Sunday, December 13, 2009

Say Cheese!

Cricket McRae

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!


Lisa Bork said...

Cricket, love the cover. Perfect for your story. Looking forward to reading it.

Very interesting facts about cheese. Do you think it has the same effect on dogs as people? My dog is wild for cheese.

Mason Canyon said...

The cover looks great. Who knew cheese was such a "good" food for you. Thanks.

G.M. Malliet said...

As we head into the food-laden, metabolism-wrecking holidays, this is welcome news.

Your cover really is gorgeous.

Jess Lourey said...

I'm hungry.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Wow, what a great cover and post! I always knew cheese was good for me, no matter what my doctor says. Same goes for chocolate. I get intense cravings for both. Now I know why - I'm an addict.

Janel said...

A book about cheese making with inspiration from a song! Love it and can't wait to read it.

Cricket McRae said...

Thanks for the cover love, everyone!

Lisa, I've never met a dog who didn't beg for cheese. Chocolate, too, even though it's so bad for them.

Mason, "good" in reasonable quantities, of course. ; (

Sweets are my downfall during the holidays, Gin. All those yummy things that no one makes the rest of the year.

Lol, Jess.

Sue Ann, except on rare occasions I'd choose cheese over chocolate. Guess I'm hooked on the hard stuff.

Janel, the song is pretty gory -- perfect for inspiring murder! (Think I'll hear from Jack White now?)

Deborah Sharp said...

Cheese, glorious cheese!
(Great, great cover, too... and congrats on the novel homicide method. Very nice!)

MsJWoodard said...

I found this post somewhat funny. Made me think of the Wallace and Gommit movies where Wallace says "I'm just crackers about cheese." Great post and much success to your new book.


Cricket McRae said...

Thanks, Deb. I had fun putting a twist on the tradtional "blunt object".

Jenn, I haven't seen the Wallace and Grommit movie. Now I'm moving it up my netflix queue...

Beth Groundwater said...

Now I know why I have such cravings for both chocolate and cheese! And that is indeed a mouth-watering cover, Cricket.