Monday 8 June 2015

Blog Tour: Too Many Cooks by Dana Bate

TitleToo Many Cooks
Author: Dana Bate
Published: 4th June 2015
Publisher: Corsair
Today I am thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Too Many Cooks by Dana Bate. I have a brilliant guest post on creating a fictional menu to share with you. All the other stops on the tour are listed below, so please do check back on their blogs for some other great content.


 Creating a Fictional Menu

I get all sorts of questions from readers, but one of the most frequent is, “How did you come up with all of the dishes mentioned in the book?”

One of my favorite parts of the writing process (or, I should say, my writing process) is coming up with all of the recipes and meals the characters will eat and make. But since these are characters with backgrounds and personalities that are often very different then mine, I have to think about what they would cook, not what I would cook. 

So to create a fictional menu, I start with three ingredients: the character, the situation, and the momentum of the plot.

When it comes to the character, I ask myself, “What foods would this person have grown up with? What did his or her grandmother make? What food has he or she always hated?”

In my third book, Too Many Cooks, the main character, Kelly, grew up in the Midwestern United States. The comfort foods she grew up with would be very different than the ones I grew up with in Philadelphia (or my husband grew up with in London). She’d have eaten lots of pasta and potato salads, most of which would have used mayonnaise or Miracle Whip (a product similar to salad cream).  

But as an adult, Kelly works as a cookbook ghostwriter, so she probably wouldn’t make any of those childhood foods for a famous chef or actress. That’s where “situation” comes in. She might whip up some spaghetti salad for herself or her family, but she’d be more likely to cook filet mignon or potato gratin for a work project.

And then of course there is the plot. If Kelly needs to test a recipe that her boss won’t like – or that evokes certain memories from her boss – I needed to figure out what that dish would be, and how her boss would respond. What wouldn’t she like about it? The texture? The smell? Does the dish remind her of someone from her past? Why?

Together, all of those ingredients combine to make a delicious menu that I can weave throughout the story. And if I’ve done a good job, I’ve probably made myself – and the reader – very hungry in the process.


  1. I was on the blog tour yesterday too! Really interesting to read about hoe Dana came up with the food ideas. The foodie bits were so enjoyable to read in the story.

    1. ah should have looked out for your post! I still need to get round to reading this one! But really intrigued :)