition, I flip open my research books (I have dozens of cookbooks as well as reference books about cheese) or I browse the cheese and recipe sites online, and then I open my refrigerator and slap something together. My husband is thrilled!

Valentine cheese and chocolates

FROM CLOBBERED BY CAMEMBERT: As we entered the hut, the scent of basil tickled my nose. But all my senses heightened when Jordan set the knapsack on a potting table, drew me into his arms, and kissed me like a romantic hero should—deeply and intimately. Heaven. Minutes passed before we came up for air. When we did, he eyed his satchel. "I whipped up some fortification." From the knapsack, he withdrew two brown restaurant go-to-style boxes. He popped the lid off one and beckoned the aromas to waft into the air. I drew in the luscious aroma of brown sugar pancakes topped with melted Gouda and figs, and my stomach did a happy dance. [Note: I posted this recipe on my blog last week. Check our Recipe File in the left column.]

What a joy it is to come to work each day, knowing that I get to visit some of my favorite characters and bring their world—their entire world—to life. The people they meet, the places they visit, the crimes they solve, and the foods they eat. And what a joy to continue to learn about a world that was foreign to me before I started the series. I had no idea that there were cheeses in all parts of the world. Have you ever tasted Roaring Forties Blue from Australia? How about Manchego from Spain? Triple Cream Brie et Rouge Noir from France? Or how about a few from America like Rogue Creamery Smoky Blue Cheese from Oregon, Vella Dry Jack from California, or Cabot Clothbound Cheddar from Vermont? Yum, double-yum. I love what I do. I treasure writing mysteries. And I adore research that takes me into a world that I would never have entered if I hadn't started writing about it. I hear from readers that the luscious world of cheese has become a whole new experience for them, too. I'm so pleased.

"Avery Aames's delightful debut novel, The Long Quiche Goodbye, is a lovely Tour de Fromage. It's not just gouda, it's great!" ~ Lorna Barrett, New York Times bestselling author of the Booktown Mysteries.

The Long Quiche Goodbye
Cheese Shop Mystery
July 2010

Lost And Fondue
Cheese Shop Mystery
May 2011

Clobbered By Camembert
Cheese Shop Mystery
January 2012

Book giveaway: Leave a comment today and two winners will win sets of my first and second books: THE LONG QUICHE GOODBYE and LOST AND FONDUE.




50 comments posted.

Re: Avery Aames | The Joy Of "Cheese" Cooking

i love trying different cheeses. It is always fun trying new things..Thanks for sharing.
(Dawn Staniszeski 10:07am February 25, 2012)

I don't cook much, but find reading books that mix mystery with humor are fun.
(Molly Wilsbacher 10:25am February 25, 2012)

Your book titles are fantastic!!!!
(Marjorie Carmony 10:44am February 25, 2012)

Mmmm....cheese. I feel like Homer Simpson when cheese is mentioned. I can't imagine a better setting for stories (and better excuse to indulge).
(Holly Sanders 10:45am February 25, 2012)

(Silvana Moscato 10:48am February 25, 2012)

Yummm...I just love the titles of your mystery series. I can't wait to get my teeth into your new book [sorry..that was bad :)].
(Robin McKay 11:12am February 25, 2012)

(Linda Bass 11:19am February 25, 2012)

I see how readers can get very hungry reading your delicious mysteries! Count me in!
(G S Moch 11:41am February 25, 2012)

Hi, all. I'm on the west coast. Sorry to chime in late. What a great group of

Dawn, I like trying new things, too.
Molly, you don't have to cook to like cheese and mysteries. Isn't that fun?
Marjorie, I'm so glad you like the titles. I have so much fun coming up with
Holly, Homer Simpson and cheese (LOL!).
Silvana, if you love foodie mysteries, make sure you also check out the blog
Mystery Lovers Kitchen where I blog with other mystery foodies!
Robin, get your teeth into my stories. (Snort!) Too funny.
Linda, your hips need these mysteries? Perhaps I should consider writing a
hula mystery, too. (Okay, getting silly now)
GS: I have had a number of reviewers & fans say that they get hungry reading
them. Have a piece of cheese and perhaps a glass of water, tea, or wine at
hand. :)

