This was the perfect chance to re-launch Cooking the Books with our new CrimeHQ test kitchen staff—or so we thought. We had a bunch of recent, appealing crime-related recipes, but unfortunately, after assigning them, the feedback from our test
crooks cooks was a little less constructive than we'd hoped. You'll see what we mean…
After trying The Cozy Cookbook's “Charmed Bacon Lattice Breakfast Pie” by Ellery Adams, here are the testing notes from a Thriller's Disposable Henchman:
The instructions say Bake until crisp, approximately 25 minutes. Couldn't the timing be more precise? Why, I have this handy ticking clock right next to me, and… [rest illegible and aflame]
From “Cake Pops” by Jenn McKinlay, testing notes from a Town Busybody:
It should be called “cake popular,” because this recipe makes 30. Who has that many people to give sweets to? Don't get me wrong, I try to stay involved in goings-on in my community, but really, if I dropped dead, I think people would probably just stand around making snide comments and jokes. Here's my version of the recipe for a single cake pop. Tell the author to put it in her next book. You're welcome.
From The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook's “Worth-the-Effort-Turkey-Tetrazzini” by Hank Phillippi Ryan, testing notes from Distractingly Handsome Local Law Enforcement:
My apron says Kiss the Sheriff, but next week, I might be a detective, maybe Chief of Police. But there's one thing that's certain: even with corpses piling up, cruel injustices, and imminent danger everywhere, you will find yourself precoccupied with how damned attractive I am. Who could blame you? My twinkling eyes, the warmth of my smile… wait, what was I supposed to be cooking again?
From “Grandma's Killer Chocolate Cake” by James Patterson, testing notes from a French Prisoner:
As I did not possess the bitter chocolate required, I substituted grains of the darkest grave dirt watered with tears of contempt. During baking, the dessert proved incapable of rising above futility. I didn't care.
From Meet Your Baker by Ellie Alexander's “Raspberry Danish,” testing notes from a Violent Gang Member:
This Danish, made in round cake pans, reminds me of the way we always circle around our targets, each of us patiently taking turns attacking the lone hero in the center. Has anyone tried using blueberry jam in this recipe? Let us know—we'll wait to bake it until you do!
Yeah, after all that, we decided it might be best just to let you have the chance to try them out for yourselves.
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