Cynthia Briggs, author of Pork Chops & Applesauce, launches her blog tour!

Monday, September 16, 2013
& giveaway contest!

Pork Chops & Applesauce: A Collection of Recipes and Reflections is about much more than an irresistible recipe for apple dumplings. It also tells the stories that make the recipes special even beyond how they taste…the cake that was made when a son returned from war, the lemonade  that led to a successful lemonade stand, the cookies that were a little boy’s favorite. Perhaps the best thing about this cookbook is that it will start you thinking about the stories behind your family’s favorite recipes. What better way to tell a family’s story than by punctuating it with the thing we all share: food. This is an unusual cookbook that won’t just make you head for the kitchen; it will also make you laugh and cry.

Paperback: 193 pages
Publisher: Author House (July 14, 2004)
ISBN-10: 1403381658
ISBN-13: 978-1403381651
Twitter hashtag: #CynthiaCooks

Pork Chops & Applesauce: A Collections of Recipes and Reflections is available as a print book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and IndieBound.

Book Giveaway Contest:
To win a copy of Pork Chops & Applesauce: A Collection of Recipes and Reflections, please enter using the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post. The giveaway contest closes this Friday, September 20 at 12:00 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

About the Author:

Cynthia Briggs, also known as the “Apple Queen,” has had a life-long enthusiasm for mastering the art of cooking and baking. Inspired by women of kindred spirits, she believes through sharing our recipes and food we engage in an ongoing connection with others, weaving unique bonds we carry with us through our lives.

A food columnist, Cynthia’s popular newspaper food columns (over 200 of them) have appeared in various publications since 1999. Her work has also appeared in New Mexico Magazine, New Mexico Woman, and Funds for Writers, as well as several Chicken Soup books. She has talked "food, writing and techniques for living a more gratifying life" on radio and TV, at rotary clubs and women's associations, and at schools and universities.

Cynthia was born in eastern Oregon where she lived near her grandparents' farm. Later she raised her own children on a small farm in western Washington where she experienced daily "mis-adventures" of family life in the country, which she often writes about in her books, stories and columns. Her young family inherited nine well-established, and prolific apple trees with their farm leading to Cynthia’s royal nickname. She later moved to New Mexico where she mastered something new: peppers and southwestern cooking.

Find out more about the author by visiting her online:

Cynthia Briggs’ website:

Cynthia Briggs blog:

Twitter: @CynthiaCooks

-----Interview by Jodi Webb

WOW: I popped over to Amazon and a search for cookbooks came up with 100,242. That is a lot of books to choose from. How do you make your book stand out from the crowd?

Cynthia: The double genre, memoir and cookbook, is what makes Pork Chops & Applesauce appealing; some readers like the stories, others are drawn to the recipes and there are those who enjoy its combined elements. The stories are nostalgic and the recipes vintage so it speaks to all our roots whether we hark from Seattle, Dallas or New York City.

It also takes readers on a journey to small town, Middle America where it feels like home. This applies even if we were raised in a high-rise in Chicago or perhaps even more so because we grew up in the heart of a large city. People long to visit the past because it is grounding. I am not saying they want to move back in time and stay but it is settling to visit and retrace our steps.

Recently, I have noticed a new trend with young adults who are interested in what we were doing "back then" and Pork Chops fills that particular gap for the younger generation. Pork Chops is like spending the day at the County Fair with an iPhone in your hand; you get the best of yesterday and today. I like to think Pork Chops brings people back to a reminiscent time of shared values and life experiences with recipes from the 60s, 70s and 80s as an added bonus.

WOW: Why did you choose to write essays to accompany your recipes? Do all your cookbooks have the accompanying story element?

Cynthia: With me, wherever you find a story a recipe is not far away. For example, 'Summer and Blueberries Go Hand-in-Hand,' tells of going to pick blueberries for putting in the freezer for the winter. Soon upon arriving at the blueberry patch, we encountered a huge snake. We fled the blueberry patch screaming with barely enough berries to make Summertime Blueberry Salad.

