~posted by Marlene H.
We’ve all heard the saying that food is love. It’s the reason that grandmothers start saying, “Eat, eat” as soon as you walk through the door.
Food is also love in romance. Culinary romances are fresh, funny, sexy and sometimes make you very, very hungry.
Two of the best known food romances are Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel and Joanne Harris’ Chocolat. (They’re well known because they’ve both been made into terrific movies). Both stories take place in a slightly magical and quasi-historical version of their respective countries; Mexico for Esquivel and France for Harris. Both are enchanting stories of the way that great food can turn a world, or just two lives, completely upside town. (The movie version of Chocolat is marvelously romantic, but has a more upbeat ending than the book) Chocolate may be the flavor that is most associated with that special combination of love and food.
Susan Mallery mixes cookery with her particular brand of small-town romance in her Bakery Sisters series. Each of the sisters has their own story; Claire in Sweet Talk, Nicole in Sweet Spot, and Jessie in Sweet Trouble. The stories revolve around the family bakery, and each sister’s return home to help run it in the midst of personal and family crises. Of course, while they’re at home, they have to manage new or returning love while fixing whatever has gone wrong with the business and their other sisters.
In addition to her culinary romance, Susan Mallery has also published a book of recipes from her long running Fool’s Gold series, The Fool’s Gold Cookbook.
There’s another popular trope, the wedding planner romance, and Nora Roberts managed a two-fer in the third book in her Bride Quartet, Savor the Moment. The series revolves around a group of friends who own a wedding planning company. In this entry, the member of the team responsible for their deliciously beautiful wedding cakes gets her chance to discover romance, something that she starts out only believing in theory. To get the full flavor of the series, start with Vision in White.
If you want something hotter and spicier in your kitchen (romance) you can’t go wrong with Lauren Dane’s Delicious series. The romance between the owner of the catering company and the bad boy rock star in Lush is “melt your ice cream” hot!
And last but not least, the winner of the cutest title ever award (at least in this genre) goes to My Give a Damn’s Busted by Carolyn Brown. This is part of her Honky Tonk series, where each successive owner of the Honky Tonk Bar & Grill falls in love and re-sells the bar. The entire series is a hoot, but this one’s title is laugh out loud funny.