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.