Pork Chops & Applesauce is not just a cookbook. In fact, the stories draw readers more than the recipes, and some publishers consider it a "gift" book rather than a cookbook. Events and food usually go hand-in-hand when living in a farm environment so the arrangement of a story accompanied by a recipe fell into place for me.

Although Pork Chops is my only book where the recipes tie into a story, the nostalgic food columns I wrote for newspapers in past years had the same format, and my blog has a Stories category with this format.

WOW: How does creating a cookbook/essay book work? Do you come up with stories first and then find recipes to complement them or do you come up with a list of recipes and then write stories to complement them?

Cynthia: Combining a cookbook with personal essays has worked well for me. It surprises people to see stories and recipes in the book. Even though I tell them it is a cookbook with stories, they frequently do not realize what I am saying until they open the book and see for themselves. Then they say, "There are stories in here too!" When they make this discovery on their own, they generally ask me to sign the book so they can purchase it.

I like to tell the story of an elderly woman at an outdoor fair that purchased 18 copies of Pork Chops & Applesauce largely because of the discovery element in the book. In one story, I asked 'Do you remember the day your husband proposed marriage'? That simple question grabbed her heart. She told me a heartfelt tale of her husband proposing to her in one of the many love letters they exchanged during World War II. It was clear she was still deeply in love with him even though he had long been deceased. She bought a copy of Pork Chops for everyone in her family to remind them of the long, happy and devoted life they shared.

I always come up with the story first and then I match it with a recipe. Many of my recipes have an adventure attached to them so I have an automatic fit.  The recipes are a mix and match of family, friends, recipes from very old cookbooks and my own renditions. Most recipes are mine and some originally came from someone else but they have my spin on them. There are a few recipes I thought were mine until I got deep into writing Pork Chops; I was surprised they originated from someone else's kitchen with nary one ingredient change. Those required citing and written permission.

WOW: What a sweet story about the World War II bride. When I read your book the story about cooking for your mother-in-law rang a bell with me. Except it was the first time I made supper for my soon-to-be husband. Things did NOT go well. But he married me anyway! We all cook (with varying degrees of success). Because it's such a universal action do you find you have a lot of contact with readers?

Cynthia: People love to share their recipes and stories. I used to participate in arts and craft shows where numerous passersby had a story to share. They love telling about their grandpa instructing them on how to organize a tool shed or about gathering eggs for Grandmother so she could bake their birthday cake. My readers frequently send me recipes, sometimes with a brief attached story. ASK CYNTHIA A QUESTION is a feature on my blog that generates inquires and questions.

WOW: Do you do any type of writing aside from cookbooks?

Cynthia: Maintaining my blog and website keeps me in the cooking and story-writing genre. Memoir is my first love so to speak because with reminiscing I can go back and touch my childhood, or my children's, and then go digging for old tried-and-true recipes that we all relished in preparing and sharing. It is a lovely place for me to visit, but in reality, there are other things to write.

My personal essays overflow into writing for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. By this fall I will be in seven of their books. Last year Woman's World Magazine published one of my stories. I have written book reviews and been published in numerous on-line e-zines like Funds for Writers, The Nest and Cincinnati Coupons. I teach memoir writing and how-to-get-published classes; I enjoy coaching budding writers. Variety in writing is my spice in life.

WOW: Tell us how your writing first began.

Cynthia: It began with seeing a toy typewriter in a store window when I was 8-years old. I interviewed people to get the neighborhood scoop for my Chicago Kid News and set-up a newspaper operation in the sunroom of our second story apartment. I told Mom I needed the toy typewriter so my stories could roll off the press. The typewriter showed up just in time as a birthday gift but the newspaper business was short-lived because soon after getting the typewriter we moved back to Oregon. I typed on the toy typewriter until it literally fell apart.

My writing went on the back burner for many years while I raised my family. In 1999, I started writing a nostalgic food column (a story with an accompanying recipe) for a newspaper in South Seattle and I have been writing ever since.

WOW: Many cookbooks are self-published. How did your recipes go from the kitchen to publication?

