I grew up working in restaurants all over Cape Cod, and food is a big part of all of my books. In The Bookshop by the Bay, I mention local restaurants that I love —both on the Cape and in Charleston— as well as dishes I love to make, such as Alison's black bean gluten-free brownies.
The novel is set during the summer when casual cookouts are popular—someone is cooking burgers or steaks on the grill and people bring side dishes, salads, or desserts. On the Cape, we often cook seafood at such gatherings. Local seafood is so fresh on the Cape, and day boats deliver it daily right in Chatham.
A menu for a book club might include:
Beverages: Bread & Butter Chardonnay, Santa Margarita Pinot Grigio
Appetizers: Spinach and artichoke dip with tortilla chips, and fresh guacamole
Salad: Butter lettuce tossed with goat cheese, toasted walnuts, dried cranberries, and balsamic vinaigrette.
Entree: "Lazy" lobster or scallops, chopped and baked with crushed Ritz crackers, melted butter, sherry, and fresh parsley
Dessert: Gluten-free black bean brownies