Fangirl Fridays – Merit’s Joy of the Bite

Merit’s Joy of the Bite
(Chicagoland Vampires by Chloe Neill)

My love for Merit has no limits, just like Merit’s love for food. I want to be her when I grew up. I love her fierceness and loyalty, her wit, her sense of justice and humor, her integrity and compassion. I admire the way she has evolved. Merit’s growth through the series is amazing. She starts as a graduate student in literature, does not have much of a social life, and her world looks small and simple. She is changed into a vampire, a change that leads to a character transformation. Nevertheless, this transformation is based on her human inner self, which was exceptional before she became a vampire. I think her conversion just sharpened her qualities and brought them out.

One thing or quality stands out from the beginning, regardless of her change: Merit’s love for food. It’s as if food and her love for it is another character in the story.

Some of the funniest moments in the books involve food, and today I have selected a few of those for us to reminisce about together. Because there were so many to choose from, and I didn’t want this post to be too long, I limited myself to only a few moments from the first 3 books. I do hope you find them enjoyable, and tasty, after the jump...

Morsels from Chloe Neill’s website

About Merit...
As a human, Merit was a graduate student in English literature. As a vampire, she’s a warrior charged with protecting her vampire House. It’s a big change, and she’s trying to adjust gracefully. And with much sarcasm.

About herself, Merit, and food...
The love of reading, sarcasm, and chocolate is definitely me. I’m a vegetarian, so the knowledge of fast food isn’t me per se, but as a former grad student, I can relate to knowing how to eat on the cheap. The bits about dance and English literature are the result of lots of research.

About the restaurants in the novels...
I often get asked which restaurants and foods in the Chicagoland Vampires novels are legit, and which are fictional. Here’s the running list:

Some Girls Bite
  • Molly’s Diner – Fictional
  • Giordano’s - Real
  • SuperDawg - Real
  • Hackney’s - Real
  • Red (Navarre House Bar) – Fictional
  • Temple Bar (Cadogan House Bar) – Fictional

Friday Night Bites

Dairy Blitz – Fictional, but based on those small-town “Dairy [Insert Noun]” restaurants found all over the country Dairy Sweet in Lincoln, Nebraska is a favorite.

Twice Bitten
  • Little Red (NAC Pack) – Fictional
  • Saul’s – Fictional
  • Joe’s Chicken and Biscuits – Fictional

Morsels from the books

Some Girls Bite

Preparations for drinking blood for the first time in a true Merit fashion:

We put it on the island, along with a martini glass, an iced tea glass, a food thermometer, a bottle of Hershey’s chocolate syrup, and a jar of olives, both of us unsure how best to attack.

We moved into the kitchen, I put the bag on the kitchen counter and picked through it until I found the paper box of fried crab-and-cream-cheese-stuffed dough and a container of sweet-and-sour sauce. I popped them both open, dipped a wrap in the sauce, and bit in. They were still hot — and I groaned happily at the taste: sweet, salty, crispy, creamy. Everything a newly changed vampire could want.

Ahh! Do you smell it? Are you feeling that amazing taste and salivating yet?

“Eggs,” it turned out, meant a deliciously greasy breakfast. {snip} Mallory and I followed Catcher and Jeff to a tiny aluminum diner situated in the shadow of the El in a commercial neighborhood that had seen better days. {snip} When the plates arrived minutes later, laden with greasy breakfast necessities, I tore into the sausage. I sucked down three links immediately and made doe eyes at Mallory, who handed me a fourth.

Watering your mouth, ha-ha? Merit does not feel guilty to wolf it down — go, girl!

At sunset I woke to a smell of tomatoes and garlic. ... I shuffled into the kitchen and found Mallory and Catcher at the kitchen island, both tucking into plates of spaghetti with meat sauce. My stomach growled.

Mine, too.

It was nearly midnight when I returned to Wicker Park. The house was empty. ... I was starving, so I made a ham sandwich, layered on some tortilla chips, squished the concoction into a napkin, and carried it into the living room.

Pure bliss.

Say what you will about Morgan, his sandwich is a masterpiece:

Morgan pulled out a knife and a cutting board, then moved to a stack of sandwich items he’d already arranged on the countertop — a loaf of nutty bread, mustard, mayo, ham American cheese, Swiss cheese (an international cheese détente!), smoked turkey, a jar of bread and butter pickle slices, black olives, lettuce, and a tomato. In other words, the contents of our refrigerator but for the sodas and blood. .. I grabbed the bag of tortilla chips from the other end of the counter and handed them to him. “Layer of chips,” I solemnly explained. “Adds a good crunch.” “Genius,” he said, then squished a layer of tortilla chips into his sandwich. We both looked down at it for a moment, four vertical inches of deliciousness.

I’ll say it again: A Masterpiece!

Merit, on her appetite and hunger:

Weird thing about being a vampire — you never knew you were hungry until you were around food. Then the urges kicked in.

