Bugs and flour and Imperfectly Deadly on Kindle!

Newsletter – October 2022

Unlike my three brothers, I inherited my mother’s sweet tooth, and though I hated most of the school dinners I was ‘forced’ to eat as a boy – employing contrived methods of avoiding doing so – I loved the stodgy, sticky puddings. And I have always been a sucker for almost all kinds of cake. In fact, at home they used to call me ‘Mr Cake’.  But I don’t think I actually started baking my own cakes until I went to live and work in Malawi as a young man. Flares were illegal in the country at that time, and I had the trousers of my only suit straightened out before I caught the plane – which had propellers! – from Heathrow, but at least in those days most people had food to eat, and no one had even heard of AIDS.

But let’s keep this light-hearted and focus on my adventures with cake. Initially, I made the mistake of using raisins with pips, which resulted in a very unsatisfactory crunch or two with every mouthful. I didn’t know such raisins existed – and, let’s be honest, they really shouldn’t – but worse was to come. One day, my apron neatly tied up and seedless raisins to hand, I opened the flour tin to find that it was half-full of weevils! Even the word is nasty. (‘Ant’, for example, is quite neutral, and ‘cockroach’ didn’t sound so awful to an ignorant Brit until I had to share a toilet with half a dozen big, hairy-legged specimens that waved their feelers at me in a threatening way each evening.) It was a Sunday, and I had no other flour, so I painstakingly sieved it, beat my mixture more thoroughly than ever and then baked away. The result, proving that optimism isn’t always the wisest approach, was a fruitcake that tasted of weevils!

So, when one of my nieces recently suggested that the future of food was not cultivated meat, but flour made from bugs, I wondered if I’d heard it right. I’d eaten fried termites, of course, and dried ants that tasted like a particularly unpleasant type of wood, but this was something new. And it sort of made sense. Most places have a staple food based on flour. Even the potato-eaters among us would sorely miss bread, wouldn’t we? So, you wonder, what would bug-based bread or cake taste like? The briefest of investigations reveals that the increasingly popular cricket flour, for example, which is rich in proteins, vitamins and fibre, is said to be very nutty! That doesn’t sound so dreadful, does it? In fact, when I revisit The Big G before it makes its way into the Kindle Store, I may add an insect-flour recipe to the menu in Blades’ Restaurant. I’m sure Roland would approve.

And that leads us, in an only slightly contrived way, to this month’s book news, which is that Imperfectly Deadly, the very first novelette in the Backdoor Angels series, is now available in the Kindle Store. I’ve decided to include it as a ‘related novella’ in the same series as the full-length novels, and all the other freebies will also end up there one day, after you’ve had the chance to grab them first here (or directly from one of the websites I use). I mention it mostly because if you’ve already read and enjoyed it, I would obviously be delighted if you could find the time to write a quick review. And if you missed it as a freebie, I reckon it’s still a bargain at ninety-nine cents/pence or equivalent!

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