Thursday, February 26, 2009

Eat It Up, Yum

So, the emails I love usually start in earnest with something like this and are responsible for hipping me to more great new books than any publicists or agents:

Ms. Buonfiglio: My friend, Remarkable Author Whom You’ve Featured (RAWYF), mentioned I should send you a copy of my upcoming release, and that you might kindly receive it. It’s my first, and if you could find some time to take a look at it, that’d be really nice of you.

RAWYF, generally is a RA. It's one of the funnest parts of what I do, getting to write about great new authors. So, when Miranda Neville* wrote and sent me a copy of her, em, delicious, new romance, "Never Resist Temptation," I gave it a gander.

Now, once I read an online -- well, let's call her a 'reviewer,' since that's what she called
herself -- reviewer state that she automatically graded down to a "B," any romances that took place aboard ship. It's good to develop some kind of ethics and stick to 'em, I always say. But the reason this chick comes to mind is because I'm not without prejudice when I read. For instance, nothing makes my ocular cavities hemorrhage faster than romance back copy or promo that alludes to cookin' heroines, bakin' heroines, heroines who are "as good in the kitchen as they are in the boudoir," or promises, Gawd forbid, recipes I can try at home.

Why? Because I suck in the kitchen, and feel damned inadequate because of it. Some women resent 'perfectly beautiful" heroines? I feel I can't measure up to the one who tempts a man with her mouthwatering morsels. But I'm adult enough -- and know enough places from which to buy good prepared gourmet -- that I can overlook an author's misguided perception that there are more ways to a hero's heart than through his need for rollicking virgin deflowerment.

Because I'm generous like that, you can understand why I adored "Never Resist Temptation," and hope you'll check it out, too. It's got that fab romance convention, the 'heroine who's virtue is wagered in a card game by her unseemly, scheming uncle," followed by the much-loved-by-this-columnist "tied-in-knots hero who wins a winsome virgin in a card game and plans to use her to wreck revenge but finds himself thwarted at every turn of the author's dab hand at disguising emotions, tempting lovers with forbidden, sometimes crossed-dressed delights and using characters' deepest desires to move them toward giving up dreams and grasping at desires that may lead them toward untold sensual fulfillment."

And it's got some damned fine scenes involving food, the creating of, and how enjoying it can act as a metaphor for, as they say, "eating life."

So, Buy the Book. Then click here to dine on this: the list of randomly selected winners for past RBTB contests.

How do you feel about romances with characters who are chefs, etc., and that have food themes? What are some of your favorites? What are some of your fave movies with the same themes? And, who're your fave celebrity chefs?

*Visit Miranda today at
(and say hi to Bella Manda & Pals)
Congratulazione to our very own Bella Marilyn (aka Playground Monitor) who yesterday typed “The End” of her first full-length novel! We cannot wait to read the published version, Play!
GuestBlogs to Be: Friday 27: Karen Anders; March 2: Caroline Linden; 11: Megan Hart: 31: Jenna Petersen; 4.15: "Midnight Cravings" authors.
AUTHORS: Donate an item for the high-visibility "RBTB & Friends" page in Brenda Novak's Online Auction for Diabetes! Write Michelle @ to donate! PLEASE STEP UP TO THE PLATE! Suggestions: Lunch or dinner w/you in your hometown area or at RWA/RT, etc.; character in your novel named after winning bidder; personalized books; guest blog on your site; crafts/services made/offered by you; book gift cards...
Sign up in the sidebar for the NEW RBTB newsletter by 2.28 for a chance 2 win a $25 Borders card!
Authors: Wanna be a FOB? Link RBTB from your site/blog and send me your url @ I'll link you up on the Friends of Bellas page!


EmilyBryan said...

The obvious choice for food-porn is Sherry Thomas's delectable DELICIOUS! Like you, I'm cooking-impaired, but her lucious story made me wish I wasn't.

Maureen said...

