I have a special treat. The delicious Rebecca Lynn, a special friend of mine, has agreed to talk about Foodie Romance - a genre I think I could write in regards to chocolate ;)
Thanks for having me, Steena. What is life if not an excuse to eat chocolate. I'm sure you'll agree. ;)
Most people, after I tell them I write "foodie romance" ask, "what exactly is that?" My answer is twofold. First and foremost, foodie romance is romance. It's the story of two people's happily-ever-after. How did the hero win the heroine, or vice-versa. That's the most important part.
Second, foodie romance is a universe that revolves around food. There may or may not be professional kitchens involved (some, like Louisa Edwards, call that "culinary romance", because it's about the culinary word), and the presence of foodies is even sort of negotiable. But the one thing that's not negotiable is the food. I've read culinary romances that are not foodie romances (and of course, vice versa), which is quite disappointing. But foodie romances are all about the food. This is their natural habitat. In fact, I think that the best foodie romances make you hungry as much as they make you happy.
Foodie romances are to food what erotic romance novels are to sex. They delve in, slow down, savor, and celebrate. Foodie romances are about food *experience* in the same way that erotic romances are about sexual *experience*. When I write a food scene, I want you to feel like you've just eaten, or like you can't wait to eat. Like you want to cook / eat what my characters just cooked / ate / baked.
Also, I really think food needs to be part of the trajectory of the plot in a true foodie romance. People execute this in different ways, of course, from the professional kitchen to the home cook. A foodie romance hero/heroine might be an executive chef, a sous chef, or just a regular person with another job. But somehow, the food they prepare will play a part in their happily ever after.
Different authors accomplish this in different ways, but the one consistent factor is that there's a level of food experience detail that only comes from experiencing food yourself. I always tell people, if you think you want to write foodie romance, start cooking and eating. In fact, when I teach my "Romancing the Palate" foodie romance workshop, the first exercise we do is always to write about our own food experience, focusing on the specific sensory details. I assign my students to have a NEW food experience and write about it right away, so the details are fresh in their mind.
So if you're thinking about writing foodie romance, start eating and cooking. Make the foods your characters are going to make. Eat the foods your characters are going to eat. Do it slow. Pay attention. The littlest details can be important. In one of my foodie romance scenes, the temperature of the water drives the whole context of their relationship. It's the details that matter. So get eating, get cooking, and then get writing!
Happy Food Writing to you!