Monday, March 17, 2014

Hungry Heart - Music, Food, and Love

I’ve been told that my books make people hungry. I consider that a real compliment since so many of my characters are either professional cooks or amateurs who cook seriously. And there’s always a love connection there too, largely because I feel that cooking for someone is as sincere an expression of love as writing them a sonnet (and a lot easier from my point of view).

My latest excursion to Konigsburg, Texas, Hungry Heart (coming from Samhain on March 25), includes the usual references to food and cooking, but maybe more so since the heroes and heroines are all members of a competitive barbecue team. Since barbecue requires a lot of cooking time with a carefully watched fire, it lends itself well to, ahem, other activities, something that my heroes and heroines take full advantage of.

Since another of my favorite tropes is music, particularly Americana music, I decided to make a quick list of songs that included both food and love. So in honor of Hungry Heart, I present my barbecue playlist (I recommend listening with a cold beer and a shade tree if you’re in South Texas, or maybe anywhere the sun’s shining).

There are some songs that just celebrate the pleasures of good food and good living in general.

1. First there’s Robert Earl Keen’s great ode to Barbecue, which is sort of the theme song for Hungry Heart.

2. Guy Clark loves to write songs about food and he’s got a couple of terrific ones. The first celebrates the wonders of Texas Cookin’. He also has a justifiably famous song praising those Homegrown Tomatoes.

3. East Texas and Louisiana share a lot of culinary traditions including Jambalaya (you should check this version out if only for historical purposes; it features Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Leon Russell when they were all young heartthrobs—if you weren’t too particular).

But there are also songs that make the connection between food and sex a little more obvious.

1. Let’s start with a salute to the seductive power of cooking, Tim O’Brien’s I Like the Way You Cook, accompanied here by some equally seductive images of delectable dishes.

2. The Band of Heathens’ Cornbread makes the connection a little more symbolic, but still very, very hot.

3. The Carolina Chocolate Drops like their metaphoric cornbread too, or in their case Cornbread and Butterbeans.

4. Speaking of beans, Marcia Ball’s got some Red Beans Cookin’ for her guy.

5. And Keb Mo does a terrific version of Robert Johnson’s Come On In My Kitchen, the kind of request it’s hard to refuse.

Of course, that just scratches the surface—who did I miss? What other songs can you think of about food and lovin’?

And if you’ve stuck with me this far, thanks and here’s the blurb for Hungry Heart:

Peace, love, and barbecue—with a big order of sexy on the side.

Konigsburg, Texas, Book 8

Sous chef Darcy Cunningham is less than entranced with small-town Konigsburg’s obsession with barbecue. But her future career as a chef de cuisine requires expanding her culinary horizons, so she talks the Barbecue King, a.k.a. Harris Temple, into taking her on as his apprentice.

However, learning Harris’s professional secrets wasn’t supposed to include falling for his spicy blend of smoky sexiness and laid-back charm.

Chico Burnside specializes in flying under Konigsburg’s small-town radar, but lately life has been going a little too smoothly, even for him. Hoping to shake things up a bit, he talks Harris into teaming up for Konigsburg’s first barbecue cook-off. But once shy scientist Andy Wells catches his eye, Chico’s got more on his mind than brisket. Like enticing her out of her shell to show her just how tenderly a big guy can love.

As the competition ignites, so does the romance. Until a natural disaster threatens to derail Konigsburg’s dream team before the grills even get good and warmed up.

Warning: Contains hot sauce, hot sex, and a whole lot of smokin’ action.

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