Saturday, February 15, 2020

A Recipe from My New Release, Taming Julia By Jodie Wolfe

In my new book, Taming Julia, my heroine has a hard time adjusting to life as a mail-order bride. Most of her life has been lived along the trail with her big brother, so when it comes to coming up with a meal on a cook stove, she's way out of her depths. There are many things she hasn't experienced, so when she has to cook a meal, things often go horribly wrong. Here's what happened when she tried to make beef soup:

Taming the wild out of Jules is going to take longer than I’d anticipated. Drew seized his glass and guzzled the water, ignoring the dribbles down his chin. Tears streaked his cheeks.
"It's terrible!" Jules wouldn’t look him in the eye.
What had she put into the stew to make it burn his mouth and throat all the way to his stomach? He couldn’t lie and tell her he liked the atrocious meal she’d prepared. After three weeks of cooking inside the house, she’d shown no improvement. If anything, she’d gotten worse. The townspeople had finally stopped talking about his wife preparing meals outdoors. It marked one area of improvement. If only her indoor food was palatable.
"I’m a lousy cook." Jules’s eyes blinked rapidly.
Oh, no. Not tears. "I didn’t—" Drew wiped his sweating forehead.
"You would’ve been better off…" Jules turned her head away.
"If what?
The unfinished sentence hung between them.
Jules shoved her chair from the table and made a dash for the outhouse. When she returned, her pale face concerned him. He pulled her into his arms and held her while she sobbed.
"I don’t understand." Her body shook.
In one swooping motion Drew lifted and carried her to the sofa. He sat with her snuggled on his lap, rubbing his fingers along her backbone. A waft of the outdoors tinged her clothes, tickling his nostrils.
"What ingredients did you add?"
Her lip quivered. "It was ‘sposed to be beef soup. The recipe in the book from yer ma said to add pepper, salt, cloves, and mace. I weren’t sure what mace was, and we didn’t have no cloves."
"So what did you add instead?"
He put his finger under her chin and tilted her head so he could see her beautiful, tear-filled eyes.
"I figured since we didn’t have the cloves and mace I’d use somethin’ called cayenne instead. I can’t rightly recall the rest of its name."
"Cayenne pepper?"
"Yes, that’s it. I put in two heapin’ spoonfuls. Do you think it’s how I ruined it?"
Drew coughed. No wonder his eyes hadn’t stopped watering since the first bite. "Haven’t you ever had cayenne pepper? I hear they use it often in Texas dishes. It’s very spicy."
"No, we didn’t usually have spices along the trail. Salt, if anything. Is that why it tastes so awful?"
"It probably has a lot to do with it." He smiled and tucked a tendril of hair behind her ear, surprised by its softness. When he encircled his arms about her waist, something hard poked him in the ribs. His ran his fingers over the outline of the object.
"Jules Montgomery!" He shoved her from his lap. "How many times have I talked to you about wearing a gun belt? When are you going to listen to me and realize you don’t need it anymore?"

The actual recipe that I used in my story is from The Improved Housewife or Book of Recipts with Engravings for Marketing and Carving by Mrs. A. L. Webster and it was published in 1851.

Black, or Beef Soup
For soup the shank of beef is the best joint. Cold beef steak, and cold roast beef bones, make good soup. Boil the shank, in sufficient water to cover it, about five hours. Thirty minutes before putting the soup on the table, take out the meat, thicken the broth with scorched flour mixed with cold water; season it with pepper, salt, mace, and cloves; a little walnut or tomato catsup improves it. Add sweet herbs, or herb spirit, if liked. Some boil onions in the soup; but as they are offensive to many people, it is best to boil and serve them up by themselves. Make force meat balls of part of the beef and a little fat salt pork, chopped very fine, seasoned with salt, pepper, mace, and cloves, and boil them fifteen minutes in the soup.

Do you have any old recipes that have been passed down through your family? How far back do they go?

Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Romance Writers of America (RWA), and COMPEL Training. She's been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests. A former columnist for Home School Enrichment magazine, her articles can be found online at: Crosswalk, Christian Devotions, and Heirloom Audio. She's a contributor and co-founder of Stitches Thru Time blog. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at

Back Cover Blurb for Taming Julia
In 1875, Kansas bachelor Drew Montgomery's sole desire is to serve God, but his congregation's ultimatum that he marry or leave, forces him to advertise for a wife by proxy.

Jules Walker strides into Drew's life wearing breeches and toting a gun and saddle--more cowboy than bride. After years on the trail, she's not exactly wife material, but she longs for home and family, and will do anything to ensure Drew never discovers what she really is.


Purchase Links for Taming Julia:

A gun-toting, breeches-wearing wife wasn't what the minister ordered.

Matrimony News, February 6, 1875 edition

Minister bachelor aged 27, height 5 feet 10 inches seeks genteel, honest and first-rate homemaker with a desire to serve God. Must be willing to marry by proxy and arrive in Burrton Springs, Kansas by May 1.

Burrton Springs, Kansas, Saturday, May 1, 1875

            Dear Lord, please don’t let that creature be my new wife. Drew Montgomery swiped the sweat trickling a path down his neck and shoved the new hat back on his head. He squinted, taking in the lone passenger stepping from the stagecoach. At least, he thought it was a woman. He shielded his eyes from the sun, taking in the britches.

            Britches? A gun belt strapped to a slim waist. He gulped. A rifle rested on her shoulder, and she wore a Stetson situated low on her brow. The figure shifted sideways, and Drew groaned, fearing his proxy mail-order bride had arrived by the look of all the curves. He squared his shoulders and crossed the street.

            "Are you Montgomery?" Her coffee-brown gaze seared through him.

            He snapped his gaping mouth shut and nodded. "Y-yes."

            "Name’s Jules Walker." She shoved her hand into his and shook it so hard his teeth clattered. "I reckon, Jules Montgomery since we’re hitched." She waved a slip of paper in his face. "Got the paper here to prove it. So are you my husband or not?"

            Drew caught a whiff of dirt. He coughed and cleared his throat.

            She peered at him as if he were a chicken with one leg.

            "I’m Drew." He managed to choke the words out. "Isn’t your name Julia?"

            She scrunched her face, pushed her Stetson from her head, and allowed it to dangle from the string around her neck. Her brown hair scattered in disarray, slipping from a shoulder-length braid. "I can’t remember the last time I’ve been called Julia. Like I said, name’s Jules."

            "But..." Drew let the word hang between them. No matter. "Where’re your things?"

            "Got my knapsack and that there." She pointed to the top of the stagecoach. He expected to see a trunk, but a saddle rested there instead. What kind of woman brought a saddle into a marriage? What kind of woman showed up dressed like a man? No. No. Something was terribly wrong.


Marilyn R. said...

I see a lot of hilarious moments in Taming Julia. Thanks for featuring Jodie Wolfe's new release.

Jodie Wolfe said...

Thanks for having me here, Laura!

Jodie Wolfe said...

I think it's a book you'll like, Marilyn. :)

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