If I never had to cook again it would be fine with me but since that's not happening anytime soon I try to find easy, healthy recipes that everyone in the family enjoys. I do like books with cooking involved. Susan Mallery wrote a great series around a bakery and if I'm reading about food I'd prefer it to be about the best foods, desserts.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the kind words Bella Michelle. DELICIOUS is great.

Kati said...

Just Desserts by Nora Roberts comes to mind as a book about a chef. It was one of her early Silhouettes that I haven't re-read in quite some time, so perhaps it doesn't stand the test of time.

My roommate is totally addicted to the Food Network, or as I like to call it the food porn channel. Nigela comes immediately to mind. I never watch, but when I do, I seem to be most mesmerized by Paula Dean. I marvel at the fact that she hasn't keeled over from a heart attack considering that every recipe she cooks starts with a pound of butter and a cup of heavy cream.

As far as food in books, um, Sam and Alyssa and the chocolate sauce springs immediately to mind. :evilgrin:

Estella said...

I enjoy an occasional story with a chef as the heroine.
I don't watch TV, so don't know any celebrity chefs.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Buona sera, Bellas! Thanks for stopping by, Miranda! I just loved this book and, interestingly enough, thought of 'Delicious' when I read the back copy. But truly, while both books are marvelous -- and Sherry Thomas won an RBTB Year's Best Award for her debut -- yours and her book stand alone and apart on their individual stories and general fabulousness (a word if I say it is). :)

I'm very much looking forward to your next novel, Miranda. so, as they say, 'write fast."

Maureen, I got burnt out on cooking when my kids were both small and neither would eat the same thing, and they ate at a different time from when Male Perspective Guy got home. Enough was enough. Although I did make a special Italian soup the other night. I'm still resting.

Ah, food-porn, a new sub-genre. I love it, Emily!

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Em, Kati, who are thees Sahm and Ahleesah of which you speak? i do not recall your mentioning them. Are they from that book, "The Flower of the Breeze?"

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

I don't do much tv either, estella. It makes me nervous, so I have tothen lay down and read a romance. But I have watched Giada on Food Network. Ok I wish I were her. There, I sed it. I like the way she cooks, I like the way she looks, she keeps a nice, clean kitchen (the mantra (clean as you go was drummed into me as a kid), so,yeah, I wanna be Giada.

Anonymous said...

Yay PM Marilyn for finishing the book!

My fave food scene is Jennie Cruise's Bet Me where Cal feeds Min the doughnut. Mmm, doughnut...

Jane said...

Congrats to Marilyn for finishing her book.

Ooh, I can't wait to read "Never Resist Temptation." My favorite books featuring cooking/baking are Laura Lee Guhrke's "Secret Desires of a Gentleman" and Marianne Stilling's "Satisfaction."

Martha Eskuchen said...

Miranda’s book sounds like just my cup of tea - so to speak! I am not a cook as God blessed me with a husband who cooks. I have read some cooking mysteries by Diane Mott Davidson starring caterer Goldy Bear. They are cute. My favorite cooking movies would be No Reservations (Catherine Zeta Jones and Aaron Eckhart (yum) ) and of course Ratatouille! Favorite cooking show/chefs are Emeril (“BAMM” as my 4 year old grandson says!) and Rachael Ray.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Martha, my son loved Emeril at that age, too! His preschool teachers gave him Emeril's kids' cookbook and kitchen utensils for his birthday that year. :) My husband (Male Perspective Guy) just watched NR, and I made fun of him.

Jane, loved Secret Desires.

Forgot about that scene, jessa. d'oh!

Playground Monitor said...

Ohmygoodnessgracious! What a surprise to see my little accomplishment on the blog. As Brenda Lee Johnson of "The Closer" would say, "Thank you. Thank you so much." If/When the published version of my book comes out, you, dear Bella, will be amongst the first to hear.

I've been gone most of today, first at lunch with my Red Hat ladies and then having a pedicure to reward myself for finishing the book. And then I met old friends at a burger place that was donating 15% of tonight's take for their friend's mission trip to Rwanda.

