Yum, I’ll Take What That Character’s Having

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A to Z Writing Challenge

When we talk about writing stories we tend to chat about settings, plots, genres, climaxes and endings. How often do you think about the types of food mentioned in a story?
Yes, our characters have to take journeys and learn lessons, but they also need to eat. The types of food a character eats can tell a lot about them. The way they eat can tell even more. Do they cut their food into tiny pieces before taking a bite or do they shove large amounts of food into their mouths practically swallowing their food whole?

Have you ever read a story and found yourself desiring a dish the character ate or looked up a recipe that was mentioned in the book?

Maybe it’s because I have a deep love for food but I tend to remember the meals, snacks, or goodies that characters enjoy or hate in the books I read.

In Jodi Piccoult’s The Tenth Circle Trixie’s mother made Sorrow Pie. Many people were curious of what this recipe consisted of and how to make it that Jodi ran a contest for the best Sorrow Pie Recipe. There was ritual that came with making the pie and it was usually prepared after someone was struggling with an intense emotion. I know I was curious about it after reading the book that I too looked to see if there was a recipe.

In The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Katniss ate the Lamb Stew. She spent her life hunting for food to survive. The stew was not the kind of food she was accustomed to eating. Maybe, that’s why she thoroughly enjoyed the dinner.

In Because of Wynn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo one of the characters (Miss Franny Block) has a drawer stuffed of Littmus Lozanges. They are candies that when eaten produce a feeling of happiness and sorrow at the same time. I wanted so badly to try one of these candies.

In Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa Lee, the girls looked forward to eating fried sugared taro prepared by Old Man Zuo. Lisa went into such great detail on how the sugared taro was prepared that I still find myself craving the food I never tasted.

These are just a few of the foods that stuck with me from books. What types of food do your characters eat? Is there a food from a story that stuck with you?

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6 Comments

Filed under A to Z, writer's life, writers, Writing

6 responses to “Yum, I’ll Take What That Character’s Having

  1. I am obsessed with food. That definitely comes out in my novels. In my most recent novel, the main characters bond over tiny cakes and sandwiches in a tea shop. In my earlier novel, the main character has serious food issues – she spends whole days decorating fancy cupcakes that she doesn’t allow herself to eat, pigs out on fried chicken and doughnuts in a moment of crisis, and freaks out over spilled waffle batter. Food and eating (or not eating) is rife with metaphors for what is going on inside a character.

    • Maribeth

      You are right! Eating Habits often give a glimpse of a persons mind. Your characters sound awesome I’d love to read more about them

      • Thanks, food is always a big theme in my work. The book about the cupcake decorating mess is out now. How To Climb The Eiffel Tower will be out in October. I even have a short story collection in the works about food and death in the works.

      • Maribeth

        Wow that’s awesome. You go! I will be sure to check out your current and upcoming book. 🙂

  2. Good post! I never really thought about using how a character eats food, reacts to it, etc as a way to flesh him/her out.

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption
    Minion, Capt. Alex’s Ninja Minion Army
    The 2014 Blogging from A-Z Challenge

    • Maribeth

      Thanks Madeline for stopping by. Yeah now go back and read through stories where the characters were eating and see what it tells about them.

      🙂

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