One of my favorites. Ethan eats hot dogs:

“I am working,” [Catcher] said, then looked at Ethan. “I brought food. Let’s chat.” Ethan looks dubiously at the paper bags. “Food?” “Hot dogs.” When Ethan didn’t respond, Catcher cupped his hands together. “Frankfurters. Sausages. Meat tube, surrounded by a baked mass of carbohydrates. Stop me if this sounds familiar, Sullivan. You live in Chicago for Christ’s sake.” “I am familiar,” Ethan said drily. “My office.” The bags were filled with Chicagoland’s finest — foiled-wrapped hot dogs in poppy seed buns, coated in relish and onions and hot peppers. I took a seat on the leather couch and bit in, closing my eyes in rapture. {snip} [Ethan] joined us on the couch, deposited a hot dog on a dinner plate of fine platinum-banded china. Frowning, he began sawing at it with a knife and fork, then carefully ate a chunk. “Sullivan, just pick it up.” He glanced at me, spearing a chunk of hot dog with his fork. “My way is more genteel.” I took another gigantic bite, and told him between chews, “Your way is more tight ass.”

Yes! Tight ass, indeed.

Merit’s way to apologize:

Big-time apologies, since the last time I’d seen her, I yelled at and insulted her, and prompted a sorceress to kick her out of our house. To fix things I opted for a simple, classic strategy — bribery. I was going to buy my way into her good graces with dozen pink-and-white birthday cupcakes. I’d repackaged them in a shiny pink bakery box.”

Friday Night Bites

Ethan knows Merit, doesn't he?

“Would you like me to give you a few minutes with the tray?”
I glanced up at Ethan, my fingers poised over another beef cube, and grinned. “Could you, just? We’d really like to be alone right now.”

Mallory is the best friend:

I didn’t bother ringing the doorbell, but walked right in and headed for the kitchen. Which smelled delicious. “Chicken and rice,” Mallory announced from her spot in front of the stove, where she was spooning rice and sauce onto a plate. She heaped a piece of roasted chicken on top of the combo, then smiled at me. “I knew you’d want food.” “You’re a goddess among women, Mallory Carmichael.”

I rolled down the window, and the smell of meat and potatoes and hot grease wafted through the car. Oh, this was going to be good. I just knew it. He turned to look at me, one eyebrow arched. “The Dary Litz, Sentinel?” “You’ll love it, Sullivan. Smell those fries! That batch is just for you.” “We just had a meal of ceviche and prawn parfait.” ... “Seriously — we ate whipped shellfish, can you believe that? And you have made my point. Drive around.” ... I scanned the illuminated menu, vacillating between a single or double bacon cheeseburger before deciding on the triple. {snip} I ordered enough for both of us — burgers, fries, chocolate shakes, an extra order of onion rings. {snip} “You know,” I said, biting into an onion ring, “I feel like would go a lot smoother for you if you if you’d just admit that I’m always right.” “I’m willing to give you ‘right about food,’ but that’s as far as I can go.”

Need I say more???

Twice Bitten

“I have cold pizza if you want some,” she said, “but I’ll warn you, it’s a little...different.” ... “How different?” “Catcher Bell different.” ... “How different could it be?” I asked. ... And then she placed the box on the island and flipped it open. I stared at it, tilted my head at it, trying to figure out, what exactly, he’d done to the pizza. “Is that celery? And carrots? And mashed potatoes.” It was like being dumped all over again, but this time by something I never imagined would hurt me.

Weird? Funky? Still, a pizza is a pizza, can’t resist one.

“There is no sincerer love than the love of food”  ~ George Bernard Shaw. True words!

“... I was thinking chocolate mousse.” I’d somehow become Ethan’s culinary guide to Chicago. I’d gotten him to eat deep-dish pizza, to try Chicago-style hot dogs, and to dive into a double bacon cheeseburger. I wasn’t sure I could take credit for the chocolate since Margot put the tray together, but I figured my sheer enthusiasm counted for something.

And that chocolate cake seduction scene. OMG

I plated up the chocolate cakes. When the columns of chocolate — from the cake layer to the pillowy mousse to the deep chocolate top — stood in the middle of crisp, white dessert plates, I grabbed two silver forks. I turned to carry the plates back to the sitting area, but he was already standing behind me. I offered up a plate and fork, and pricked the tip of it into the top of the dessert, piercing through the layers. {snip} “Ha,” I said, assuming his thoughts were lascivious, then lifted the tiers of velvet brown to my lips. I closed my eyes as I reveled in it. It truly was chocolate heaven, and Margot was a goddess.

Yes! Here starts that beautiful seduction scene, oh my...

These quotes are just the tip of the ice cake, or pizza, or greasy hamburger! There are many more priceless quotes out there in the Chicagoland Vampires world. I do hope these leave a good taste in your mouth and a craving for reading or rereading this awesome series!


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