April 27, 2013


Roxe Ann Peacock Cooks Up a Little History


Roxe Anne Peacock lives in Caledonia, Illinois and is the author of two mysteries, Leave No Trace and Fatal Catch. Her newest release is a non-fiction historical cookbook, History Lover’s Cookbook.
Roxe Anne has participated in Civil War re-enactments for over ten years, helped host ladies’ teas for the public, participated in Civil War balls and fashion shows, and helped educate the public about the Civil War at living histories. She also appeared on CSPAN in the re-enactment of the Lincoln-Douglas debates.
 
 
 
 

Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself?
These days, I stay home quite a bit with my old pug, Spike. He is blind and panics when I leave the house. I treasure every moment I have with my faithful friend. This also helps to keep me focused on writing. I do have a dog sitter, family, once in a while. 
Please tell us a little about your new release.
          History Lover’s Cookbook was released January 2013. It will transport readers through the Battle of First Bull Run/Manassas to April 9, 1865, where General Robert E. Lee stood under an apple tree to dispatch his surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant. Do you know what Lee was eating just before he surrendered? What was Grant’s favorite wine?
          Share in the Union’s Thanksgiving holiday by preparing one of General George Armstrong’s family favorites, potato butter rolls. This delectable bite of butter goodness will soon become one of your families’ favorites.
Read articles about the history of the quince, lemons, pound cake, jumbles, gingerbread, pie birds, cobblers, vinegars and shrubs, northern and southern cornbread differences, the differences in southern and northern haversacks, the history of mint juleps, commissary, and Christmas in the Civil War.
          History Lover’s Cookbook has over 150 full-color photos inspired by nineteenth century recipes, anecdotes and the Civil War. One of my favorite recipes, fried cornmeal mush, is inexpensive and easy to make at re-enactments.  

In writing a historical cookbook, where do you begin: articles, recipes or photos?
Writing non-fiction was certainly a challenge. About 100 of the photos included in the book are mine and the remainder is by the talented Tom George Davison. He has various subjects on his site.
          By the time I cooked or baked the recipes throughout History Lover’s Cookbook, I was exhausted. But that is only a small part of what a book like this entails. Researching and writing recipes from the nineteenth century can be very trying. You might have to convert a sack of flour, or they might just write, add flour. Some of the recipes call for 1 salt-spoon which equals1/4 teaspoon, a hen’s egg equals 2 ounces, and a coffee cup equals 1 cup. That is just a fraction of the conversion I encountered.
          Some of the recipes in the book were tried three and four times before I came up with the appropriate amount of flour, cornmeal, etc. This project started in 2001 with a regular old camera and finally advancing to my Nikon which I love. It wasn’t until 2012 that I created a completion timeframe. Good grief, if I hadn’t, I might still be working on this project.
          Before I even start baking or cooking the recipes, I set up my photography studio in my kitchen. This isn’t great if you get unexpected company! After I complete the recipe and do the photo styling appropriate for the book, I begin shooting up to about 160 photos of each recipe. I might find two or three I like depending on the lighting.
          The articles were the fun part of the project. I went to the bookstore and picked up way too many books and also ordered a ton on Amazon. I have over ten large 3 ring binders and about 25 large spiral notebooks full of research information. This doesn’t include all the folders on my computer. I think I am obsessed with researching. 

Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing?
          My writing day might consist of research on the computer the first part of the day. Then I grab a bottle of water, blankets, books, notebooks, pens, pillows, blankets and my dog, Spike. We snuggle in the recliner and then begin working on our project. Sometimes my cat, Simba, joins us trying to take a nap on my work. As soon as I have enough work to transfer to the computer, we head back into the small living room.  I can also view the horses and birds out back when my mind says take a break. 

Do your books have a common theme or are they all different?
          My first two books, Leave No Trace and Fatal Catch both refer to rivers and include a snake or two. I was brought up with the river as my back yard. 

What do you like to do when you are not writing?
          My family and friends are a great part of my life. My husband, Tom, and I have five daughters, seven grandchildren and several son-in-laws who love spending time at our house in the country. We also make every effort to see our friends. 

What is your next project?
          A challenge is what motivates me. My next project is science fiction which I absolutely hated reading or watching growing up. Without giving away the premise, the title is, The Garbage Eaters.
          When I get writer’s block, I continue working on a mystery series set in northern Wisconsin entitled, Catch and Release. Do you see a theme here?
          My next non-fiction project is ongoing daily. I write in a journal every day about my struggles to get healthy and lose weight. I purchase every new healthy book available to mankind which I don’t think my husband appreciates. I am going to a chiropractor who believes in God first, healthy living and eating and adjustments. When I say healthy, it is more on the organic side. I participated in the Advanced Plan lose 20 pound in 30 days. I now have lost 23 pounds and with adjustments, can move my neck better than I have been able to in years. I also am asked to give talks about my journey at events.
          I am determined to make my life revolve around healthy eating, family and friends. So if you are on Facebook, you know I add a lot of articles about the health benefits of foods. 

Where can the readers learn more about you and find your books on the web?
My books can be found on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Of course I’d love to have my readers visit my blog:  http://www.civilwarcooking.blogspot.com. And feel free to drop me an email with any questions:  peacockroxeanne@yahoo.com
 

Contest Info:

Roxe Anne will give away one Kindle gift of History Lover’s Cookbook to the person who can answer this question:

How much sugar would equal 1 pony?

 
Share in the Union’s Thanksgiving holiday by preparing one of General George Armstrong’s family favorites, potato butter rolls. This delectable bite of butter goodness will soon become one of your families’ favorites.
Read articles about the history of the quince, lemons, pound cake, jumbles, gingerbread, pie birds, cobblers, vinegars and shrubs, northern and southern cornbread differences, the differences in southern and northern haversacks, the history of mint juleps, commissary, and Christmas in the Civil War.
          History Lover’s Cookbook has over 150 full-color photos inspired by nineteenth century recipes, anecdotes and the Civil War. One of my favorite recipes, fried cornmeal mush, is inexpensive and easy to make at re-enactments.

potato butter rolls
fried corn meal mush 
 
 


 

5 comments:

Candace C. Bowen - Author said...

I had no idea you had such an interest in the Civil War. Very cool! It's on my bucket list to visit Gettysburg.

Will definitely be checking out your cookbook. :)

Roxe Anne Peacock said...

My husband, Tom, re-enacts General George Armstrong Custer in a troupe called, Grant, Lee, Custer & Co. We joined a group, Battery G Light Artillery when our children were young in the early 1990's. History is our passion. Thanks for reading my post, Candace.

Roxe Anne Peacock said...

Annette, thank you for your support of authors, interviews and newsletters. You do an amazing job with the way you create author's posts. I wish you the best of luck in the future and much success.

Roxe Anne Peacock said...

Debbie, I believe this is the best blog post I have been on. I love the way you format your articles.

Roxe Anne Peacock said...

The fried cornmeal mush and potato butter rolls are two of my favorite recipes from the cook book. The fried cornmeal mush can be made ahead and refrigerated. You can take them out and fry them up at a Civil War re-enactment for a large group with little cost. The recipe for the rolls is for a large crowd and should be a hit.