Best to all,

(Daryl Wood Gerber 11:52am February 25, 2012)

Hahaha...I'm sitting at my laptop reading through your pages and checking out each book while my son is finishing feeding his 3yr. old son. Then my son looks up at me and ask "what are you doing mom, we have to pick up your new compound bow and we're shooting today so you can set your sights and get a hang of it, I hope you don't plan on reading all day." I turn around and tell him "I'm checking out a couple of books about quiche and fondue" and he said "Oh, what kind are you going to make?" Hahaha! The books sound Delicious! Thanks
(Margie Gagarin 11:52am February 25, 2012)

If you ever make it to the DC area, try Cheesetique. It is a cheese shop with a small restaurant. I literally dream of their grilled cheese sandwiches.
(Pam Howell 11:57am February 25, 2012)

I am so hungry right now after reading your descriptions. I can't wait to get to the bookstore to grab a few of your books.
(Jenne Turner 12:00pm February 25, 2012)

Oh, this looks good.I feel like I'm in France or Italy. Definitely going to pick up your books!
(Kathleen Conner 12:09pm February 25, 2012)

Hi. I have only recently discovered your books. So far I have
read "THE LONG QUICHE GOODBYE" and enjoyed it. Looking forward
to reading more of your books.
(Cindy Husband 12:21pm February 25, 2012)

Oooh, please enter me. I love cheese.
(Erin Parker 12:25pm February 25, 2012)

These books would really be an experience - in more ways than one. For someone who is used to American, Cheddar, and Pepper Jack cheese, I know that there is a new, wide world that awaits me. The titles made me chuckle, but I know that I would adore the stories inside as much as you loved to write them!! Thank you for making the contest available!! The covers to your books are wonderful, too!! Great artistry!!
(Peggy Roberson 12:48pm February 25, 2012)

I love cheese. My dream is to have a hobby farm, so I can even make my own. Yes, you can say I am obsessed with cheese. I love that your new book is set in a cheese shop.
(Debbie Penny 1:03pm February 25, 2012)

I just ate lunch & you still made me hungry with these descriptions. Like others, I love the titles & would love to win the books - even if it means more time on the treadmill.
(r w 1:07pm February 25, 2012)

I absolutely love cheese. I think it goes back to the fact that my gramma always had cheese on the table (along with bread, butter, pickles and cottage cheese) at every lunch and supper. I have more experience than most in my life with different cheeses....but I am still basically a cheese virgin when you think of all the cheeses out there. I am having lap band surgery and one of the foods they encourage at your meals is cheese because it is both a diary and a protein and some fat. I think I may do a cheese a month thing....trying a new one each month...really whenever I feel like it but you have inspired me to at least do it once a month. I love strong cheese. Right now my favorite and maybe my most exotic is hard asiago wedges. And one of things I have craved most while on my preop diet is a good sharp cheddar. What could be better to go with my cheese than your wonderful books?? except maybe delicious bread...but that will come later. Your books are not only great for the mind...they dont have calories.
(Lori Cimino 1:27pm February 25, 2012)

I do love some cheeses, although trying to cut back for health reasons. Haven't read any of your books yet, Avery, but they are in my TBR pile. I hope you continue the series and have great success!
(Sue Peterson 1:59pm February 25, 2012)

Avery, your books sound delicious! I haven't read any of them yet, but they sound wonderful. I had no idea there were so many unusual cheeses from different parts of the world. I enjoy eating cheese and dishes made with cheeses. Your books are making me hungry just looking at those detailed lovely book covers. I love that you sold your neighbors your pies. My sisters and I always came up with ways to earn extra money selling things we made to our neighbors, when we were young, too!
(Linda Luinstra 2:42pm February 25, 2012)

Clever titles. I'd love to read one.
(Nan Zahar 3:05pm February 25, 2012)

Margie, too funny. Tell your son that there are recipes at the back of the book
and there's a great one for quiche!

