I have always been a big fan of cooking food (and naturally eating it, too) but after working at the library with literally a wall of cookbooks, I know now that my food interest borders on obsession.
I noticed and accepted this when I realized that in addition to checking out multitudes of cookbooks, I have also begun checking out novels written about food.
A while back, I read a book by Sarah Addison Allen called Garden Spells. In addition to being beautifully written, having well-developed characters, and being absolutely addictive, I found myself drawn to the magical realism in it. The story takes place in a small town in North Carolina, where every family has their own unique gift. The Waverly sisters are known for their magical gardens, and Claire Waverly is at the core of it, weaving her home-grown herbs, spices, fruits, and vegetables into recipes which can change the way people feel, see, and understand things.
Some time later, I read Chocolat by Joanne Harris. Pretty good (although, I'm sorry to say I liked the movie with Johnny Depp which develops a romance between the main character Vianne and the gypsy Roux). It incorporates some magical realism into it also, with the idea that her delicate candies and pastries are able to touch people.
The next I read was Sweet Love by Sarah Strohmeyer, about a middle aged woman who meets up with her teenage crush while enrolled in a dessert class. The things they cooked sounded so delectable that all I could think about was making desserts.
Now onto Anthony Capella, my new hero, and the reason I decided to write this today. He's my new hero. Well, okay, I only read one book of his, The Food of Love, but I'm about to read his other two: The Wedding Officer and The Various Flavors of Coffee. I absolutely loved the Food of Love (his first novel!), a story about a girl Laura studying art history abroad in Rome (le sigh!), and this guy Tommaso who pretends to be a chef to woo her, while his friend Bruno, also in love with Laura, actually cooks the food that she goes nuts over. On top of the way Capella talks about food, recipes, and the way food makes people feel in this book-- he includes beautiful snippets of art and culture, and delightfully crude Roman remarks, which had me cracking up the entire time. This guy really REALLY knows his stuff. Oh... and there are recipes in the back. Did I say that Anthony Capella is my hero? I really meant it.
I sure am glad that reading about food doesn't make you pack on the pounds like eating it does.