I love food. I love books. Therefore, books about food turn me on. I'm no gourmand, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy a chef's tale. The best part? Foodie fiction is usually sensual, sexy and romantic.
We've all used chocolate-covered strawberries and Champagne to woo a winning beau. (If you haven't, you should. Works like a charm.) The way to a man's heart is through his stomach, sure, but the same could be said for most women. After all, who doesn't love a man who can cook?
In this roundup, I've found the most delectable, delicious odes to food through the world of fiction. These novels bridge the kitchen and the bedroom. I suggest eating in the boudoir. Be sure to bring a partner. Playing with food can be a lot of fun.
Joanne Harris is half French, so of course, in her work you can expect luscious chocolate, love and joie de vivre! Traveling chocolatier Vianne Rocher arrives in the sleepy town of Lansquenet and opens her shop during the Lenten fast. Of course, the local priest is appalled and assumes Vianne must be a witch. Enter sexy gypsy Roux (picture Johnny Depp), mix in a cup of dark hot chocolate and voilà: a hankering for eating dessert in the nude.
Ms. Frida was known for her art — one of the most famous female painters to come out of Mexico, ever. For me, she is a personal icon, but many don't know of her talents and her trials. The Secret Book reads like a biography with a dip of magic realism. Mingled between tales of Frida's daily life are detailed "handwritten" recipes from Frida with stories to go along with each dish. If you love a good fairy tale and great Mexican food, dive in, mouth open.
Of course, another French author! Originally written in French, the "Nicholas Le Floch Investigations" series has only just recently made its way to American shores. In book one, we meet Nicholas, an apprentice investigator in Paris in 1761. I could go on and on about how Nicholas sounds good enough to eat, but really, Parot is obsessed with food. Crimes may be committed and deaths avenged, but Parot goes into great detail every time a morsel is mentioned. Sure, there may be a corpse two pages over, but dang, food is like another character in this riveting start to a fantastic mystery series.
I don't think sensual when I think Ernest Hemingway, but this recounting of his life in 1920s Paris (I know, France again) will leave you drooling. He gives detailed descriptions of his friendship with F. Scott Fitzgerald, his marriage to Hadley and his early experiments as a writer. But really: the food. The food! An excerpt: "As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans." You know what they say: Oysters are an aphrodisiac.
We head again to Mexico in this full immersion into magic realism. Each chapter of this feast-worthy fiction begins with a recipe. As the youngest daughter in the family, Tita knows she's supposed to remain single forever and eventually care for her mother in old age. Oops, Tita falls in love with Pedro, but when evil mom plots against them, Tita unknowingly weaves her emotions into her cooking often with sensual and explosive results. I'm not sure if this book will make you want to head to the kitchen or the bedroom. How about both?
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