The Connection Between Food & Love with Rick R. Reed

May 1, 2015

Food & Love


Whenever I read a book and the author mentions that the characters are having a meal (or even a snack), I always, always, always want to know what they’re having. If the author just tells me that the characters just had dinner and gives no details, I’m disappointed. “But what did they eat?” I whine, before flinging the book at the wall.

So when I write a story, I never leave out that important detail. Why? Because what we eat matters. Eating and loving are probably two of the most significant, life-affirming, and joyous activities we can engage in as human beings.

So why on earth wouldn’t you want to know what our couple-about-to-fall-in-love had to eat on their first date?

In my latest, Dinner at Fiorello’s, it’s all about passion—whether that passion is for cooking, for eating, or for someone else, it’s the kind of universal stuff we can all identify with. In the book, I meld my main character, Henry’s, passion for food with him falling in love for the first time.

Through the lens of food and wanting to do something meaningful with his life, he discovers his first real, true love—Vito, the quiet chef with a secret who works at Fiorello’s. Henry aspires to being a chef just like Vito, yet he also comes to fall in love with him. But while he’s falling in love with Vito’s technique in the kitchen and the magical food he makes, Henry is also falling in love with the man. They’re inextricably linked.

There’s a certain alchemy that goes on when one makes good food. It becomes more than the sum of its parts. The same is true of two people in love. That’s what I tried to bring together in my new book. I hope that, just like when you take a bite of something delicious and you sigh and have the instinctive reaction of joy, you’ll have the same experience when you read about Henry and Vito’s torturous but ultimately rewarding path to love. Because, whether you’re cooking or falling in love (or even writing a book), to do it well, you have to do it with your heart.

In closing, I’d like to share with you a little taste from Dinner at Fiorello’s, this taken from when Henry interviews for his job working in the kitchen of Fiorello’s. You can see even at the tender age of eighteen, Henry Appleby understands what makes food—and love—good (here he talks about his family’s housekeeper and cook, Maxine):

“Well, she sees it as more than a means to an end, which is why I love her so much. She sees food as something that isn’t just about filling your belly, but filling your heart. She didn’t just feed me growing up, she nurtured me. She showed me that making food for someone can be a way of showing them you love them.” He looked at Rosalie, trying to make sure she was taking in, understanding what he was saying. “When I understood that, I knew that food can actually be a very powerful thing. I don’t know if I knew it right away on a conscious level, but I knew it. When I was about ten, I began asking her if I could help her make meals. My parents didn’t know what had gotten into me. My father said that I shouldn’t be helping her, because that’s what he paid her for. But I wanted to learn what she did to make her food not only good, but good for the soul.”




Henry Appleby has an appetite for life. As a recent high school graduate and the son of a wealthy family in one of Chicago’s affluent North Shore suburbs, his life is laid out for him. Unfortunately, though, he’s being forced to follow in the footsteps of his successful attorney father instead of living his dream of being a chef. When an opportunity comes his way to work in a real kitchen the summer after graduation, at a little Italian joint called Fiorello’s, Henry jumps at the chance, putting his future in jeopardy.

Years ago, life was a plentiful buffet for Vito Carelli. But a tragic turn of events now keeps the young chef at Fiorello’s quiet and secretive, preferring to let his amazing Italian peasant cuisine do his talking. When the two cooks meet over an open flame, sparks fly. Both need a taste of something more—something real, something true—to separate the good from the bad and find the love—and the hope—that just might be their salvation.




Share your most romantic meal, either eating or being served, in the comments below for a chance to win an ebook copy of my other romance that revolves around food, Dinner at Home!




Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). Raining Men and Caregiver have both won the Rainbow Award for gay fiction. Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”









Dreamspinner ebook:

Dreamspinner paperback:

Amazon (to come)

AllRomance Ebooks (to come)



14 Responses to “The Connection Between Food & Love with Rick R. Reed”

  1. Rick R. Reed says:

    Thanks for having me on the blog. Looking forward to the responses for romantic dinners!

  2. Angela says:

    Happy release day!

