Monday, June 2, 2014

Food Glorious Food by Joanne Hill

Food! Yummy, yummy food! It is such a big part of relationships from the gift of chocolates, to the cake at a wedding, to going out for a meal , whether it be beer and nachos at a pub, sharing a packet of chips/fries at a game, or dinner at a very nice restaurant.

I remember discussing the whole 'food' thing with some writers once  because so many scenes were set in restaurants  and I suck at writing those kind of scenes where its just eating and talking.  One of the writers, a long-time Harlequin author,  explained that she saw a dinner scene as a "breaking of the bread," between two people with an almost spiritual element to it.  A 'coming together' in fellowship.  It's what we do as humans and we do it over food all the time.  We get to know people over a coffee or a meal. We invite friends to dinner at our home or meet them for lunch at a cafe.  Events are centrered around food from the sandwiches after a funeral, to a lavish wedding breakfast, to farewelling a work colleague with afternoon tea, or to celebrating with friends, as the old photo here shows. 
It was taken with fellow writers Tessa Radley, Helen Kirkman, Sandra Hyatt and Rowena O'Sullivan (and Karina Bliss who took the photo). The event was to celebrate the RITA nomination of our friend Sandra in the novella category. As we had lunch (at a very nice waterfront restaurant), the Awards Ceremony was taking place in New York. Sandra was on the phone to her daughter at home, for an update on the ceremony, via the internet , and we were just so excited for her. We were also just as gutted when she passed on the news that she hadn't  won. It's moments like these, that  fellowship/breaking of the bread, that you remember and are so lucky to have been a part of.

Food can be memorable in some not-so-touching ways as well. Think of a dodgy meal that gives you food poisoning. Something going down the wrong way, even choking you while you're at a restaurant. A way-too-spicy meal that just makes your eyes water as you guzzle down whatever beverage is handy ...  All embarrassing and not romantic in real life.

So it got me thinking about those times a romantic dinner  can be spoiled. It's the stuff of romantic comedies and I always think, when I see that kind of scene, that the writer knew or saw or experienced that mortifying incident themselves. Grist for the pen!

Have you ever been out on a romantic dinner and it was just one big embarrassing nightmare - or maybe it didn't  end in disaster at all, and it was, in the words of Rick in Casablanca... " the beginning of a beautiful friendship?" Do share.
Dating Daisy by Joanne Hill
Kiwi  Indie author Joanne Hill usually avoids spicy food after some unfortunate incidents which thank goodness were not romantic anyway.  Her upcoming comedy "Dating Daisy" is part of a bundle with six other Kiwi authors called "Second Chances"  that is available now for pre-order on the iBooks Store! 
 You can find Jo on Twitter at @joanneauthor or Facebook at



  1. My husband wanted to take me out to dinner for my birthday. My daughter insisted she come along. She was 12 and we thought, why not? Turns out she'd just taken a class at school on addictions and wanted to be the alcohol police. My one glass of wine during my birthday dinner wasn't very enjoyable given I got the stink eye the entire time. The irony was that I worked at a winery at the time! Wine was putting the clothes on that girl's back!

  2. I love food, but am on a serious diet right now to lose weight before I go to RWA. Can't get into any of my cool clothes!

    That said, I'm looking forward to having lunch with friends at RWA. And yes, I am definitely going to eat the dessert!

  3. My most memorable meal was the one where my husband proposed. He took me to this fancy French restaurant where he ordered calf brains because he didn't understand the French waiters accent. Him: Why I didn't you order the special. Me: Do you know what you ordered? Him: Beef something. I figured it would be good.

    We still laugh about it today.

  4. I think meals are the center of our relationships in so many cases. It can be a bad habit, for those of us who overindulge when gathering, but I think the endorphins add to an experience.

  5. I love your stories, Merrilee and Mel!!
    Aileen and Denise, that's the pain of it... so much food and so much weight to put on. Church is often the worst in that way, so many pot lucks and baking after the service and so on, which is really tough for those who are trying to lose weight. I've actually avoided events in the past for that reason.

  6. Meals are when we seem to connect well and there is such a strong memory association between food and your past. A meal your mom or grandmother used to make, BBQ outside with family, parties.