The Family Business
This is a collection of murder mystery stories linked by two main characters, Poppa and the Boss and at times joined by the Senior Sleuths, Dick and Dora Zimmerman and their friend, Zero the Bookie. How they get involved is often a mystery.
Poppa is head Chef for a successful restaurant, Manhattan Shadow, owned by the Boss, a powerful mobster determined to maintain control and power in his territory.
To refuse to work for him would be considered an insult. Not a good thing for Poppa’s wellbeing.
There are silent implications if one should become disloyal. There are consequences implied one doesn’t want to experience.
In the restaurants private dining room murder is often planned for all sorts of irrational reasons that seem very rational to the Boss: including power, greed, control, revenge and of course money.
The stories Poppa could tell…and does.
But who is he telling?
That’s also part of the mystery.
Of course the Senior Sleuths and Zero know.
“He’s Head Chef at Manhattan Shadow.”
“I bet murder is on the menu.”
Such comments were often overheard when discussing plans to have dinner there.
Those making jokes had no idea how true it was.
Murder appeared with different ingredients, flavored with deadly seasonings and hard-to-swallow offerings by The Mob Boss, who found a perverse pleasure in serving it.
Many wrongly assumed Poppa was part of the criminal organization.
Life handed him an unusual opportunity he could not deny. It was a choice he made for his family and himself. Growing up poor colors one’s decisions as an adult.
Poppa was nine when he began to help his mother cook. By the age of twelve he prepared more than half the meals for his parents and two younger sisters. His mother was delighted to give up cooking. While he cooked, she read stories to his sisters and fantasized about one day writing a book for children. When she told her husband, he laughed. “Who would want to read anything you write?”
Years later he would be gone. She’d remember that ugly smirk and those nasty words, and prove him wrong. She’d write several children’s books, even one about a boy who grew up to be a successful chef.
Poppa’s success would happen through a series of unexpected circumstances. At seventeen he was offered an opportunity, the first of several to come. Opportunities he didn’t dare refuse.
“Poppa, you’re a good kid.” The man across the hall from his family had known him since he was an infant.
“I need someone to drop off and pick up papers and money for my boss. I can’t do it anymore, since my stroke. I told him he could trust you. You interested?”
It was the beginning. One word, yes, changing his circumstances forever.
“Mom, I got a job.”
She hugged him and never asked, “Doing what?” She knew her neighborhood.
She was well aware of the type of people living and working in its shadows—the barely surviving underbelly of society.
They lived in a fourth-floor walk-up, in a tenement on the lower east side of New York. It was blocks from the Williamsburg Bridge, near Delancey, Clinton and Orchard Streets. Bordered by The Henry Street Settlement, China Town and Little Italy, where much of the food, clothes and household supplies were purchased off pushcarts.
Goods sat in bins and hung from ropes stretched across the worn walkways. The vendors, most often men equally worn, had come to America in hopes of a better life. It didn’t work out that way for some.
“Here’s today’s leftovers.” Poppa’s father tossed them on to the table.
His father sold fruits and vegetables from one such pushcart. Each day he left early, coming home near sundown. Sometimes he ate with them, but more often, after he brought home the leftovers, he went out to a local bar and drank his dinner.
His mother once told him, “Poppa, he’s not a mean drunk. He’s simply disappointed with his life.”
His father dropped dead of a heart attack in the middle of Orchard Street at the age of 46. His pushcart was quickly stolen.
Poppa’s job and the money he earned was now more important than ever. Once The Mob Boss saw he was reliable, kept his mouth shut and stayed out of trouble, his earnings increased.~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And, here is a deadly delicious recipe from The Gourmet Gangster:
Chicken Piccata “Caper”
Cauliflower Rice and Fresh Italian Bread
Chicken Piccata is a classic recipe filled with an amazing lemon butter flavor. Place the Piccata over the fresh cauliflower rice (or standard rice, if you prefer) and let the sauce coat the rice for the ideal bite. Use the bread to soak up any extra sauce. The meal is the perfect complement to the crisp, clean taste of the Sauvignon Blanc.
- 4 skinless and boneless chicken breasts (The thinner the cutlet the better, as it will cook easier and more evenly. If you have thicker breasts, use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound thin/flatten out.)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- All-purpose flour, for dredging
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1/4 cup brined capers, rinsed
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- Season chicken with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour and shake off excess.
- In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add 2 pieces of chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate. Melt 2 more tablespoons butter. When butter starts again to sizzle, add the other 2 pieces of chicken and brown both sides in same manner. Remove pan from heat and add chicken to the plate.
- Into the pan add the lemon juice, stock and capers. Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Add seasoning to taste and return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove chicken to platter. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to sauce and whisk vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley.
Wine Pairing: Sauvignon Blanc.
She currently resides in Carmel, California and can be reached at: MarciagRosen@gmail.com
Books by M. Glenda Rosen (aka Marcia Rosen)
- The Gourmet Gangster, Mysteries and Menus by The Family (Marcia and Son Jory Rosen)
- The Senior Sleuths Mysteries: Dead In Seat 4-A
- The Senior Sleuths Mysteries: Dead In Bed
- The Senior Sleuths Mysteries: Dead In THAT Beach House (2020)
- Dying To Be Beautiful: Without A Head
- Dying To Be Beautiful: Fashion Queen Dying To Be Beautiful: Fake Beauty Dying To Be Beautiful: Fat Free
- My Memoir Workbook
- The Woman’s Business Therapist:Eliminate the MindBlocks & RoadBlocks to Success
Jory Rosen has been in the advertising and marketing business for over 30 years and is the owner of the J. Rosen Group, a full-service international advertising, branding and direct marketing agency.
For over two decades, Jory Rosen has set the tone for strong, innovative, and successful campaigns, while providing a flexibility and level of personal client service rarely seen in the industry has extensive experience in all areas of advertising, direct response and marketing including sales, production direct mail, email, web, TV, radio, alternative media and more. In addition, with over 150 campaigns under the belt, there is a strong track record of success.
Jory’s passions are his family, cooking and wine. Jory worked as a cooking demonstrator for many years in NYC and now takes the show on the road by doing cooking demonstrations for his kid’s schools and classrooms. He often cooks meals with his kids and loves seeing their reactions to new recipes and meals.
They live in Los Angeles, California. www.jrosengroup.com
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