(Daryl Wood Gerber 3:06pm February 25, 2012)

Pam, I adore grilled cheese sandwiches. So does my protagonist Charlotte's
good friend, Delilah, who runs the Country Kitchen. She's always on the
lookout for a new recipe. {I have to make my gluten-free, but it's the cheese
that matters, right?}

(Daryl Wood Gerber 3:07pm February 25, 2012)

Jenne, Kathleen, and Erin, so great to see you here.

Cindy, I'm thrilled that you enjoyed the first in the series!

Peggy, thanks for the compliment regarding the art. I've been blessed with a
fabulous artist: Teresa Fasolino.

Debbie, a hobby farm sounds enchanting. Good luck with that venture.

(Daryl Wood Gerber 3:11pm February 25, 2012)

Robin, cheese is worth a trip to the treadmill. :)

Lori, good luck with your surgery. I understand a little piece of cheese to help.
It's a very comforting food with lots of nutrients.

Sue, I love anyone who has a TBR pile. The one beside my bed is huge! LOL

Linda, aren't memories of when we were young fun? However, I have to admit
that my sister and I don't remember the same things. Now why is that?

Nan, my books are in libraries, too. If you can't find it there, ask your
librarian to see if she can track one down!

Best to all,

(Daryl Wood Gerber 3:13pm February 25, 2012)

I hate to admit it, but my favorite cheese is called Rat Trap cheese!
(Sherry Moran 3:45pm February 25, 2012)

How have I missed out on your books? I'm even signed up for the MWKB (or at least, I thought I was!), and hadn't seen anything about these!!

Anyway, one of the things my quartet likes to do after an evening of playing is to sit in the kitchen, gossip, and eat cheese and drink wine. (No whining with that cheese, please!)

Luckily, all the groceries in town have great cheese sections, and there's also a really good cheese shop up on the Square (Fromagination), not to mention all the artisinal (and award-winning) cheesemakers who are at the Famer's Market every week.

But then again, since Wisconsin is America's Dairyland, of course we have great cheese!!


(Lynn Rettig 3:46pm February 25, 2012)

Okay, Sherry, you've stumped me. What is Rat Trap cheese?

Lynn, I sent a card to Fromagination! Love the name of that cheese shop. Not
sure how you missed out on my books, but I hope you'll read them all.

(Daryl Wood Gerber 3:48pm February 25, 2012)

Yummy! I had Camembert for the first time this Christmas. I went back to buy some more and they were sold out. I was told that cheese was only "seasonal" and to come back next year. :(
(MaryAnne Banks 4:00pm February 25, 2012)

Love cheese and when shops and food stores have cheese samples, because it's the best way to find out if you like them. Have always enjoyed a good grilled cheese sandwich, too, along with soup. Like mysteries and even better with food! Thoroughly enjoyed your blog and your research for your books, which I will have to check out.
(Rich Cook 4:06pm February 25, 2012)

MaryAnne, there are lots of cheeses that are seasonal. Doesn't that make
them that much better? You anticipate? It's almost like a holiday when you
open one up.

Rich, thanks for the pat on the back. Yes, the research is the most fun!

