Wednesday, July 11, 2007

What's Cooking?

Despite the large number of cookbooks on my shelves, I’m not much inspired to cook these days. I’m just as happy to spend $2.19 on a Lean Cuisine. I’m lucky that my husband gets home before I do during the school year, so I usually walk in to a hug and a hot meal. It’s been a treat to have been on vacation the past week and have someone else labor in the kitchen. During the Avon contest, I was so obsessed I actually forgot to eat and I lost ten pounds. Bonus! When’s the next one?

Food and drink often play prominent roles in books and on screen. Say the words Tom Jones and I immediately remember the decadent eating scene. In books, couples are always hie-ing off on a picnic and coupling. Under the Tuscan Sun (the book by Frances Mayes, not the very pleasant movie) was a delicious tribute to Italy’s cuisine. Peter Mayle does an excellent job transplanting me to France, too. I’m getting hungry just thinking about them.

Writers are always encouraged to address the five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell and yum, taste. Here’s a great paragraph from Laura Lee Guhrke’s And Then He Kissed Her. The heroine is being kissed “in the half-light and shadows.”

She closed her eyes, and her other senses bloomed with a vivid clarity they had never possessed before. The masculine, earthy scent of him. The callus on his palm where his hand cupped her cheek. The taste of his mouth as he parted her lips with his. The sound of what could only be her own heart, beating like the rapid wings of a bird as it soared upward toward the heavens.


What have you read lately that engaged all your senses? What’s your favorite cookbook? I rely on my stained standard Fanny Farmer, but do enjoy Paula Deen, too, y’all.

And speaking of food, Stephanie is going to be drooling as she reads her issues of Tea Time with her little Maine snack. E-mail me your address at and once I unpack, I'll be sending the prizes right out to you!


Terri Osburn said...

I was going to say I do not own a cookbook (which is amazing since I don't know anything about cooking) but then I remembered the one stuck in my kitchen drawer. It's from a Catholic church in Arkansas. I should probably dig that out. I loved that scene in And Then He Kissed Her but I loved every scene in that book. Can we say chocolates?!

Since the hero in my WIP is a cook, I have plans for the beginning of a love scene to start in the kitchen of course. Only it will be the heroine watching him work and getting turned on by his movements, his hands, his lips as he tastes the food. That's the plan anyway. We'll see if I can pull it off. *g*

Tiffany Clare said...

welcome back Maggie! hope the trip was awesome.

We have a family cook in family recipes printed and published a la spiral binding with family recipes....this could have something to do with the few hundred people that make up my 'close' knit family...

Stephanie J said...

Cooking...not so much my thing. Now *baking*--well that's a different story! I love baking things. And if I can somehow bake dinner, I feel better about that than cooking. A great cookbook is The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. I've made some several things from there and they're so good. Plus it's a really interesting cookbook because of all the tips and techniques.

Food in novels...oddly not something I notice that much when it comes to the food itself. I pay more attention to whether the setting is related to food. A kitchen, a restaurant, a picnic... It's all about setting involving food. Hmm, does that make sense?

Terrio...I love your concept. It sounds so sensual and fabulous!

Terri Osburn said...

Thank you, Steph. I'm thinking it's going to be very fun to write. I'm really hoping I can translate the energy and the attraction through the scene.

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

Terri, the best cookbooks are those church basement ones. I too am hot for a hero that cooks!

Tiff, my youngest asked for my "family recipes" for Christmas but she didn't get them...I just usually throw stuff together! The trip was fun, but kind of like going from the fying pan to the fire...118 degrees.

Steph, I envy the baking skills. Can I say my pie crust tastes like cardboard? God bless Pillsbury pie crusts or Thanksgiving wouldn't happen here.

Atherley said...

Maggie, welcome back! It's good to see you getting right down to business, ;) I was raised on that Fanny Farmer cookbook, but, sad to say, I don't own one. (Familiarity breeds contempt? LOL)

Brava, Stephanie! Enjoy that little Maine snack!

Terrio, I once worked with a young man who said he was from the CIA. Though we thought the admission a little odd (no real CIA agent admits affiliation), we paid no mind. After all, this is a garrison area, with myriads of contractors and military specialists, so anything is possible. Then came somebody's birthday. Our CIA man brought in a massive, to-die-for chocolate cake that he himself got up to make extremely early in the morning. Of course we asked him where he learned to make such a masterpiece! His answer? The Culinary Institute of America. That's right. The CIA!

Then there was another formally trained chef (a school in Rhode Island, I recall) who brought in a convection oven to make his special stew and blew the fuses.
We all had to traipse out in a thunderstorm for lunch that day, LOL!

I'm not into food myself, but when my oven cooperates, I'm pretty good with quiches and madeleines!