Food and Romance by Shelley Munro

Food reality shows have hit New Zealand recently. We’re all watching and discussing our local version of Master Chef and most of us have firm opinions about New Zealand’s Hottest Home Baker and who should win. Of the two shows, my favorite is the Hottest Home Baker. I have great memories of baking as a child. My brother, sister and I would all pick one recipe from the cookbook and bake during the weekend to fill the tins for the coming week. I still enjoy baking and have downloaded several of the recipes the entrants have made on the show. Last weekend I made some Date and Orange scones. Delicious!

Watching the reality shows made me realize how much I enjoy romances set in the food industry. It’s a subject that’s been on my mind recently as I start to plan a new contemporary series. I’m thinking that my heroine will be a part-owner of a restaurant. It’s a setting I’m comfortable with and actually know a little about because I’ve worked in pub restaurants and in the fast food industry. I also like to eat, which is a qualification in itself.

Food brings all sorts of exciting possibilities to a romance. It’s a big part of our everyday lives and most of us have a love/hate relationship with the stuff. Food is a memory trigger and specific foods make us think of Christmas, birthdays and other special occasions. We eat food during celebrations and sometimes we overeat when we’re feeling down. Courting couples go on dates and eat while they get to know each other. Food can be intimate and part of risqué love scenes—imagine champagne, chocolate and strawberries—and of course, food can be part of a book’s setting.

I’ve used a café called Storm in a Teacup as part of the setting in my Middlemarch books. Other romances with food as the theme/setting include Louisa Edwards’ A Recipe for Love series. I’ve just started reading Can’t Stand the Heat, the first book in the series. I’m enjoying it very much, especially the way Louisa incorporates food references and uses them to help portray emotions.

Here’s one example – She looked pretty and owlish, confusion softening the hard line of her mouth; too damned intriguing. Anger and attraction coiled in his belly, a pleasantly unsettling mix. Like what happened when he added a splash of lemon juice to a rich cream sauce.

The hero Adam sums up my feelings about food well when he says, “Food is personal. It should be personal. Dining is an intimate experience…”

Here are some other food related books for you to check out:

The Culinary mystery series featuring Goldie caterer and amateur sleuth by Diane Mott Davidson.

All U Can Eat – heroine runs a diner – by Emma Holly.

Let’s Dish – the heroine owns a coffee shop –by Catherine Wade.

Glutton for Pleasure – the heroine is a chef—by Alisha Rai.

Delicious – A Cinderella story with a compelling culinary twist – by Sherry Thomas.

Delicious – the hero is a chef – by Shayla Black.

Thanks for having me to visit today, Leah!

Do you enjoy food-themed romances or sexy scenes featuring food? Do you have any favorites? Shelley is giving away a copy of any of her backlist from either her Ellora’s Cave or Cerridwen books (winner’s choice). But you have to leave a comment telling her about whether you find food sexy.

Shelley Munro lives in New Zealand and writes contemporary and paranormal romance for Samhain Publishing and Ellora’s Cave. Her next release is a contemporary called The Bottom Line, which is due out at Samhain Publishing on April 27 2010.

You can visit Shelley at or follow Shelley on Twitter.

Shelley Munro’s Romancing Food
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17 thoughts on “Shelley Munro’s Romancing Food

  • March 24, 2010 at 8:47 am

    This is a visually appealing blog, Leah.

    Recently I've become addicted to certain shows on the food network.

    I think food can be a sensual part of a scene or story. I even have a short food scene in my sci-fi rom.

    Interesting post, Shelley

  • March 24, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Great post! I do think food can add something to a sexy scene. It has to be the right food, though 🙂 Love the cover for The Bottom Line.

  • March 24, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Food can definitely be sexy! There are so many tastes and textures to food. And we have so many memories and emotions that can be tied to food or evoked by food. Romance novels are a great way to bring some of those emotions out.

  • March 24, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Food can be such a sensual experience with all the different textures and tastes plus the visual appeal.

    Kaye – what sort of food did you have in your sci-fi? Foods we would recognize or something made-up?

  • March 24, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Chandra – thanks. I adore this cover too. Scott Carpenter did this one.

  • March 24, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Sharon – that's a great point about emotions being tied into food. Things like cabbage and brussel sprouts definitely aren't sexy and they bring horrid memories from childhood – as in being forced to eat them. LOL – I actually said to my husband the other day, "I'm an adult now, and I don't have to eat food that I don't like!"

  • March 24, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    I get to beta read Louisa Edward's books so I have to say I love them a lot. I always end up hungry though!
    Your series idea sounds great!

  • March 24, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    I think food is sexy . I love Diane Mott Davidsons series.

  • March 24, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    I think food can be sexy in books. I agree with you that as an adult, we don't have to eat the yucky foods from childhood.
    I like Shayla Black's sexy chef.

  • March 24, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    Is food sexy?

    Heck yeah! I don't know if you've ever seen the US food show "Cooking with the Neeley's". Its a married couple who cook different recipes, sometimes for their families, sometimes for friends, sometimes just for themselves. But throughout it all you can see the romance and foreplay between them. It is OH SO HOT!!!!

  • March 24, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    I think food can be very sexy if its written right!

  • March 24, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    Food can definitely be sexy! I think it's one of life's great pleasures, and involves so many of the senses. Excellent food can be stimulating in some of the same ways that other sensual activities are 🙂 And enjoying and watching someone else enjoy food can be a very sexy experience.

  • March 24, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    KS – no, I haven't seen that show, but it sounds like a great idea.

    Fedora – I agree. Watching someone enjoy their food can be very sexy.

  • March 24, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    Kate – I'm not surprised you feel hungry after reading Louisa's books. The chefs are very sexy too!

  • March 25, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    Shelley, you are so amazingly prolific! I love the cover for The Bottom Line!

    As for whether food can be sexy…absolutely! In my winter-themed WIP, the h/h have some fun with hot chocolate… 😉

  • March 25, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    With the right characters and the right food, sexy scenes can be hot or funny or a combination. If it's well written I love sexy scenes with food in them.

  • March 29, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Anyone who has ever watched the movie 9 1/2 weeks could never deny that food can be a sexy and sensual experience. Anything that encompasses all of the senses only heightens the awareness of feeling.

    I love to cook and so does my husband and we enjoy that experience of cooking together. I think the way a person cooks says a lot about them. I love it when books show that side of a character or when the story includes cooking as part of their interactions with each other.

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