(Daryl Wood Gerber 5:02pm February 25, 2012)

I Love cheese. The Cheese Shop Mystery looks and sounds Great. Love it when I find new authors.
(Kiki Winn 5:37pm February 25, 2012)

I have seen these books around the web. I just love the names and story descriptions. Sadyly, I can't have dairy products so a lot of cheese is off limits to me. I would love to have a wonderful local cheese store where I could shop. My farmers' market has a cheese stand that now stocks all sorts of non-dairy cheeses. Goat milk extra sharp cheddar is amazing! I am also a foodie and love to try new recipes. I'll have to check out your site! Thanks for the giveaway.
(Jennifer Beyer 5:59pm February 25, 2012)

i dont cook but i do love cheese and to read!!
(Jennifer Beck 7:13pm February 25, 2012)

I enjoy light-hearted mysteries, and think I will enjoy these!
(John Billiris 7:30pm February 25, 2012)

What more could you want than cheese and a mystery.
(Catherine Myers 7:44pm February 25, 2012)

Great list of titles, awesome imagination!
Good luck and happy writing!
(Tracie Travis 7:53pm February 25, 2012)

What a delicious combination: cheese and a mystery!

OT Avery, were you named in honor of a family member named "Alfred"?
(Joanne Hicks 8:23pm February 25, 2012)

This brings back memories of a cheese shop I frequented before it closed. Your books sound wonderful - looking forward to reading them!
(Mary C 8:53pm February 25, 2012)

I have always love cheese. My critical mom who always decided that I should be on a diet. It has gotten so bad that I have been sneaking in cheese to my room.
(Kai Wong 9:19pm February 25, 2012)

Can't wait to sit down with these mysteries and enjoy some string cheese and wine! Thanks for the contest!
(Teresa Ward 9:38pm February 25, 2012)

To date, there are only a few cheeses that I truly adore. However, I can eat those cheeses with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and later for dessert. Now, I will have to try them while reading a mystery. Also, I love these series mysteries. I am in the middle of the Domestic Diva mysteries. Yours would fit in real well with this, since they are event/party planners. Of course, I hope I win. But I expect that if I dont, I will be looking for them at my local bookstore.
(Kelly Knapp 9:39pm February 25, 2012)

The series looks fabulous & I do love my cheese.
(Mary Preston 9:43pm February 25, 2012)

These books sound delicious!
(Tina Rucci 11:44pm February 25, 2012)

Kiki, I love it when I find new readers!

Jennifer Beyer, I'm so sorry you can't have dairy. I totally understand. I can't
have wheat. I hope you can enjoy the stories despite the dietary restriction!

Jennifer Beck, it's not necessary to cook to read. Isn't that great? :)

John, Catherine, and Tracie, thanks for chiming in!

(Daryl Wood Gerber 12:13pm February 26, 2012)

Joanne, actually Avery is my "chosen" name. It's a pseudonym. My real name is
Daryl Wood Gerber. It's a long story, but I love the name Avery Aames. First in
the literary alphabet, so far as I can tell. I guess Angela and Agatha would
come before me. :)

Mary, I'm thrilled that this brings back good memories.

Kai, I'm so sorry that your mom restricted your foods. It's difficult to deal with
others' opinions of what we should be, isn't' it?

Teresa, I adore string cheese. So simple yet so fun!

Kelly, I ADORE the Domestic Diva mysteries. Did you know that one of them is
up for the Agatha award for best novel? The Diva Haunts the House. It's

LL and Mary and Tina, so good to see you here. Thanks for posting a
comment! :}

Best to all,

(Daryl Wood Gerber 12:18pm February 26, 2012)

Looks delightful and because it's words in a story, maybe not so fattening yet mouth-watering. I love books where food is interwoven as an integral part of the story. Kudos.
(Alyson Widen 4:27pm February 26, 2012)

lucky us in New England, so close to Cabot cheese! great recipes on their website, along with videos of Grace Potter cooking up her favs on her band tour bus with the Nocturnals. Worth checking out!
(Beth Fuller 8:26pm February 26, 2012)

Alyson, the books aren't fattening at all! :) (Unless, of course, you like to
chew paper.)

Beth, you are lucky. I adore Cabot Clothbound Cheddar!

(Daryl Wood Gerber 11:12am February 27, 2012)

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