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  • Writer's pictureSharon Michalove

If Food Be The Music of Love, Eat On

In At First Sight, Max and Cress are definitely interested in food. From their run-in at the now closed Everest at the opening of the book to Cress' writing at the late, lamented Toni's Patisserie on Washington and Wabash, where she downed innumerable eclairs, to Max's tea breaks and elevenses, food pervades the book.

Sadly, Cress doesn't have good childhood food memories but Max frequently longs for British food not easily found in Chicago—back bacon, various pies and traditional sausages, Bird's Custard Powder, Branston Pickle, Cooper's Marmalade. A true Scot, he likes whisky in his oatmeal and even misses haggis.

For Max's birthday, Cress decided that a gift of some of his favorites might be nice. She thought about a luxury hamper from Fortnum and Mason or Harrods, but in the end, this was what she gave him.

Her first order was to Parker's—A Great British Institution. She knew he would love the cottage pie, toad in the hole, bacon, steak and stout sausages, sausage rolls, and pies.

She'd ordered from them before, but this is the first time it came with a recipe card. She loves stuffing and gravy so she's excited to try the gravy recipe.

But she wasn't done. She also shopped online for less perishable items from the British Corner Shop. The way Max's eyes lit up when he saw the Cooper's marmalade, Branston Pickle, and ginger syrup puddings made her heart sing. He wasn't sure how he felt about Pot Noodles, but he's game to try them. Elevene,s at work will now include lemon slices and cherry bakewells from Mr. Kipling to go with a cup of tea. And he has a sneaking suspicion that, even though he likes them, Cress really ordered the dark chocolate and dark chocolate mint Kit Kats for herself. But he's okay with that. Cress also ordered some interesting stuffing combinations like chestnut, cranberry, and apple that they can't wait to try with the Parker gravy recipe.

Cress particularly liked the cheeky card that came with the order.

The cake she bought is from Tous les Jours bakery in Wicker Park. Even though it's a national chain, their cakes are wonderful. They had a chestnut cake with chestnut frosting and layers of vanilla, chestnut, and chocolate cake.

Max was so touched by Cress' thoughtfulness that he bought her a little gift too. These are the new additions he made to her gin collection. She's been trying to get a bottle of Rock Rose lfor years. It's very hard to find in the U.S. They are now planning all the cocktails and gin tastings they can share.

To join Max and Cress on their food adventures in Chicago, check out At First Sight, book one in the Global Security Unlimited series.

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