I really like food, but I think I’ve become a bit inured to most food scenes in romance novels. All the dessert-cum-sex scenes have melded together, to the point where all I can think about is the mess. I’m not really into strawberries and champagne, so if the hero starts waving them around, my mind starts wandering. And then you’ve got the chefs – I like them, but I think the proliferation of TV chefs, and the sheer accessibility of gourmet gastronomy, have taken away some of the luster of the professional kitchen.
The most memorable scenes, I find, occur outside the gourmet and professional arenas. I remember very clearly the beginning of Lisa Kleypas’ Devil in Winter, when St. Vincent provides a hamper of food for the starving Evie, who proceeds to devour the thinly sliced meats and cheeses sandwiched between buttermilk bread. There’s something equally delicate and decadent about the thin, savory layers (and geez, buttermilk bread) that conveys the indulgence of St. Vincent’s life, which contrasts heavily with Evie’s prior existence. Plus, it just sounds good.