Saturday, 13 April 2013

Blue-Ribbon Jalapeno Society Jubilee by Carolyn Brown

Welcome to the ruthless and competitive world of food competitions.  To most people, Cadillac, Texas, population of 1524 people, is a pleasant and nurturing place to live.  Become a member of the Blue Ribbon Jalapeno Society and it becomes a cut-throat, back stabbing battle ground.  Growing the hottest jalapenos and creating food products from them was the founding principle of this decades old club.  The competition with the group and between the neighbouring town is quite fierce.

Amid this rivalry, are sisters Marty and Cathy and their dearest friend Trixie.  Together they run Miss Clawdy's Cafe, named after the twins' mother.  Across the street from the cafe, lives 78 year young Agnes Flynn, feisty aunt of the twins. And across from her, in the renovated garage is Darla Jean and her Christian non-denominational church.  Darla Jean is herself a reformed prostitute.

On the far side of town, both physically and financially, is Violet Prescott, self appointed for life Queen of the Blue-Ribbon Jalapeno Society.  Everything in town must go according to some plan that Violet has devised, which is solely to the benefit of herself and her son. 

Even with all the underhand conniving by Violet, the twins, their aunt and Trixie manage to thrive and deepen their friendships.  While their relationships strengthen, they open their hearts and homes to those around them and show that small town warmth that I expected.

This book was funny and highly entertaining but at the same time, it has a sensitive side that makes it a personal story.  The main characters range in age from early 20s to almost 80 years old, making it a suitable read for a wide range of readers.

Food plays a big role in this book as you might expect from owners of a cafe.  The food descriptions make me want to visit Miss Clawdy's and try the daily specials, or to nip across the street with Agnes after closing and gorge on the day's leftovers.  Author Carolyn Brown even has a section on her website where she has included some of these recipes.  She invites readers of her books, to write her if there is a particular recipe that would like.

I read an early ebook version of this novel, but have ordered a paper copy as I enjoyed it so much and want to share it with my mother.

Website for author Carolyn Brown

Thanks to Sourcebooks for my review copy and for use of the cover image.

Also reviewed at:
Books and Needlepoint
Jenny Loves to Read



For more foodie fun, be sure to visit with Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking meme.

13 comments:

Carole said...

Heather, it looks like one I'd enjoy. Cheers

Joy said...

That's sounds like a fun book! The descriptions of small town Texas food are intriguing.

Joy's Book Blog

Rikki said...

This sounds like a fun book. I once spent a few weeks on vacation in a small Texan town and it was quite interesting to experience Texan cuisine (I ate meat at the time still).

Beth F said...

I love this kind of food book -- a great way to spend an afternoon!

JoAnn said...

This book sounds like fun, and it's great that the author includes some recipes on her website. Thanks for the review.

Marie said...

Nice review! It sounds like a book I'd enjoy. I've added it to my be-on-the-lookout-for list. Thanks!

Laurie C said...

Sounds like a fun read! (BTW, I linked to your blog in my Weekend Cooking post today. Thank you for the cookbook giveaway win!)

Trish said...

I love the sound of this one! Especially since it is set in my backyard of Texas (which goes 10 hours in most directions...).

Janel Gradowski said...

I've seen this reviewed several times and everybody likes it. I love all fiction with a culinary angle, so I'm sure this is right up my alley.

Debbie Rodgers said...

Now, this is "foodie fun"!

Ali said...

This looks like a good book, but I'm having a hard time understanding why anyone would want to grow the hottest jalapeno. I like my spicy food pretty mild, so I'm always cutting the amount of jalapeno in half.

winstonsdad said...

nice to mix fiction and cooking and one can imagine these food comps very competitive ,all the best stu

em's scrapbag said...

Sounds like a fun read. Thanks for the review.