About this title:
"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)
From the Author:
"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)
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.
About the Author:
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.
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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