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PAPER/PLATES is a
literary food blog, for readers with good taste.

Liane Moriarty's "The Husband's Secret" & Slow Cooker Black Beans and Sausage

Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret reads like a modern Agatha Christie work. Though the plot involves sordid things like murder and affairs, it still manages to feel fluffy and and a bit soap operatic.  

The moral of her story is simple: everyone has a secret. Some are minor — insecurities and unwanted personality quirks — and some are enormous, the kind of guilty memories that slowly rot your insides. We follow a set of small town characters as their lives intertwine in the most quotidian ways and the most dramatic ones. 

We meet Tess, an anxious but driven woman who exists in an unnatural, co-dependent threesome with her husband and best-friend-cousin. We meet Connor, the elementary school gym teacher with romantic baggage and a motorcycle. We meet a principal who acts like a child, a trendy, eager-to-please daughter-in-law, and a grieving elderly woman who still reels from the murder of her teenage daughter years before. The unsolved murder of young Janie Crowley still sends ripples of pain, awkwardness, and angst throughout the community.

Meanwhile, Cecelia Fitzpatrick, a type-A star Tupperware saleswoman and supermom, navigates the complicated social currents of a nosy small town with ease.  Her life is under control, efficient, and ordinary...until she finds a mysterious letter from her husband that reads “to be opened in the case of my death.” As you’d expect from a solid piece of chick lit, this opens a new can of worms and has a chain reaction of discovered secrets and drama.

The plot twists in the book are riveting, but are cheap tricks — death, sex, secrets, drama.  But Moriarty shows bits of finesse in her character development, creating relatable, flawed people that round out an over the top story. The result is a perfect book for a long flight or a beach read. It might not challenge your mind, but it will keep you turning pages!

Transient

Cecelia is famous for her casseroles and easy, comforting dinners she takes to neighbors and friends in need. This black bean and sausage dish is right up her alley.


SLOW COOKER BLACK BEANS AND SAUSAGE

Ingredients

  • 2 cans of black beans (15 oz each)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen yellow corn kernels
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoom chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 pound Kielbasa sausage
  • cooked rice
  • shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

Rinse and drain 1 can of black beans, pour into slow cooker. Add second can of beans with juices into the cooker. Add the can of tomatoes with juices and the corn. Sprinkle the garlic, chili powder, and cumin over the mixture and stir gently.

Cut the sausage into chunks, and place over the bean mixture — do not stir.

Put on the lid and turn on to low for about 10 hours (or high for 3 hours).

Serve over rice and top with a cooked sausage link. Sprinkle shredded cheese on the top. Dig in!


At The Table With....Valentina Solfrini of Hortus Natural Cooking

The TBR List: June 20