Cynthia: Pork Chops was self-published out of necessity. I found a literary agent who loved my writing and my creative bent but she wanted me to write something very different from what I loved writing about most: cooking, baking, family and friends. I probably threw good sense to the wind when I followed my heart to self-publish Pork Chops & Applesauce but I've never regretted my decision.

WOW: What are you working on now?

Cynthia: Maintaining my website, blog and newsletter keeps me hopping. In recent years, my goal has been to submit more articles to magazines, which gives me a variety of subjects to play with. I am always submitting stories to the Chicken Soup for the Soul folks. My biggest challenge right now is getting a mini-mystery (yes, it is fiction) published in Woman's World Magazine. I have had two mini-mysteries rejected, but that is OK because I write for the journey and the destination.

WOW: I think I may have to post that quote above my desk “I write for the journey and the destination.” Make sure you keep us updated on your mystery career and we’ll let you know how we do trying your recipes!

----------Blog Tour Dates

Monday, September 16(today!) @ The Muffin
Stop by for an interview with Cynthia Briggs and a chance to win Pork Chops & Applesauce and put some kick back into your cooking!

Tuesday, September 17 @ Rural Moms
Do you want a recipe that shouts "time for autumn"? Stop by for Autumn Apple Dumplings, just one of the many recipes in Cindy Briggs' book Pork Chops & Applesauce.

Thursday, September 19 @ Cmash Reads
Think you're the only one who has had disasters in the kitchen? Cynthia Briggs, food columnist and author of Pork Chops and Applesauce stops by to share a few of her crazy kitchen mishaps.

Tuesday, September 24 @ Shockingly Delicious
Don't miss a chance to win a copy of Cynthia Briggs' Pork Chops and Applesauce. Shockingly Delicious will also feature one of Cynthia's recipes.

Wednesday, September 25 @ Thoughts in Progress
Stop by to learn more about Cynthia Briggs and her cookbook perfect for the fall season: Pork Chops and Applesauce.

Thursday, September 26 @ Kaisy Daisy’s Corner
Apples, apples and more apples! Read a review of Cynthia Briggs' cookbook Pork Chops and Applesauce and enter to win a copy.

Friday, September 27 @ Read These Books and Use Them!
Want to spend quality time with your kids? Cynthia Briggs give some tips on cooking with your kids and the opportunity to win Pork Chops and Applesauce.

Wednesday, October 2 @ Words by Webb
Don't miss a review of Pork Chops & Applesauce and Jodi’s pick for recipes perfect for bake sales and other events with your children.

Monday, October 7 @ Mrs. Mommy Book Nerd
Stop by for a chance to win a copy of Cynthia Briggs' cookbook Pork Chops & Applesauce. You'll find some great recipes for your holiday get togethers.

To view all our touring authors, check out our Events Calendar. Keep up with blog stops and giveaways in real time by following us on Twitter @WOWBlogTour.

Get Involved!
If you have a website or blog and would like to host one of our touring authors or schedule a tour of your own, please email us at

Book Giveaway Contest:
Enter to win a copy of Pork Chops & Applesauce by food columnist, Cynthia Briggs! Fill out the Rafflecopter form below and/or leave a comment. We will announce the winner this Friday, September 20th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!


Unknown said...

Some of my favorite authors and reads are foody books that combine personal stories with them. I'm looking forward to checking this one out!

Angela Mackintosh said...

Great interview, ladies! I'm with Julie. I love recipes combined with personal stories. It makes the recipe that much more special. :) This sounds like a great gift book! I love comfort food, and it's making me hungry!

Margo Dill said...

I am super excited to be on this tour! Wait until my day on my blog--she wrote an amazing post about cooking with your kids! :)

Pat W Coffey said...

I grew up in a family where food was an art and eating together was a show of love. I still believe my dining room table is the most important piece of furniture in my home. Meals are a gathering. Thanks writing the story about food.

calvad said...

I collect cookbooks all the time and just love to read them for ideas! Thanks for the chance!

Linda Kish said...

My favorite recipes are some that my mom had before I was born. Simple but still my favs.

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