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9780425185339

Secrets of the Tsil Café: A Novel with Recipes

Averill, Thomas Fox

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9780425185339: Secrets of the Tsil Café: A Novel with Recipes

"Wes Hingler lives in the shadow of his eccentric, fiercely opinionated cook parents, whose separate kitchens and shared bedroom spontaneously combust into battlegrounds at the flip of a spatula. Argument and habanero chile are the dominant spices of Wes's life, permeating the ever-tense atmosphere of Kansas City's Tsil Café (his father's Southwestern/Native American restaurant) and the kitchen of Buen AppeTito (his mother's eclectic catering business). Professional rivalries, romantic triangles, and assorted betrayals all make for a volatile upbringing...A lovingly written coming-of-age gem." ( Library Journal)

"Sex...heartbreak and habaneros...Averill's sure hand in the culinary department keeps this Café simmering." ( San Antonio Express-News)

"Completely satisfying...It may be made only of words, but the great tastes of this novel linger like honey and burn like chili." ( Calgary Herald)

"In a time when one of our food groups is 'fast,' there is something genuinely nourishing about the banquet that Averill prepares." ( USA Today)

"Compelling." ( Kansas City Star)

"Voluptuous." ( Booklist)

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From the Author:

In the middle of writing Secrets of the Tsil Cafe, I celebrated my 50th birthday. Knowing that my restaurateur, Robert Hingler, would make his 50th an extravagant experiment in culinary pleasure and odd appetite, my agent suggested I do something similar for myself. I did. My self-indulgence was to pretend Hingler's Tsil Cafe was catering my birthday dinner. I invited nearly twenty friends and family members to a dinner selected from that menu. My wife thought it odd that I wanted to spend my birthday cooking a five-course dinner for twenty, but I called it a "gift" to both myself and my work-in-progress novel.

Our invitation included the dinner menu: Black Bean & Gooseberry Enchiladas and Chips with Sweet Habanero Salsa for appetizers; then Potato and Green Chile Soup; then the salad course, Watercress with Roasted Sunflower Dressing; and finally the main dish--Buffalo Tongue with Chipotle Barbecue Sauce--and sides, Quinoa and Squash. My wife catered the dessert, a non-Tsil Lemon Meringue Pie. I organized, shopped, cooked happily for an entire day, and we all ate well.

By putting myself in Hingler's shoes for a day, I learned something of exotic appetites. I received both compliments and occasional silence depending on the tastes of my guests. Most of all I had the best gift this novelist could receive: a deeper well for writing Secrets of the Tsil Cafe.

About the Author:

Thomas Fox Averill has published two story collections, Passes at the Moon and Seeing Mona Naked. An Iowa Writers' Workshop graduate and O. Henry Award winner, he is writer-in-residence and professor of English at Washburn University.

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Averill, Thomas Fox
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