Just in time for Thanksgiving I have invited Gina Henning, author of How to Bake the Perfect Pecan Pie, to share some of her favorite Thanksgiving inspirations for food and writing romance!
Let’s welcome Gina to Eat~Write~Love and go ahead, grab a slice of pumpkin or pecan pie while reading, we can wait …
Can you tell us more about your idea to create holiday themed chick lit books?
Thank you. I’m a huge fan of all things holiday: books, movies, and simply enjoying them. There is a certain magic that surrounds that time of year. The idea of no matter what you are going through in life when you sit down at your holiday dinner there is a sense of accomplishment and joy.
The story of How to Bake the Perfect Pecan Pie came about first with the relationship of Lauren and her grandmother. Lauren is presented with a culinary challenge by her grandmother which may lead to a hot romance.
I think baking is a metaphor for life, we have a list of ingredients and instructions and what we choose to do with those, results in what we take out of the oven.
Was it different writing a Thanksgiving novel versus Christmas (seeing as you have done both?) A different message? A different mood in your novel?
Thanksgiving is a holiday that I have always held dear to my heart. It doesn’t have the rush for presents and the same pressures as Christmas, but there are still similar situations that are presented when getting together with extended family especially as an adult.
Often someone is coming home for the holidays and this can bring up a bunch of old memories while making many new ones, there is a juxtaposition of being back with your family once you have found your own place in adulthood yet you are still perceived by your birth order: the older brother, sister, baby etc. of the family, which is seen in How to Bake the Perfect Pecan Pie.
The message and mood are similar in these stories. Lauren’s family likes to celebrate and has a long history of traditions. To me Thanksgiving and Christmas have similar messages as they are both festive and family oriented. Lauren goes home for the holidays in each book, the first being that she is home for Thanksgiving, in this story we get to see the family dynamics and adventures that Lauren takes on.
In How to Bake the Perfect Christmas Cake, Lauren is returning home for Christmas and though it has been only a month a lot has changed for her and to the other characters. She is given some big decisions to make involving both her career and love life, and we get to see how she handles it while dealing with her family and all of their silly antics.
What makes a perfect Thanksgiving table for you?
A perfect Thanksgiving table includes some of my tried and true recipes like my cranberry relish with Grand Marnier, sweet potato casserole, cornbread stuffing, and a cheesy potato dish that can be served with or without gravy. I make a pecan, pumpkin, and apple pie for dessert. For it to be a truly perfect Thanksgiving table, there is also an endless supply of delicious wine.
My day after Thanksgiving tradition is to eat pumpkin pie for breakfast, which now means I have to make two pumpkin pies each year to make sure we have enough.
Do you have a family recipe or tradition that you now use with your own family?
The pecan pie recipe in the story is one I created and make for my family each year. We have traditions for various months, like for the first day of October I always make pumpkin muffins for breakfast. As a child I used to bake with my grandmother and I cherish those memories.
Now, that I have children of my own I like to bake and cook with them. Not every Saturday morning but quite often my boys and I will watch the Food Network and pick out new recipes to try. They all like to cook and bake and it makes for a nice family experience. I also don’t seem to have such a struggle with them over eating new things if they prepared the dish themselves!
I noticed in your bio you like to run, do you run with music or not?
I have to run with music or I wouldn’t make it a tenth of a mile! Music motivates me to keep going and finish. I have a variety of tunes on my playlist. When I’m running a race I have to listen to a slower song like “Hearing Damages” by Thom Yorke to keep me from taking off too fast and then about a fourth of the way through the race, I change up the songs with a faster the tempo. One of my current faster beats is “DJ Turn It Up” by Yellow Claw.
Cindy, thank you for having me on your delectable blog and for providing such interesting questions!
Gina Henning currently resides where bluebonnets line the highways in the spring, but she prefers the rock flower anemone from under the sea. Above the ocean’s surface Gina likes to dance with her three boys and travel to exotic places like the grocery store with her husband. Her pooch Schatzi is a mix between German Shepherd and possibly pig. One of Gina’s favorite pastimes is running. She recently completed her one-and-done marathon. At the end of the day her glass of wine is always half-full.
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