Do You Suffer from Food on the Brain?

Confession time here. It has taken me years to admit this, but here goes: I am a foodaholic. I love food, and I think about it almost every hour of the day.

My addiction began in the early days of writing the Samantha Newman Mystery Series. I didn’t recognize the issue until several readers complained that the food scenes in the stories made them hungry.

I was forced to look inward.

Truth is, I never intended to put so much food in my books, but as it turns out, I’ve unintentionally given my personal cravings to Samantha Newman, who loves food as much as I do. And apparently, readers may suffer from the same affliction.

It has been suggested that I offer recipes for a few of the dishes. I’ve toyed with the idea of running a reader contest to supply some of them. But it’s not the preparation that interests me. It’s the food—the aromas, the textures, the savory, sweet, or umami tastes that I crave.

Food on the brain

That’s what I suffer from when I write. I’m thinking about what to snack on right now, just like I did a few minutes ago, and an hour earlier, too. Like an alcoholic trying to fend off the urge, I’m always jonesing for something in the pantry.

And so, I’ve foisted these cravings onto Samantha Newman herself, and a few of her friends as well. Sam doesn’t cook, but her pal Gertie is a regular Julia Child in the kitchen. And Carter’s intrepid housekeeper, Dottie, makes country-style dishes to die for. You’ve never had pie until you’ve had a slice of Dottie’s.

Carter Chapman’s a man who knows his way around the kitchen, too. He can turn out a perfectly juicy Texas T-bone, or a from-scratch pasta sauce that makes Samatha swoon. And for breakfast, he serves up an awesome batch of pancakes. OMG, the pancakes!

There I go again… where was I?

There’s more food in the series than anyone could eat in a week, from gourmet offerings to down-home cooking, not to mention doughnuts, brownies, and lots of ice cream. (Oops, I just did mention them, didn’t I?)

Can’t help myself, I suppose. The good news is, as long as my food fantasies remain in my books, my readers and I can enjoy them calorie-free. Just don’t open that pantry.

Does reading about food make you hungry?

Gay Yellen is the author of the multi-award-winning Samantha Newman Mysteries include The Body BusinessThe Body Next Door, and The Body in the News!

Contact her at

11 replies
  1. Saralyn
    Saralyn says:

    I enjoy all of your posts, but this one made me laugh out loud–several times. Yes, reading about food makes me want to eat, and your books have cost me lots of calories, so far!

    • Gay Yellen
      Gay Yellen says:

      Thanks, Saralyn. Now I’m wondering how many calories we use when we’re laughing. Wouldn’t it be great if it were an even exchange?

  2. Debra H. Goldstein
    Debra H. Goldstein says:

    Reading about food doesn’t make me hungry because I hate the kitchen so much, I have no desire to make any of the food. Maybe that’s why I wrote the Sarah Blair series about a woman who finds the kitchen more frightening than murder? When I was told I needed recipes, I found things like Jell-O in a Can but I also at Facebook parties, etc. asked readers for simple recipes. A number of them ended up in later books (named for the person who submitted them).

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