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  • Writer's pictureCulinary Cam

A Gin Martini in a Teacup + A Peach Cobbler #LitHappens #FoodieReads

This month the Lit Happens group is reading Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris. Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm is hosting. And though this isn't a cook-from-the-book group, I will almost always find some inspiration from the page to send me into the kitchen.

On the Page

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, so when Amy of Amy's Cooking Adventures pitched the group reading a historical fiction novel from each of these regions of the United States. Wendy kicked off the year.

  • New England

  • North Atlantic

  • Mid Atlantic

  • Appalachia

  • Deep South

  • Gulf

  • Ozarks

  • Great Lakes

  • North Central

  • Great Plains

  • South West

  • Rockies

  • Mormon Corridor

  • Cascadia (PNW)

  • Pacific

  • Alaska

  • Hawaii

The story is set in the Depression Era (1931-1932), with the action in and around Philadelphia and rural Pennsylvania, New York City, and Hoboken, New Jersey. So, this checks the box for the North Atlantic.

Wendy selected this book - and told me it was free for Kindle unlimited subscribers - I downloaded it and read it in the same day. This novel was inspired by an actual photograph from the 1930s that stunned the nation. The sign read: CHILDREN FOR SALE.

McMorris creates a story surrounding the photographer who took the photo, a colleague at the newspaper, the children in the photograph, their mother, the people who purchased them, and ties to the Chicago mob.

Ellis Reed stages the photo after the original photo he submitted with his story proposal was destroyed. His story is going to print and he needs a replacement. In this one, he has Ruby, Calvin, and their mother, Geraldine, pose with the sign. And that photograph snowballs into a family fractured by lies and circumstance. One small sign changes the life of so many people! Reed's colleague Lillian Palmer has secrets of her own, but is eager to help Reed reunite the children with their mother.

This was a quick read with vivid characters in complicated relationships. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to our next selection. I know we have suggestions for the Mid-Atlantic and Hawaii. Stay tuned!

In the Teacup

I was inspired into the kitchen to make two different recipes from the book. The first is one of my favorite libations: a gin martini. Only, due to Prohibition, Ellis' is served in a teacup. I used a gin from the local-to-me distillery, bitters from just down the coast, and a lemon from a tree in my mom's yard. Typically, I like my gin martinis dirty with extra olives!

Looking tempted, she glanced at the last of Ellis’s gin martini, served in a teacup—as were all libations here as a precaution for a raid. But before she could decide, her husband answered for them both. 'We’ll stick with water.'


  • 2-1/2 ounces gin

  • 1/2 ounce dry vermouth, or to taste

  • 1 dash bitters

  • twist from an organic lemon

  • Also needed: cocktail shaker and ice


Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour in the gin and vermouth. Cover and shake for at least thirty seconds before straining it into a teacup. Add a dash of bitter. Garnish with a twist of lemon. Serve immediately.

On the Plate

Then I used some peaches to make a cobbler like Ellis' mom made. Here's the passage...

"While he carted the used dishes to the sink, she served up the coffee and dessert, and they all settled back in. 'I hope it doesn’t have too much nutmeg,' she said as Ellis and his father took their first bites. 'I was trying out a new recipe from Good Housekeeping'."

'It’s perfect,' Ellis insisted through a mouthful. His father agreed. 'Tastes fine, Myrna. Real good.'



  • 5 cups sliced organic peaches

  • 1/2 cup lightly packed organic dark brown sugar

  • 2 Tablespoons flour

  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

  • 2 Tablespoons butter, shaved or thinly sliced plus more for greasing dish


  • 1 cup flour

  • 1/2 cup lightly packed organic dark brown sugar

  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder

  • 3 to 4 Tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1 egg

  • 1 Tablespoons ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

  • Optional: ice cream to serve the cobbler à la mode


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and butter a baking dish.

With a wooden spoon mix all of the filling ingredients until thoroughly combined and the peach slices are all coated with the other ingredients. Spoon the filling into the prepared pan and dot with 2 Tablespoons butter that's been shaved or sliced.

For the topping...stir until all the ingredients are combined. The consistency will be like a crumble top. Spoon the topping over the fruit and use a spatula to spread it over the fruit.

Bake the cobbler for 40 to 50 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serve hot with ice cream if you want cobbler à la mode.

In addition to reading this for #LitHappens, I am adding this to the January #FoodieReads line-up.

21 views3 comments


Margaret Wuestenenk
Margaret Wuestenenk
Jan 23

I've heard good things about this author, but never read her, despite being a big historical fiction reader.


Wendy Klik
Wendy Klik
Jan 18

I'm glad you enjoyed the book Cam. I enjoyed it as well. Great choices for the food inspiration.

Culinary Cam
Culinary Cam
Jan 18
Replying to

I really enjoyed the book and look forward to more of these historical novels.

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