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Eat First: More Romances That Will Make You Hungry

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Jessica Pryde

Contributing Editor

Jessica Pryde is a member of that (some might call) rare breed that grew up in Washington, DC, but is happily enjoying the warmer weather of the desert Southwest. While she is still working on what she wants to be when she grows up, she’s enjoying dabbling in librarianship and writing all the things. She can be found drowning in her ever-growing TBR and exclaiming about romance in the Book Riot podcast (When in Romance), as well as on social media. Find her exclamations about books and pho on twitter (JessIsReading) and instagram (jess_is_reading).

I recently went on a romance-related trip to New Orleans, which means basically all my thoughts the whole time there were twofold: romance novels and food. There is a lot of good food in New Orleans, so the only reason I wasn’t drooling over these books was that I was devastatingly full the whole time. But these books are legit appetizing, and you should definitely check them out.

cover of The Ultimate Pi Day Party by Jackie LauThe Ultimate Pi Day Party by Jackie Lau

Jackie Lau’s Baldwin Village series (Starting with One Bed For Christmas) is all about eating, and this one is no exception. It starts just before Valentine’s Day, when Josh, the CEO of a local app development company, wanders into Happy as Pie, Sarah’s shop. After having some of the most delightful pie of the sweet and savory kind, Josh comes up with a way to lure his estranged father—a math nerd extraordinaire—to visit him in Toronto and speak to him again: the ultimate Pi Day party, complete with a total smorgasbord of pies. He and Sarah have to meet to figure it all out, but there’s also a chemistry between them. Has been since they met. What can they do about that, while also maintaining their professional relationship?

Eat, that’s what they can do.

Or at least it feels like it. There’s so much hungrifying stuff in the pages of this book, and it makes it all the better for it. The pies are scrumptious (yes, scrumptious!) and there’s plenty of other food to drool over while you’re reading. Which isn’t great if you’re trapped on a two hour flight with pretzels and cookies that you can’t eat because flour. And then of course there’s the people, who both have strong but complicated relationships with their families, particularly their parents. The resolution of the story has more than one resolution, which is great, and more food, which is also great. If that’s not enough hunger, you also want to check out Ice Cream Lover, which just came out! (Much more dessert in that one, but you might also want to find the nearest place that has soup dumplings. Not gonna joke.)

cover of Team Phison Forever by Chace VerityTeam Phison Forever by Chace Verity

This book isn’t quite a romance, as the established couple is not completely the focus so much as one of them dealing with their shit—it follows the adorable romance novella Team Phison, which you should definitely read if you haven’t. Tyson and Phil (Team Phison) are chugging along happily after three years together, and Tyson is planning on proposing. But before he does, he discovers he has a half-sister, and falls into some serious despair about the word family. Maybe he and Phil are fine as they are, because families are toxic. Why would he want to deal with that again? This is a darling book with much more serious themes and some serious coping mechanisms—including food. That doesn’t stop me from being hungry when I read about the food that is often being used to deal with depression, anxiety, or some other form of sadness.

cover of The Bride Test by Helen HoangThe Bride Test by Helen Hoang

If you haven’t picked this one up yet, or if you fear the hype, I will use the food to tempt you. Esme is a young Vietnamese woman who has come to the United States to potentially marry Khai. While she lives with Khai, she also works for his mother at her restaurant. They have a communication barrier—in more ways than one—but Esme is willing to work through it, because she actually likes Khai, even though she doesn’t understand him. She also makes and eats a lot of food (which is hilarious because Khai is very much a protein bar kind of dude). The food in this book also has a life of its own, and you can smell the fish oil and taste the noodles whether you’re in Khai’s house or a restaurant or a wedding. It’s all very delicious.

More Food-Filled Romances

pride prejudice and other flavorsI’ve heard tell that the only way to read Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors is with a very large order of Indian food to satisfy your cravings; I’ll let you know if that’s true when I (hopefully) finish it someday soon.

And Jaci Burton’s Hot to the Touchwhich is the first in a new series about a group of adopted siblings who all become firefighters, is also pretty hunger-inspiring…at least the early chapters are, which is as far as I’ve gotten in it.

Romance is delicious, and so is food. Want more books that need snacks? Check out Dana’s list from a couple months ago.

What are your favorite hungerific romances?

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