Hi friends! Happy May! This month, I’ve asked a few authors to help me celebrate the Romance of Food and spotlight Brenda Novak’s Juvenile Diabetes Fundraiser. You might know that instead of her usual auction, this year she has three boxed sets of original works from amazing s: Sweet Talk, a collection of Contemporary Romances; Sweet Dreams, a collection of Thrillers; and Sweet Seduction, a collection of Erotic Romances. Plus she has a yummy cookbook—Love That! Brenda Novak’s Every Occasion Cookbook—that we’ll be referencing in May posts. This has been a great gift for me, because I sought out authors who wrote about food, and found new friends and reconnected with some favorites. I really hope you enjoy the posts, and that this project will support Brenda Novak’s important work. Happy Reading, Yummy Eating. xo
Welcome back to Read-A-Romance, Penny!
Inspired by Food & Romance
The combination of romance and food is one of my favorite themes in fiction.
Cooking inspires love and vice versa. It engages the senses…fragrance, texture, visual presentation, and taste. There is no better way to show affection than a batch of freshly baked cookies, or a well-crafted dinner, or a family feast chock-full of tradition.
One of the most romantic and memorable evenings of my life took place at a restaurant in Vermont. This was probably twenty years ago, and I still remember every detail. My husband and I were seated on a porch at sunset, overlooking the Ottauquechee River. As I dined on tender greens sprinkled with flowers and fresh herbs, something extraordinary happened. A hot air balloon lifted from the neighboring field and floated down the river. It was a perfect moment. Everything about that night was romantic…the wine, the food, the sunset, the unexpected surprise, and of course my loving husband’s company.
If an author can capture that all-encompassing experience in her work, she’s captured the heart of romance.
Food is integral to my stories. My current release, APPLES SHOULD BE RED, is about an older couple preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving dinner. Food is a source of conflict and anxiety, a reflection of family tradition and character, and finally a link between two lost souls who find love again.
My upcoming novel, A TASTE OF HEAVEN, is the story of a widow who enters a cooking competition as an amateur. This book shows how food can divide, can heal, and most assuredly inspire the first spark of romantic love. A TASTE OF HEAVEN will be released summer 2015.
Here is a favorite snippet from APPLES SHOULD BE RED…
“Try it, Bev. Just one bite.”
She folded her arms across her chest. “Don’t be ridiculous. I don’t like those apples.”
“This is good. Got a nice tang to it. Come on.” He took the slice of apple and ran it along her lips.
She stopped breathing.
“Beverly Anderson, you’re not afraid of a little yellow apple, are you?”
He was so exasperating!
Tom fed her the fruit. Standing there, in the middle of the produce section of Hardin Market, Tom Jenkins fed her a piece of apple, and Bev had an inkling what Eve felt like. Seduced by a plump, juicy fruit, by the touch of his hands, sweet and tart, sour and tangy.
Questions for the Author:
Tell us about a magical moment with food:
I already described one magical moment—my birthday dinner in Vermont from years ago (see above). But I also have another one. When I was in high school, my family traveled to Switzerland. The entire experience was wonderful…we explored the mountains, the lakes, ate rich chocolate and delicious sweets. But the culinary moment that really stands out for me was my first taste of fresh peas! Up to that point of my life, I had only tasted frozen peas or the awful ones in a can. One day we had a simple lunch of steak and peas, and by God, I can still taste those peas. Fresh with salty butter. I had no idea that a vegetable could taste that good, so sweet and delicious. I was in heaven! And I am still addicted to fresh peas—they’re a staple in my vegetable garden every year.
If I were stuck on a desert island and could only eat one meal every day…
…it would be panzanella! It’s one of my all-time favorite meals, and the perfect way to enjoy the bounty of your summer garden. Panzanella is bread salad…you either grill or bake cubes of crusty bread, then toss them with good olive oil and vinegar, fresh basil, cucumbers, and tomatoes. I also add fresh mozzarella on occasion. Delizioso!
What is your favorite restaurant in the world?
Hands down, Morimoto Restaurant in Napa, California. I had the most amazing meal of my life there with good friend and author Julia Barrett. Every dish was exquisite, colorful, brilliant. And Julia and I had such a wonderful evening, enjoying fabulous cocktails and truly inspired dishes.
Speaking of Julia Barrett, she wrote one of my favorite foodie books, BEAUTY AND THE FEAST. It’s about a caterer who lives in Napa, California. The sensuality of the setting jumps off the page, and the recipes she includes are fantastic.
I also adore Laura Florand’s Chocolate Series. I still remember the exquisite descriptions of the artisanal chocolates in THE CHOCOLATE THIEF. Laura’s writing is so lush and delicious, her books are a joy to read.
Penny is generously giving away a copy of Apples Should be Red plus a little food-themed swag. Enter through the rafflecopter form below before June 1.
PENNY WATSON is a native Pittsburgher whose love of romance started at the age of twelve when she discovered Gone With The Wind in the middle school library. This resulted in numerous attempts at a first novel involving a young lady with windswept hair who lived in a tree house.
A biologist by training, Penny has worked at various times as a dolphin trainer, science teacher, florist, and turfgrass researcher. After taking time off to raise her two spirited children, she decided to rekindle her passion for storytelling. Now she gets to incorporate her wide array of interests—including gardening, cooking, and travel—into her works of fiction. Penny lives outside of Boston with one fly-fishing crazed husband, two lively Filipino kids, and a wiener dog.
Please visit Penny at www.pennyromance.com.