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Vampire and Nouvelle Cuisine: No Geese were Harmed in The Writing of This!

By MICHELE DRIER

On July 1, the next batch of bills and laws went into effect in California.

They:

  • Impose minimum standards for sterilizing, sanitizing and maintaining safety at body piercing, tattoo and permanent cosmetic businesses.
  • Define bullying on school campuses

And we also became the only state that BANS the use or sale of pate de foie gras.  So much for my Julia Child recipes!

In fact, though I’m a good cook, I’ve never made a recipe that called for fois gras.  And I’ve only eaten it a few times, mostly because I can’t afford restaurants that have it on their menus.

Since I live less than eighty miles from Chez Panisse, the epicenter of nouvelle, fresh California cuisine, this fois gras ban has been talked about for a couple of years now, so it wasn’t just sprung on an unsuspecting dining population.

My synapses snap in odd and offbeat ways and this discussion of banned food took me to the dinner parties thrown by the Kandesky family.  They entertain at the castle several times a month and occasionally seat 30 people.

The chef is first-rate Swiss-trained and makes authentic European dishes.  Dinner is five courses.  French, German and Italian wines are now joined by some of the upcoming Spanish ones.  And because the castle is on the edge of the Hungarian foothills and forests, there’s always at least one Hungarian wine, usually Bulls’s Blood.

Although any of the guests can request it, it’s primarily reserved for the Kandesky family members.  It’s served with their borscht and steak tartre.  Because the family members are vampires, and have been for upwards of 500 years.

When I began writing the Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, a series about wealthy, urbane, uber-rich vampires who’ve cornered the world market on celebrity gossip, I struggled initially because I didn’t want my vampires to just be do-nothing killers.  To make them interesting, I had to have them evolving, not just violent, static figures.

So some of them move easily in the L.A.-based celeb milieu—wearing huge sunglasses, keeping appearances to nights, riding around in limos with tinted windows—but I didn’t think through what a dinner party would look like.

The family head, Baron Kandesky, his wife, Pen, and the second-in-command, Jean-Louis, have been together and building their empire over the last 400 years and have to entertain for business, usually at their castle.

When Maxie Gwenoch, a hot new media guru and editor hired to run the print edition of SNAP, gets a command invitation to the castle, suddenly I was knee-deep in what incredibly hip and wealthy vampires would eat.  These aren’t the guys who swoop about in the night, leaving a trail of bodies behind them.  Well, their next-door-neighbors and #1 rivals, the Huszars, are those kind but the Kandeskys have evolved.

So I did some research, read some vampire books, realized that Sookie and friends have the trademark of True Blood sewed up and developed some dishes that could be served on exquisite china, in mixed company without too much comment or raised eyebrows.

Technology has been a boon to the Kandeskys who travel with ice chests, have strings of donors around the world and can slip an IV needle in faster than a well-trained paramedic. In today’s foodie world, people accept their different, even odd, diet and choices, but the Kandeskys have such clout in the celeb world that no one’s going to speculate or talk about it.

And as Maxie falls in love with Jean-Louis, becomes more involved with the Kandeskys and spends more time at the castle, she wonders if having the same thing for dinner every night for 400 years gets boring.

Will dining with blood-eaters spoil her appetite for love or is blood pudding on her “new foods” list?


   

MICHELE DRIER was born in Santa Cruz and is a fifth generation Californian.  She’s lived and worked all over the state, calling both Southern and Northern California home.  During her career in journalism — as a reporter and editor at daily newspapers – she won awards for producing investigative series.

Her mystery Edited for Death, called “Riveting and much recommended” by the Midwest Book Review and a Memorable Book for 2011 on DorothyL, is available in paperback at Amazon and B&N.

Her paranormal romance series, SNAP: The Kandesky vampire chronicles, is available in ebook format at Amazon.  The first book, SNAP: The World Unfolds, received a 4-star rating from the Paranormal Romance Guild.  The second book, SNAP: New Talent, also received 4 stars from PRG and the third book of the Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, Plague: A Love Story, was published in June 2012.

Visit her website: www.micheledrier.com