Roxanne St. Claire's TAKE ME TONIGHT has a Bullet Catcher hero who likes to cook and the things he does with cannoli filling...

Playground Monitor said...

I forgot to mention the book I'm holding in the photo is "Eat Dessert First" which is a Red Hat Society cookbook. I submitted a crispy oatmeal cookie recipe that made its way into the book. The local paper did a little interview with me and sent the nicest papparazzi to take my picture.

Santa said...

Love! Love! Love! food themed, well, anything. I can't help it. My family runs a gourmet Italian deli. My parents' care packages did not have brownies in them, they had prosciutto and fresh mozzarella.

I mentioned some books at other sites. I love the ones mentioned here, especially Jennifer Crusie's 'Bet Me'.

'Big Night' with Stanley Tucci and Tony S. (from Monk) is one of the best films on food as representative of all that encompasses life. They feast on it throughout the film.

The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover with Helen Mirren is an amazing film where food is central to the story.

Miranda's book is very topical. Heat in the kitchen and in the pages of a book are really big right now.

I'm so glad tomorrow is payday because I'm making a bee line to Borders.

Congrats on the debut, Miranda.

Congrats to Playground Monitor on typing 'The End'!

Portia Da Costa said...

I'm pretty cooking challenged too, but sometimes I love to watch cookery shows on the telly and to read about food too. There's definitely something very sensual about beautiful, delicious food... :)

I go through phases where I get hooked on UK TV Food, but I don't have one particular chef I'm crazy about... although Gary Rhodes and Anthony Worrall Thompson are both fun to watch.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Ssnta, some of us worship "Big Night." I remember watching that last scene where the brothers and the busboy are in the kitchen, and they toss the olive oil in the pan and crack in the eggs and cook them and being mesmerized. It was so down-home Italian. And when they make the timpana and all touch it? I once did that to a large round of parmigiana-reggiano cheese at a deli, and the guys behind the counter just smiled in approval. sigh. But I remember a boss of my husbands who was an "Italian but trying to pass for 'just got off the Mayflower' hated Big Night and thought the food touching was gross. Haven't you ever just had a conversation about how gorgeous a piece of meat was? (and you, you cheeky Bellas, I'm talking about roasts and stuff).

My husband's family actually had a "Big Night" party where they cooked all the food from the movie and played the music, etc. We still say/butcher lines from the movie all the time: "It's a hot-a dog. A tube of meat" "Pasta with a side of risotto. Philistine!"

Our family also worships prosciutto. But you have to squish it between the bread slices, you know. It's the best way to eat it, imo.

Portia, I'm kinda fond of scenes where large groups of alpha males eat food off of women. Can you write one of those for me, please?

We're so proud of you, Play! and that bullet catcher's Italian, no? Sense a theme, here?

Playground Monitor said...

Yep, the BC is Johnny Cristiano.

Manda Collins said...

Dang it! You were totally pimpin' us yesterday and I missed it! But I'm here now to say we had a lovely time yesterday with Miranda Neville. She is frank and funny and I can't wait to dive into her book.

Like you, Michelle, I sort of cringe when I see a cooking heroine because I am a reluctant chef at best. At worst I am a bad, bad chef. (And not in a good way!) But, for Miranda I will make an exception--and really I've been making that exception quite a bit lately because there seems to be a trend toward the h/h who are handy with a spatula. I suspect it's all that Top Chef we're watching;)

Thanks, Michelle:)

Santa said...

Carina, I'm a butcher's daughter! A dry aged porterhouse steak to a site to behold. It's like budda!

And, yes, we touch our food. And taste it as if each bite was the nector of the gods because it is.

Laurie G said...

Loved Joanna Flute's food mysteries.

Loved Susan Mallery's books with the 3 sisters and the Bakery.." "Sweet" series

Nora Roberts had books with chefs
they were released together.

Susan Wiggs includes a recipe with her books.