Folks familiar with my stories know that food always shows up in some way, shape, or form. NO SUCH THING is no different. Jaime's sister Shannon owns a bakery/breakfast joint called Baker's Dozen that offers breakfast until noon, and thirteen different varieties of freshly baked muffins each day. Baker's Dozen is also where Jaime and Alessandro quite literally walk into each other's lives.
Shannon bakes because it's something she loves to do and she's good at it. Her open-minded ability to look beyond Alessandro's sketchy past and hire him to wait tables is the good luck that Alessandro needs—and not only because it leads him to Jaime. The job gives him a chance to prove himself, to help provide for his foster mother, and awakens a passion for food he never knew he had. Sometimes you don't know how much you'll enjoy something until you take a chance on it—just like love.
Food is an important part of our lives, not only because it sustains our everyday existence, but also because of how it becomes part of our traditions and memories. As a child, baking Christmas cookies with my mother and sister was the highlight of the season. We'd spend an entire weekend elbows-deep in flour, sugar, eggs, and candy, making more cookies than we'd ever eat as a family. So we shared with others (but always made sure to keep a few for Santa). I have so many memories of those special weekends, and a lot of recipes I look at fondly each Christmas.
So in the spirit of good memories, I want to share a recipe. We're past the season for Christmas cookies, so I thought about muffins. Alas, I don't actually have any muffin recipes of my own, and I don't want to slap one up that I copied out of the Betty Crocker cookbook. Instead, I'm sharing a family recipe for Sweet Potato Biscuits: Eastern Shore Style.
2 cups warm sweet potatoes, boiled and mashed
½ cup shortening
2 tsp baking powder
3 cups flour
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Sift together flour, baking powder, and cinnamon. In another bowl, mix together warm sweet potatoes, sugar, salt, and shortening. Add the dry ingredients to it and mix thoroughly. Mixture will be sticky.
Flour a clean surface and roll dough to about one-half inch thickness. Cut with a circular biscuit cutter (or a floured, upside down glass). Bake on ungreased cookie sheets 12-15 minutes until set and barely browned.
Be sure to enjoy one while they're still warm! A friend also recently turned me on to slicing them in half and slathering cream cheese in between. YUM.
Twenty-two-year-old Alessandro Silva knows that returning to tiny Perch Creek to help his foster mother was the right thing to do. With no degree and a delinquent's reputation, he's lucky to have landed a job waiting tables. But not everyone is happy he's back, and the only thing keeping his move home from being a total bust is his boss's hot brother.
Jaime Winters spent most of his life watching the world go by, first from a series of hospitals and then from behind big stacks of textbooks. Studying is easier than facing the fact that years of heart failure means he's still a virgin at twenty-three. Until the new waiter in his sister's diner awakens desires he'd long ago given up on.
The last thing Alessandro wants is to fall for someone as fragile as Jaime. And Jaime may have a new heart, but he's scared of what giving it to another person would mean. Their no-strings-attached, instructional approach to sex keeps emotion safely at bay, until a secret from Alessandro's past forces them to confront their feelings in the present...
What are some of your favorite family food traditions? Share yours in the comments for a chance to win a digital copy of NO SUCH THING!
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