Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Aloha to Rachel Goodman and FROM SCRATCH


We recently moved from a rented townhouse to our own single family house with a great big stove!  But I'm that great of a cook.   Enter Rachel Goodman and her debut novel, FROM SCRATCH.  I invited Rachel for a cozy chat.  From her bio,

This is me: Mojito lover. Cheese enthusiast. Wanderluster. Book junkie. Romance writer. Engineered.

I am a Colorado native displaced in Texas and an engineer and university professor.

When I’m not creating optimization models or traveling the world, eating my way through city after city, I am usually tucked in the corner of a coffee shop, dreaming up stories and typing away on the computer.

I live in suburbia Dallas with my husband and two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels named Oliver and Rigby and collect Hard Rock Cafe shot glasses from each city I visit.

Kim:  Dallas! What is your favorite sight, sound, and smell of the Big D?

Rachel:  Love this question! My favorite place is White Rock Lake—Dallas's version of Central Park with cool little niches to explore. It's one of the best spots to experience wildlife and natural areas in an urban setting. It has a sort of woodsy-sweet scent that no one can really explain, and at all times of day you can find people gathering, picnicking, flying kites, jogging, cycling, kayaking, sailing. It's the perfect mirror to the city's soul.

Kim:  Eating you way through city after city ... you are my kind of gal! Can you share a funny story about exotic food?

Rachel:  My husband and I are avid travelers and choose to discover the heart and culture of a place through cuisine. We're very adventurous and will try anything once. Except fresh tuna eyeballs. That is something I have no desire to ever try again. The texture, the taste, the fact that an EYEBALL is staring at you, judging you, as you put it into your mouth—no thank you!

Funny enough, this story happened in my very own hometown. My husband and I live near a bustling Asian community in Dallas. One night we went to a local, authentic Japanese restaurant and the owner insisted we try the "house delicacy"—which, as it turned out, ended up being tuna eyeballs lightly sautéed in sesame oil, ginger, and soy sauce. But of course we didn’t know that when we agreed. The dish arrived, and at first I thought it was some weird-looking mushrooms in a kind of sauce. It was only after I put the eyeball in my mouth and forced myself to chew without gagging did the owner tell us what we were eating. I proceeded to promptly race to the bathroom and eject the contents of my stomach. At east my husband fared much better than I did and ate the dish so as not to appear completely disrespectful.

Kim:  I want to know what is your favorite cheese? Mine is Edam from the Netherlands.

Rachel:  Mimolette from Lille, France, which funny enough, was inspired by Dutch Edam. It's a hardy cheese that resembles a cratered cantaloupe, with a hard, craggy rind from the cheese mites intentionally introduced to add flavor and a bright orange center that is buttery, nutty, and rich. SO DELICIOUS. 

Kim:  Hard Rock Café shot glasses - we've collected the Hurricane Glasses (and then pilsner glasses) from our world wide travels with the military. My favorite is Cairo. How about yours?

Rachel:  Mine has to be London. It was the first shot glass I ever collected, even though I wasn't legally allowed to drink—I was fifteen and traveling abroad for the first time. That was the trip that sparked my wanderlust, so it will always hold a special place in my heart.

Kim:  Who or what helped you along the path to publishing?

Rachel:  My husband (cliché, I know). He's helped me keep my head above water and taken on so many responsibilities so I could pursue this dream. My close-knit group of critique partners and friends. They provided me with invaluable advice, honest feedback, and fostered the idea that I could create a book-shape thing. And my agent, Melissa Jeglinski, who has been such a cheerleader and advocate for me. She believed that my light contemporary romance could find a place in the market and she worked tirelessly to make that happen.

Kim:  Tell us about the FROM SCRATCH - what inspired it?

Rachel:  I’m heavily influenced by food (if that wasn't already obvious), so indulging in a meal that can simultaneously take me on an adventure and remind me of where I've been is always a fun treat for me. I also adore homecomings with a sprinkle of crazy relatives thrown in and second-chance-at-love storylines, so I wanted to write a book that incorporated all those things. Plus, it meant I got to partake in dessert every night as “research.”

