When I wrote The Devil Drinks Coffee, I tried to make it recognizable for any small town, but particularly, small towns in Utah.
That said, there were a few things I took from my own small town Utah experience growing up. I based some things in the book on those experiences. I thought you might want to see what they are...and I even took pictures!
In The Devil Drinks Coffee, there's an old sheet metal plant that's often vandalized with Welcome Home messages to Mormon missionaries. Near the town I grew up, there's an old cement factory that's used for the same purposes. Though I never painted the cement factory (my dad threatened to let me sit in jail all night if I was caught), I had many friends who did.
Kate says one of her main reasons for moving back to Branson Falls is the doughnuts from the local bakery. These are the doughnuts they're based on, though they're actually from a grocery store. In fact, one of my beta readers who also grew up in my hometown read the description in Devil and knew exactly which doughnuts I was talking about! They're fantastic!
Kate also loves the gooey, cheesy, breadsticks from Sticks and Pie. These are the real breadsticks, and they're AMAZING!!!
Chelsea's body is found at Emerald Lake. The layout of the park is based on a park in my hometown, though the real park is next to a river, not a lake. I used to go there a lot during high school to read and write. I loved sitting at the tables next to the river, and thinking about my next story.
Kate's mom makes funeral potatoes for the Bradford family after Chelsea's death. Though funeral potatoes come with a wide variety of toppings including potato chips, cheese, bread crumbs, cornflakes, and even other cereal, Sophie Saxee makes hers topped with Cheetos. My mom was nice enough to concoct a recipe for me, and even bake it for Sunday dinner. Everyone who tasted her recipe loved it. She told me I could include the recipe below. Though, if you try it, be warned: it's a heart attack in a casserole dish. I have yet to attempt it.
Heart Stopping Cheetos Funeral Potatoes
1 pound of bacon, cut in small pieces
2 stalks celery chopped small
8 cups fresh potatoes, boil them, cool and shred them*
4 large green onions, chopped
¾ teaspoon seasoning salt
¼+ teaspoon pepper
2 cups heavy whipping cream (No substitutes)
6-8 tablespoons real butter, cut into slices
1 1/2 cups crispy Cheetos, chopped
1-2 cups shredded sharp cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel, boil, cool, and shred potatoes.* Set the potatoes to the side.
Cut bacon into small slices and then fry bacon in pan until almost crisp and add celery. Cook celery with bacon until bacon is crisp. Pour off grease.
Put shredded potatoes, green onions, celery and seasonings in large bowl. Add bacon and celery mixture. Add cream and gently mix until evenly distributed.
Carefully pour potato mixture in 9x13 glass pan and place butter slices on top. Put tin foil over glass pan.
Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. While baking, finely chop the Cheetos into small pieces. You should have approximately 1-1 ½ cups of chopped Cheetos to put on top of the taters. Shred the sharp cheese. Set the Cheetos and cheese to the side.
When taters have cooked for 45 minutes, open oven and take off the tinfoil. Cover taters with shredded cheese and then sprinkle chopped Cheetos® over the top. Bake for an additional 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.