This week (11-17 May 2020) is National Vegetarian Week here in the UK. The aim of the event is to make more people aware of vegetarian food and to encourage them to try something new. Whilst I’m not a vegetarian myself, I’m very interested in vegetarian cookery, and I’ve written a short post about it elsewhere, which you can read here.
But in any case, I never need an excuse to think about food – and that includes in my writing. I like to use food as a metaphor, and it works very well in a romance-based plot. It gives the heroine (and the readers) an insight into how much more enriched her life could be if she chooses to share it with the hero.
This can be seen in the following extract from The Unkindest Cut of All. The heroine, Sarah, would be the first to admit that her cooking and housekeeping skills leave much to be desired. Enter Martin, bearing culinary gifts and much more besides…
Whilst [Sarah] was waiting for the kettle to boil she realised too late that the bread she’d been keeping for toast had gone mouldy. Ferreting around in the cupboard, she eventually unearthed a half-consumed packet of breakfast cereal of unknown vintage. As she poured a bowlful, she found herself thinking that it looked like lumpy sawdust. And as she took a mouthful, she found herself thinking that the resemblance didn’t end there.
When her phone rang, it was such a welcome diversion from her inedible breakfast that Sarah didn’t have time to wonder who on earth might be calling her so early on a Sunday morning. Her heart leapt as she saw Martin’s name on the display. She chewed furiously to empty her mouth of the tasteless gunge.
“Sarah? It’s Martin. I hope I didn’t wake you up.”
Sarah usually had a stock response to this: “No, that’s all right – the phone was ringing anyway.” But this, she decided, was hardly the time for wisecracks.
“Hi, Martin. No, you didn’t. I’ve been awake for a while. Didn’t sleep terribly well, to be honest. How about you?”
“The same. Look, I need to talk to you. Can I come round?”
“Yes, of course.” Sarah’s heart leapt again. “When?”
“Any time now. I’m in the road outside.”
Sarah caught her breath. “Hang on. I’ll come to the door.”
By the time she had fumbled with her keys and got the front door open, Martin was already standing on the doorstep. He looked tired, but was smiling, and holding a bulging paper bag.
“Breakfast? I wasn’t quite sure what you’d like, so I got some of each.”
The bag felt warm in Sarah’s hands as she took it and peered inside. It contained two croissants and two large pains au chocolat. Sarah’s mouth watered as the buttery scent caressed her nostrils. She looked up and smiled gratefully. Martin’s eyes were as dark as the chocolate. She looked down again quickly, hoping that her cheeks didn’t look as flushed as they felt.
“Mmm. Thank you. These look divine. Please, come in.”
As Martin hung up his coat, Sarah gratefully cleared away her unfinished bowl of cereal and set out two plates and knives and an extra mug. Her earlier excavations in the cupboard had also yielded an unopened jar of apricot jam. She put this on the table too, positioning it carefully so that Martin couldn’t see the Best Before date…
The Unkindest Cut of All is an Ocelot Press publication, and is available in paperback and e-book formats.