I also wanted to explore the idea of a couple who got to experience that rush of first love as young teenagers—when everything is new and exciting and perfect. And then, as life is prone to do, the couple grew apart as they grew older. I wanted to explore the idea that sometimes a couple has to take separate, and sometimes painful, journeys to ultimately figure out what they want from life. But this time around, as wiser, more mature versions of themselves, they’re hoping for a different outcome. 

Kim:  What's next for Rachel Goodman?

Rachel:  SOUR GRAPES (sequel to FROM SCRATCH), releasing May 23, 2016 from Simon & Schuster/Pocket imprint, is about one of the characters in FROM SCRATCH who travels to rural wine country in Texas to fight for her own happily ever after.

I'm also currently drafting the first book in a new series that will, of course, have foodie elements in it.

Rachel Goodman

Mahalo, Rachel, for sharing FROM SCRATCH with us!  Learn more about Rachel from her social media:

Amazon: link
Barnes & Noble: link
iBooks: link
Google Play: link
Kobo: link
Simon & Schuster Website: link

I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about "from scratch".  Have you made anything - food, crafts, etc. - from scratch?  On Sunday, I take breakfast cake to church for our fellowship hour.  When the retired ladies compliment me on the cake, I respond I will pass along the positive feedback to Betty Crocker.

(for those outside the US, Betty Crocker is a prepackaged cake mix)

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, September 12, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winners on Sunday, September 13.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


  1. I always make food from scratch. Love cooking and baking, yesterday I made a raspberry cake. A new recipe that turned out great, except for the fact that all the raspberries drifted together. To somewhere in the middle of the cake, while baking :)

  2. Only on home ec class

  3. I cook everything from scratch. I can control the ingredients that way & also ensure it is gluten free for my daughter. Tastes way better too.

    We get Betty Crocker here in Australia too.

  4. I cook everything from scratch. I can control the ingredients that way & also ensure it is gluten free for my daughter. Tastes way better too.

    We get Betty Crocker here in Australia too.

  5. I make a lot of dinners from scratch. I have an enchilada casserole recipe that I make from scratch.

  6. Yes I have and do. I esp made not that long ago tomato pie twice

  7. I positively suck at baking but I have done crafts from scratch.

  8. Unfortunately I'm not much for baking or crafts but I can follow instructions on a box ;)

  9. The majority of our cooking is from scratch, but I'm also adept at reading instructions on a box. I don't do much baking and that is normally from scratch, too. Haven't done crafts in a while, but those are always from scratch.

  10. I used to make and decorate my children's cakes for their birthday. They loved them

  11. I used to make pizza from scratch......it was an all day job.

  12. I bake from scratch, and sometimes I use a mix or cookie dough. Still good when it comes out of the oven!


  13. I enjoy making cookies from scratch, especially for the holidays.

  14. I've never baked from scratch, but have cooked a few dishes that way.

  15. Most of my cooking and baking is from scratch. I do appreciate the convenience of a mix sometimes.

  16. I no longer bake from scratch but I use to. I still cook from scratch most of the time. I've done many a craft but that too is mostly in the past.

  17. I make everything from scratch most of the time :)

  18. When I have time, I cook from scratch.. I've done a lot of things but one I've never tried is pasta from scratch. I'll bake breads from scratch as well. Sadly, many of my cake and brownies that I've made from scratch haven't turned out well. :-( Luckily my daughter is very talented in that area.

  19. I love to bake and everything is from scratch. Make a yummy bittersweet choc cake with ganache icing.

  20. I don't bake from scratch. I am fine with using a box mix....as long as it is some form of chocolate.

  21. quite often - one family member has several food allergies so 'from scratch' is much safer.

  22. Not often but I do love making pancakes or crepes from scratch!

  23. Dont bake from scratch; but love eating from scratch. LOL.
    Karen T.

  24. I make most things from scratch. Love cooking and baking.