    Dinner at Fiorello’s looks like a great read, i will definitely put it on my TBR list.
    I won’t be entering this giveaway because i already own and read Dinner at Home and i loved it, i especially loved
    Ollie he is just so sweet and generous.

    Are the two books in any way connected?

  3. Susan says:

    My most romantic meal was actually a good-bye meal, as I was moving out of state for a job and he was not in a position to relocate as well. It was a traditional Cajun restaurant on a river on the north shore of Lake Pontchatrain (a month before Katina). Our table overlooked the river and we had great Cajun food, shrimp etoufee for me. A very bittersweet memory for me.

  4. Rick R. Reed says:

    Thanks for the question, Angela. The books are connected only in the sense of theme: love and romance. I plan other Dinner at…. books and, although they’ll have different characters and settings, all will explore the connection between food and romance.

    And Susan…the dinner sounds lovely (love Cajun) and I can see why it was so bittersweet.

  5. Shannon Margaret says:

    I am so excited …. I am the same way about food so you are not alone. Those little things that are not mentioned by some others drive me nuts….. Thanks!!!

  6. Waxapplelover says:

    My favorite food memory was actually a group date at an Italian restaurant. I know it sounds weird, but you don’t have to be alone to be romantic as long as you are focused on each other. The tiramisu was divine!

  7. JenCW says:

    The most romantic meal was a celebration dinner with my then boyfriend. I finished my Ph.D. degree requirements and he took me to a fancy French restaurant that we had always wanted to try, but really didn’t have the money for. He took me and treated me to their 21 course Tour De Force tasting menu with the accompanying wine flight tasting. A new wine for eveevery course. It wasn’t the fancy restaurant or the fabulous food, it was the company with It. We had a blast and the restaurant waiters and other staff had fun with us. So many people stopped by our table to see how we were doing. It’s a night that will forever live in my memory. They even sent us a copy of the menu. :-)

  8. Kassandra A. says:

    I am lucky in that the hubs and I have shared numerous romantic meals. They all included the same important elements: a quiet space, music we both enjoy, food we prepared ourselves, and a nice bottle of wine. We don’t get the chance to be alone often, so when we do, we make the most of it ;)

  9. Rick R. Reed says:

    I am so enjoying reading all of your stories of romantic dinners and having my point validated: the food and romance are intimately linked. Keep ‘em coming (the stories and the romantic dinners)!

  10. Cia Nordwell says:

    I already have Dinner at Home, so this isn’t for the contest, which is good because I don’t think romantic is really a focus for me or the hubby. I do show my love by making great meals, baking, and candy treats for friends and family as often as I can. My go-to-always-asked for food is my homemade breads, especially when I do one called ‘Cheese Zombies’ where I bake my bread in a 9×13 layered with dough, meats and cheeses, then another layer of dough. Food is a pleasure we so often forget to take the time to savor as it deserves!

  11. Roger Grace says:

    The most romantic Dinner I was at was the 50th anniversary dinner for my grandparents. They served each other and were at a table on a dais by themselves and the rest of the family were in the room but at a lower level it was sweet and great to be there.

  12. Caz Pedroso says:

    My most romantic dinner was on my honeymoon. My new hubby and I were in Brixham, Devon UK, and were looking for a restaurant to eat in on our last night. Brixham is small so there were only four open this late. One was full, two had menus with stuff I had never heard of and other stuff I was sure I never wanted to eat, and the last was way too expensive. We actually ended up with fish and chips, wrapped in their paper, sitting on the harbour watching the fishing boats come in and then watching the sunset. I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

  13. Laurie P says:

    My Hubby makes my favorite meal of barbecued beef ribs, grilled corn on the cob, baked beans and cole slaw. He makes it for my birthday and anniversary.

  14. Denise says:

    I love this idea and this description. Looks fantastic.
    My husband proposed to me over dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant in one of our favorite cities , San Francisco.
    Pasta al Forno. And today on our 12th anniversary (yes it’s 5/3) I still make it a point that when we travel we eat local not chain restaurants. That’s where the flavor truly is.

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