A Conversation with… Diane Mott Davidson

Diane Mott Davidson is popularly known as the Queen of the Culinary Mystery, so even though she hasn’t yet published a cookbook of her own recipes, we’re delighted to welcome her on The Secret Ingredient to share a little bit about herself and her thoughts on food and cooking. Diane is the author of more than a dozen mystery novels featuring Goldy Schulz, a caterer who must use her sleuthing skills to solve the murders that always seem to happen during or near her catered affairs. Diane personally develops all the recipes that tie in with and are published in the back of each of her novels. Click here to enjoy the title recipe in her forthcoming novel, Crunch Time!

Mission: Entertaining is my mission, and I embrace it. I love to give people stories, scones, cookies, characters, and conflicts.

Experience that changed your life: I met my future husband on a blind date when I was seventeen and he was nineteen. He was and is a wonderful, kind man, not at all like The Jerk in the Goldy stories. (People do ask.) Plus, when I was learning to cook, he was willing to try any dish I prepared (and he always cleaned up afterwards–and still does).

Mantra: “Let the food fit the mood.” I learned this from a caterer. Wakes, bridal showers, business lunches, wedding receptions–all these have different moods–and the dishes served should fit accordingly. For example: at a bridal shower, the guests are concentrating on the bride-to-be and the gifts. The food should be bite-sized and easy to eat with a fork. At a wake, people need to be brought back into the land of the living, so they should be given food that requires action: slicing (cheese, meat), splitting (say, shortcakes), spooning (sugared strawberries, whipped cream), and so on.

Works: I work at home, in my study or in the kitchen. For cooking and event research, I will go with a real caterer to do a party. I also work with the fabulous Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department for police procedure. A retired investigator (Sergeant Richard Millsapps) and a retired coroner (Triena Harper) answer all manner of questions for me. I network for specific resources for a particular book, such as an ophthalmologist, a caterer at a fashion photography studio, or even a Maserati owner.

Lives: Evergreen, Colorado, and Sarasota, Florida.

Plays: Eating out, going to the movies, and walking on spectacular Siesta Key Beach in Sarasota.

1. First taste memory. Cheerios with milk. I loved nursery school (what is now called pre-school), and my mother had a hard time getting me to leave that wonderful place of learning (and toys) willingly. This was in Newport, Rhode Island, where my father was stationed when he was in the Navy. So in exasperation, my mother would say—and I remember this clearly—“If you don’t come home with me right now, I’m going to eat all your Cheerios.” That got me out the door.

2. Favorite food or meal? Lamb chops with demi-glace, mint jelly, haricots verts, and twice-baked potatoes.

3. Signature dish? The same as above, but our kids won’t eat demi-glace, so I have to make a gravy from the lamb drippings. Surprisingly, they do love mint jelly with the lamb. They’ll look around the table and say, “Where’s the green stuff?”

4. Cooking and food philosophy? Everything in moderation.

5. Best culinary vacation you’ve ever taken? To Rome with my husband in the fall of 1971.

6. What music do you listen to when you cook? Classical, jazz, or classic rock.

7. Favorite movie about eating or food? Babette’s Feast and Julie & Julia.

8. Culinary heroes? Julia Child, Jacques Pépin.

9. Something about yourself that would surprise people? I can’t drink as much espresso as Goldy does (anymore).

10. What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? If I weren’t a writer, I would be a teacher. I was a teacher in the years B.C. (Before Children), and I do volunteer tutoring now.

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3 Responses to “A Conversation with… Diane Mott Davidson”
  1. Claire Fish says:

    Would like to get Norm’s Eggsalad Recipe?

    • Jana says:

      This sounds like it would be a fun book to read. Just got back into rdnaieg and would love to start with something like this. Thanks for the chance.cleaningrhouse at yahoo dot com

  2. C S Hammett says:

    What is an “N” cup and an “H” tablespoon? This is mentioned as a measurement in recipes in Davidson’s books. Thank you. The book that I found it in recently is The Last Suppers.

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