Tag: recipes

The Cereal Murders Book Review

Favorite Mystery Series

The Cereal Murders is one of Diane Mott Davidson’s best from her Goldy catering series. Davidson began the series in 1990 with Catering to Nobody and released the finale, The Whole Enchilada in 2013. This superb series is worth revisiting which is exactly what we are doing this summer.

The Cereal Murders-Third Installment

The first two books in the series introduce the main characters. So, the third installment begins to flesh out the relationships. This is accomplished along with some key thoughts on the competitive college admission process.

The writing is not preachy and the main character, Goldy, is philosophical as she slowly accepts not all men are Jerk(s). There is great character development in The Cereal Murders as well as a good whodunit.

Misdirection and Unusual Motive

Successful mystery writers are good at providing multiple suspects and lots of misdirection. Diane Mott Davidson goes one better as she throws in an unusual motive- high school class ranking. The Cereal Murders examines the stress and competition of seniors and their parents traversing the college admissions roller coaster. (Remember this was published in the early 1990s long before the 2019 college admission bribery scandal.)

Protagonist Goldy

Goldy is no stranger to murder but finding valedictorian- to- be Keith Andrews face down in the snow shakes her from the beginning of the story. Then son Arch is targeted, and her stress levels climb. Meanwhile Investigator Schulz continues to woo her.

As a survivor of spousal abuse, Goldy is hesitant to commit. But she can’t deny the attraction, both physical and mental. Tom Schulz is the opposite of the Jerk.

The Cereal Murders Recipes

One of the highlights of Diane Mott Davidson’s writing are the wonderful recipes. An acquaintance of mine (and a friend of Davidson’s) suggested this series in the early 90s knowing I was working on specialty high calorie recipes. The early recipes in the Goldy series mirror this before becoming more healthy but just as tasty. An additional change mid-series was moving all the recipes to the back of the book instead of integrating them into the story.

The Irish Soda Bread recipe from The Cereal Murders is one of our favorites. My husband made it just last week. And all the dessert recipes are tempting. Best of all, from my experience these recipes all work. The Cereal Murders recipes are keepers. If you are interested in the recipes more than the wonderful stories themselves, look for Goldy’s Kitchen Cookbook from Harper Collins.

Praise for Series

I own most of the books in this series. The debut, Catering To Nobody, can be hard to find. My copy is paperback. The finale, The Whole Enchilada may be the best. Although the Cereal Murders ranks up there.

If you are a mystery fan and have not read any of this series, I encourage you to search for these books. Quite a few of the later novels can be considered stand alone and do not necessarily need to be read in order. Copies can be found in bookstores, on Amazon and on the Libby App.

I have much respect for this writer. Davidson could have continued churning out books either alone or with a secondary author, but she chose to end the series while on top. Goldy and her family are characters to treasure. And the many topics highlighted in the books reverberate across society. Indeed, many societies.



Bread Illustrated-Review

BREAD ILLUSTRATED- A Step by Step guide to Achieving Bakery-Quality Results at Home

I make almost all our bread. By almost, I can count on my fingers the times I have bought bread from the store this year. The health benefits were a major consideration when I took up bread making, but I love the taste of fresh made bread and I have discovered an immense satisfaction baking from scratch. I do not use a bread machine but I do use a stand mixer for the majority of the kneading.

I spotted Bread Illustrated edited by America’s Test Kitchen while browsing through a Barnes and Noble bookstore. A quick glance was all it took to make it to the check-out line. Each recipe is accompanied by multiple photos illustrating the process. The book also includes a troubleshooting section at the end of the recipe.

The troubleshooting sections address common problems with the final product. For example, if pizza dough is to soggy the tip is to use less sauce. One of the troubleshooting explanations discussed the jagged edges of whole wheat. The solution was to let either the wheat berries soak in water before processing or add additional liquid to already ground wheat.

The book gives weight amounts in the dry to wet ratios and following these ratios keep the loaves from being too dense. The section on hydration is part of a series of pages that explain how-to before the recipes even start. Other sections include pages on mixing and rising.

The recipes range from sweet rolls to rustic breads and includes a section of breads that take a bit more time to make than I have this summer. Maybe next winter! So far my favorite recipes have been the easy sandwich bread, pan-grilled flat bread (delicious with hummus) and the hoagie rolls which I shaped into hamburger buns.