Did Somebody Mention Food?

Um … Did Somebody Mention Food?

By Jeff Salter

We sometimes have blogging weeks where I’m totally lost … as in this one, when the Foxes are talking about kitchen skills and such.

My lack of culinary talents are well-known, but I remembered – reading one of this week’s blogs – a kitchen scene I’d written in my third completed novel manuscript.  This particular scene was one of many which had to be cut last autumn as I slashed some 45,000 words from my 164,000 word manuscript to ready it for submission.  [Update:  I now have a contract on this story with Astraea Press!  Called to Arms Again is currently in edits and likely to be released sometime this spring.]

Before it was deleted, this scene between heroine Kelly and hero Mitch occurred fairly early in that draft of my manuscript — right after the two had made-up following a big misunderstanding.  [Kelly is about 30; Mitch is close to 40.  Scene takes place on Columbus Day.]

Excerpt:

Kelly stirred, but it was only to find a more comfortable position snuggled against Mitch’s side.  She pulled the sheet up slightly to counter a draft from his bedroom window.  Then she lay her head back in the crook of his arm and chest.  “A lot of offices will be closed today, but most of the food places ought to be open.  Wanna go get something to eat?”

Mitch looked at her intently.  “Why don’t we eat in?  You don’t come over all that much and I really like having you here.”

He was right:  she did not visit often … but that was because Mitch was nearly always at her cabin.  “Okay, sure.  Here’s fine.”  When she propped up on one elbow, the sheet fell away.  “So, you gonna do some cooking?”

“Of course.  What’ll it be?” He sounded like a mellow waiter … but was distracted by her nakedness.

“It doesn’t matter much … but no granola bars.”  Some men think a meal is something you un-wrap and chew.

“Lemme go have a look.”  Getting up from the bed, he bent over to retrieve his boxers off the floor.

A mature man’s naked, bent-over rump is not an image you want to keep in your head.  Kelly also got out of bed and located her undergarments.

Mitch grabbed his jeans and a long sleeved tee shirt and headed toward the bathroom.  Shortly, while Kelly was still in the bedroom getting dressed, he surveyed the kitchen.

Mitch poked around his cabinets and fridge for a few moments.  Several doors opened and closed twice.  Then he sighed heavily and faced Kelly as she came down the short hallway.  “Well, it looks like cereal, scrambled eggs, or … soup.  I thought I had a frozen pizza but somebody must’ve eaten it.”

“Wonder who.”  She pinched his bicep.  “Um, let’s see.  I guess soup is the best of that menu.  What kind?”

Mitch turned again to the cabinet with canned goods.  “Uh, looks like chicken noodle or chicken with rice.”

“Gosh, with such a fine selection as that, it’s no wonder we don’t dine here more often.”  Kelly smiled and hugged him.  “I like having you cook for me.  Makes me feel a little spoiled.  Noodles rather than rice … would be nice.”

“That rhymes.  Noodles coming right up.”  Mitch kissed her forehead and turned to begin his meal preparations.  He stood over the open garbage container and pulled up the tab on top of the large soup can.  Next, he tossed away the lid and rubbed his fingers on a trouser leg.  Then he began spooning things out of the top of the soup and tossed them into the garbage.

“Mitch, what on earth are you doing to that poor can of soup?”

“Picking out these green things.”

She moved closer.  “Those are little cucumber slices!  They’re for flavor!”

“No problem, I’ll save the rest of what I fish out and we’ll dump ‘em in your bowl.”

“Not sure I want them either … now.”  Kelly wrinkled her nose.  There’s something vaguely unappetizing about a meal being prepared over a garbage can.

“If the can hasn’t been shaken too much, most of them float near the top and it’s pretty easy to scoop ‘em out.”  He sounded like a bored television chef.

“Floaters.”  Kelly shook her head.  That made it even less appetizing.

Questions:
            What kinds of kitchen experiences do YOU write about?
Or, if you’re more of a reader than a writer, what are some of your favorite fictional kitchen scenes?

About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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18 Responses to Did Somebody Mention Food?

  1. Iris B says:

    Really like the excerpt, Jeff! And the picking of the food …. hmmmm …. it kinda sounds familiar. NOT that anybody does that here in this house.
    As for kitchen experiences in my stories – Come to think of it, many of my stories have scenes set in the kitchen, not sure why, probably making cups of teas (I was told once my main character was drowing in tea I had so many in the story) …. but for cooking ??? Naaaaaaa …. like in life, not my thing ;-D

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Thanks, Iris. Well, I’ll confess that Mitch handles soup cans exactly as I do: spoon out the celery chunks before you even toss the contents into a sauce pan to heat.
      The rest is pure fiction, of course. Ha.
      Funny you’d mention drowning in tea. My brother had a character who was constantly preparing (& drinking) a very special green tea. As a reader who doesn’t really like tea, all those references really stood out.

      Like

  2. I didn’t plan it this way, but it seems my favorite heroes are great cooks – or at least very competent ones. I suppose it’s because my own real-life hero is a cook, and that was very appealing to me. As far as the type of kitchen scenes I write, it’s usually when the guy steps in to help and surprises the girl with his culinary prowess. And the proximity of working together in a small space makes for some great tension.

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Patty, that’s wonderful that your real-life hero is accomplished in the kitchen. I know several guys with such skills and those seem to be GREATLY appreciated by their significant others.
      Yes … small spaces (incl. kitchens) can make for some very *interesting* situations in our stories.

      Like

  3. I haven’t written a book, more lyrics, poems and stories; my longest work so far is a play, but there have been no kitchen scenes or references in any of them.I guess this would surprise a lot of people.
    My biggest problem for tomorrow’s post is what NOT to come up with. Maybe since you brought up men-in-the kitchen;I’ll play that angle.
    [Male POV I guess,Jeff; but just maybe some of we females like certain male behinds! I don’t consider a 40-yr old man old.]

    Like

  4. crbwrites says:

    Funny scene, Jeff–definitely romantic comedy. One of my WIPs has a passion-’til-the-pot-boils-over scene.

    Like

  5. Melissa says:

    Floaters! Love it! 🙂 Sadly, my hubby is better in the kitchen than I am. He’s still trying to teach me to cook. LOL Maybe that’s why I don’t have many scenes in the kitchen. Congratulations on the new contract!!

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Thanks, Melissa. I’m surprised at how many ladies have said they defer kitchen arts to their husbands. Years ago I was close friends with a lady whose husband did nearly all the cooking … and she (gladly) did all the clean-up.

      Like

  6. jbrayweber says:

    I don’t write scenes that take place in the kitchen. But I do have a howling good time writing scenes where the hero and heroine are eating. Especially when they are making a show of it, trying to outdo one another with seduction.

    Great excerpt, Jeff.

    Jenn!

    Like

  7. Great scene, Jeff. I guess the bed scene is why it got cut, huh? too bad, It was quite realistic.I don’t have a lot of cooking scenes. Guess that’s because when it come to food, the best thing I make is Reservations!

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      LOL, actually I had to cut the entire subplot (which featured Kelly & Mitch as ongoing lovers) since it would not have passed the AP standards. Of course, since I needed to dump some 45,000 words, it was much easier to chop that out …than if my ms. had been at optimum length already.

      Like

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