By: Sharon Aron Baron
Coral Springs resident Debbie Lehner Rosenberg released her debut novel Food Baby, and it’s a fun journey through food, marital deception — and more food.
Taking place in South Florida, the story follows protagonist Wendy Katz and her husband and two children who have just moved from New York City. Their small townhome is cramped, but she’s dreaming about the new home they are building in “Banyan Bay.”
Asking the question as to why an intelligent, creative woman could be so blind to her husband’s deception, the story may be familiar to those who have asked themselves this same question in retrospect.
Readers who are familiar with the Coral Springs area can imagine the familiar settings — including names like “The Freezer” as her fictional ice skating rink.
Could it be the Panthers IceDen?
Rosenberg confirms the rink with the various types of skating moms – including those who tried to recruit Wendy Katz to join their multi-level marketing scheme is based on the real Coral Springs location.
“Just the rink,” she said. “All the moms were fictional.”
The new home community that Wendy Katz had a contract on was called Banyan Bay. One could only imagine if it was Heron Bay or the new Parkland Bay community. Rosenberg said this, along with other neighborhoods were an amalgamation of those around town.
Since her children went to public school, a lot of the prep school references were born out of her imagination.
“I did attend the Food and Wine Festival in Las Olas with my husband for research purposes,” she added. “The temperature was hot and humid, the food delicious, the galleries cool and wonderful.”
Rosenberg holds a bachelor of arts in English from SUNYBinghamton, however, has no formal creative writing training. She began writing novels shortly after they settled in Florida over 25 years ago and spent the last five years writing and revising Food Baby. Getting a book published has been a dream of hers for as long as she could remember.
“Three unpublished manuscripts will most likely never see the light of day,” she said.
Both she and her husband Nathan uprooted their children from New York to join family who had already moved to Florida and have lived in Coral Springs ever since.
Their children attended Coral Springs Charter School, and both earned their degrees from UCF. Zach, their oldest, is an attorney and works in Ft. Lauderdale. Their daughter, Julia, moved to New York, where she works for a casting director.
The story is full of delicious descriptions of food Wendy Katz is making. Rosenberg herself started baking at an early age, although she said her efforts weren’t always successful.
“I clearly remember my grandfather nearly breaking his teeth on a rosewater cookie experiment. “
Her mother was an incredible cook, and dinner parties and family holidays were an important part of her life. At some point in her grown-up life, Rosenberg discovered the word, foodie.
“I think I always was one,” she said. “There just wasn’t a name for it.”
Next up for Rosenberg is a book she is collaborating on with her daughter whose millennial perspective is “invaluable” she said.
Food Baby, published by The Wild Rose Press, is now available in paperback and digital formats on Amazon and other online retailers.