Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sharing your food

Durham County Library, where I have my "day job," hosted a romance fan festival last November called Fall Into Romance. As part of her presentation on heroes, Virginia Kantra mentioned that she always has a moment in her books where the hero feeds the heroine. This is a moment or sign of commitment to her, different from any vows, professions of love, or sex. As I've been working on line edits for A Promise for the Baby (Karl's book, which comes out in January 2014) I was again struck by Virginia's words. 

When we first meet Karl in his own book, he is cold and unemotional. When Vivian first sees him, she thinks, "She needed a warm heart to beat under his winter clothes." He barely reacts to her news and Vivian and the readers are both left to wonder if he cares at all. 

And then he feds her and your entire perception of Karl and his silence changes. 

A small gesture turns out not to be small at all. Without being completely aware I was doing it, I'd written similar food scenes in each of my two other books. In Reservations for Two, the moment Dan realizes just what he's done wrong coincides with him preparing her dinner. In The First Move, Miles has no illusions about his feelings for Renia; he offers her food in almost every scene.

Of course, Virginia and I aren't the only authors that do this. In Lisa Klepas's Smooth Talking Stranger, the reader knows that Jake is in love with Ella the instant he orders her dinner (even though the entire book is told through her point of view and she doesn't yet realize his feelings). Cara McKenna's After Hours  has a great scene where Kelly buys Erin a burger. In all of these scenes, there a sense that offering someone food is a way to say, "I care about you." The offer is intimate and personal, without being invasive.

What about you? What are some of your favorite romance novel moments where the hero offering the heroine food changes everything about their relationship?

Leave a comment. I'll use a random number generator to pull a winner from the comments. The winner will receive a copy of A Promise for the Baby as soon as I get my author copies (about one month before the book is out). Comment by August 7th and I'll post the winner on August 10th (Really this time! No writing the post and hitting "save draft" instead of "publish").

14 comments:

Kaelee said...

Interesting. I've never thought about this. I'll have to pay attention a bit when i'm reading. I do like it when the hero offers to share something off his plate or dessert.

Tammy Yenalavitch said...

I can't remember any food moments right now. Like Kaelee, I will look for them from now on

Kristina Mathews said...

Feeding the heroine is good. But my heroes always end up doing the dishes at some point in my books.

Now that's sexy.

mary sullivan said...

Jennifer, I think having a man cook for a woman is one of the most romantic things ever—even if he isn't very good! It's definitely the effort that counts, and the sweetness of the gesture :-)

Jennifer Lohmann said...

@Kristine--

Ah, a man who does dishes. I can cook for myself, but dishes would be heaven!

Jess said...

The scene in Laura Florand's The Chocolate Kiss of Magalie and Phillippe sample each other's culinary creations just floors me. While both the chocolat chaud and macaron sound heavenly, the scene is about so much more than sweets. They're surrendering their defenses to each other and starting down their path to mutual trust and love.

Julie Hilton Steele said...

It's the dishes for me too. Ha!

Peace, Julie

Snookie said...

I don't mind when a hero makes or buys dinner, dessert, etc, but I don't like it when the scenes are of them putting food in each other's mouths when it doesn't fit. There are places where it works and other places where it doesn't and I've read too many novels where it doesn't. Where I live food is a big part of our culture.

Di said...

often those "little gestures" can indicate the care the characters have for the other - like taking care of them when they are sick.

sallans d at yahoo dot com

Mary Preston said...

I can't think of a specific example, but it can be quite an intimate moment.

Jennifer Lohmann said...

@Jess:

Laura Florand does WONDERFUL food descriptions and scenes in her books. How her characters share their food is so intimate.

Jo's Daughter said...

I'm a reader, much more than a movie fan. Yet I don't remember reading about a scene in which the
Hero feeds the Heroine :) I do remember some movies that have a food related scene that was very intense.

Like the rooftop scene in Kate & Leopold. He even got a guy to play the violin I recall. Or the chemistry between the characters of Aaron Eckhart and Catherine Zeta Jones in No resorvations. And who will ever forget that film Chocolat!!! Really great :D

BW said...

Like others who have commented, I can't think of any moments. I will need to be on the look out now.

Jennifer Lohmann said...

And, again, the date to announce the winner passed me by. I've drawn the winner and schedule the post for Saturday, August 17. I'm sorry for my tardiness.

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