Food and wine. Heaven. They’re synonymous. That’s it.
Oh, not enough? Sorry. Let me think.
My friend Nan says what I drink isn’t really wine. I don’t know what she means by that, but my beverages of choice usually have screw-on caps or come in a box and they’re sweet. Way sweet. We are friends anyway, but Nan does roll her eyes a lot when I pour my moscato over ice and have at it. With Cheetos. I’m quite sure it’s a vintner’s nightmare but damn, it’s good.
My palate is no more sophisticated when it comes to food. If it has the word “chip” attached to it, I like it. If its sodium levels are through the roof, I like it. If someone else cooks it, I like it. If someone else is paying for it, I like it. If it makes my cholesterol and/or blood pressure jump 50 points, I like it. Sigh.
I haven’t yet figured out a way to connect this to writing, but it’s coming.
Oh, yes. Seven writer friends and I had a retreat in May. We had a lot of wine, a lot of food, and some of us even got some writing done. The food and wine were necessary and enjoyable components.
And then there’s Betty Neels.
I don’t know if you’ve read her books. She wrote 134 Harlequin romances over a 30-year period. The stories all included doctors and/or nurses, took place in the Netherlands and/or England, and were completely sexless. Their plots didn’t vary a great deal and you could very nearly pick out in which chapter certain things were going to happen simply because they always did.
I loved every one of them. Even now, several years after Ms. Neels’ death, I’ll read one of her books for the manyeth time when I need a comfort read. I’ll sit in an elegant hotel dining room with the protagonists and share their wine and food. Because there was always wonderful wine and food in her books and her heroines ate with gusto. They didn’t drink all that well—the stuff always went to their heads—but there are worse things.
I don’t write like Betty Neels, and I’ll never complete 134 books. I don’ t pay attention to whether or not I put food and wine in books, although I know I did in Back to McGuffey’s because, you know, McGuffey’s is an Irish pub in Vermont—just sayin’. Nonetheless, I hope my books give comfort in the same way hers do. I hope when readers are looking for something to make the day end better, they read something I wrote. I hope they spill crumbs and drops of liquid on the pages—or maybe not liquid on an electronic read, but you know what I mean.
I hope they enjoy it.
Thanks, Betty Neels. And thanks for reading. Bon appétit.