This is the new cover for my fourth Sophie Mae Reynolds Home Crafting Mystery. It will be released in the spring of 2010. My cover designer, Lisa Novak, has done it again. Simple, sensuous, appealing yet with a hint of danger. A knife. Broken glass. Spots of vivid red.
This time around I got to kill someone by bashing them over the head with a bottle of heavy cream. Thank you, Raconteurs, for the song Carolina Drama. Inspiration comes in all forms.
As you can see from the cover, Something Borrowed, Something Bleu features cheese making as the backdrop to the mystery. I started making cheese about fifteen years ago, mostly jack and cheddar. It took months to properly age, and I had to keep an eye on humidity and temperature during that process. When I started writing this book I dove into it again, this time focusing on fresh cheeses like mozzarella, paneer, queso fresco, ricotta and fromage blanc.
I love cheese. Lots of people love cheese, it turns out. And lo and behold, there is a very good reason for this. Sure there are the awesome, often intense, flavors. The textures. The melty goodness. The way it accents pasta, eggs and fruit. But there's also the PEA.
Phenylethylamine, or PEA, is the love drug. The one that makes us feel giddy and goofy, clouds our judgment and in many ways makes us downright stoopid. Some studies have concluded PEA affects the human brain like cocaine. Brain scans of people in the head-over-heels stage of falling in love resemble those of psychotics. It's strong stuff.
Chocolate contains PEA. That's one of the (many) reasons chocolate makes us happy. But get a load of this: Cheese contains more PEA than chocolate. One study I ran across said ten times more.
Yea, baby. That's what I'm talking about.
Oh, oh, catch that buzz.
Cheese is the drug I'm thinkin' of.
And PEA isn't the only drug cheese contains, either. I grew up thinking penicillin came from bread mold. Not so, I eventually learned. Those charcoal blue streaks in bleu cheeses? Yep. Penicillin.
Now, I doubt eating a hunk of bleu cheese would cure an infection, but I'd sure be willing to give it a try.
But wait! There's more!
Cheese made from organic raw milk from grass fed cows contains high amounts of CLAs, or conjugated linoleic acids. These are omega 6 fatty acids vital to health. They're potent anticarginogens, may prevent atherosclerosis, ease inflammation, and even adjust metabolism to increase weight loss. And CLA from animal sources is the easiest for human digestion to access.
That's right. Cheese can be good for your heart and help you lose weight. How crazy is THAT? Plus, it makes you happy, happy, happy..
No wonder we love it!