I love real food! It’s natural for me to portray my characters weeding their vegetable gardens, cooking hearty homegrown meals, and gathered around their plank farmhouse table with friends.
But just as any other situation in a romance novel, food and mealtimes get their dose of conflict in my romance novels.
Take Raspberries and Vinegar, my first Farm Fresh Romance, for instance.
Josephine Shaw is a spitfire environmentalist and local food advocate. She wouldn’t be caught dead with junk food in her hands, and she’s not afraid to tell others just what she thinks of their habits. For her, it’s pure, real food all the way, grown as locally as possible. She even gave up coffee! (She is SO NOT me, lol.)
Zachary Nemesek grew up on the farm with a mom who cooked your average homemade meals, using some packages and cans to add convenience and flavors to her concoctions. She wasn’t a purist by any stretch. When Zach left home, he fell into the trap of many college kids: packaged mac’n’cheese and ramen noodles. Now that he’s finally put himself through veterinary college, his ideal meal is cooked in a restaurant. To him, that’s the simple life. No cooking and no dishes! How much better can it get?
Certainly there is more to the conflict between these two characters than their habits about food, but this is one of the big ones and it starts in the first chapter, when Zach finds himself helping Jo and her friend clean a mobile home that’s been vacant for several years.
“Anyone want some chips?” He pulled a bag out, ripped open the top, and extended it to Sierra, who shook her head. He turned to Jo.
Her forehead creased in a frown. “We have apples and carrot sticks in the cooler, thanks.”
Seriously? “Sounds too healthy for a guy like me.” Zach poured a few chips into his palm and tossed them in his mouth.
Jo’s eyes narrowed. “You’d rather eat junk food made by some multi-national corporation? Not this gal.”
“Breakfast of champions.” She was kind of cute, all perturbed like that. Some strands of her thick brown hair had pulled free of her tight braid and now frizzled around her head. She looked a bit less intimidating without a dustpan in her hands.
“There’s no redeeming value for your body or for the local economy in that stuff.”
Never mind about the less intimidating. She was like those whackos he’d been avoiding at college for the past eight years. “I’m sure it provides jobs for someone somewhere. Just doing my part.” He inhaled a couple more handfuls then pulled a pop bottle from his pack and swallowed a deep glug. No point in offering that with his germs all over it. Like either would accept.
He glanced up to catch a scowl pass between the two females. Whatever.
I’m thrilled to announce that Raspberries and Vinegar won The Word Guild Award in the contemporary romance category!
Tell me, is there any conflict between you and your spouse regarding food? I picked an obvious one (to me, anyway!) in Raspberries and Vinegar, but there are many other ways this plays out in couples all across the world. Let’s share.
I’d love to gift a Kindle copy of Raspberries and Vinegar to one commenter.