What (the fuck) to make for dinner

The food: Cauliflower, Potatoes and Peas, Indian-style

The story:

My former student from the Humber School for Writers summer workshop in creative writing, Robin Spano, has just had her first novel, Dead Politician Society, published by ECW Press.

Dead Politician Society is an entertaining mystery starring a sexy, lippy, profane young undercover cop named Clare Vengel. It features short chapters, multiple points of view, and kickass passages like this one, an excerpt from a conversation between a police detective and a hostile witness:

“Where’s your class?” Kumar asked, pen poised.
“It’s at the school of None of Your Fucking Business,” Susannah said. “And after that, I’ll be joining friends at the You Can Fuck Yourself Cafe. Stop in if you’re not busy.”

Call me irreverent, but that made me laugh when I read it. I’m a fan of well-placed profanity in fiction, especially when spoken by well-educated women like the Susannah character, and I’ve often employed it in my own writing. That’s probably why Robin thought I’d be amused by a popular website she told me about, What the fuck should I make for dinner?.

The first time I visited the site, I appreciated the resonant universality of the site’s name – Who among us has not despairingly asked that question as dinner time approaches? But I didn’t understand how the site worked until Robin told me you’re supposed to click on the suggested menu items (and the statements that begin with the words “I Don’t Fucking Like”). If you do, you get a perfectly respectable recipe from epicurious.com, the site that features archived recipes from Gourmet and Bon Appetit magazines, among other sources. Which contrast between the sacred and the profane makes for comedy in itself.

A dish I’ve been known to make when I don’t know what else to cook – and when I have cauliflower in the house – is Cauliflower, Potatoes and Peas Indian-style, shown above, garnished with a chopped hard-boiled egg. The recipe for it can be found here. With some basmati rice, a spoonful of chutney, and perhaps some sliced fresh field tomatoes in the last few weeks that they’re still in season, this dish makes a lovely meal. And unlike the food served in Dead Politician Society, it’s not poisonous!

For more on Robin’s novel, follow her virtual book tour and check out this nifty book trailer for it:

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