I am not much of a cook: I do much more assembly, when it comes to meals, as opposed to actual cooking.

Though that actually depends on your definition of cooking.

For example, I do make my own chicken broth. I save bones in the freezer, and when I get enough, I throw them into a pot with a bottle of the cheapest white wine I can find, along with some vinegar and water. I cook it for hours, letting it simmer and reduce. When it cools, it will have a gelatinous layer–all the calcium cooked out of the bones. I freeze the broth, and use it for crockpot stews. It’s also my beverage of choice if I have a bad cold.

Contrast that with my dinners. I cook all the meat for the week on the weekend, then I just reheat with veggies or salad. Assembly, not cooking.

But I was thinking about how food inspires writers and other creative types.

(Warning! Pictures and content below the cut may make you hungry!)

Candy Necklace

Usually, food isn’t just food to writers. It’s words strung together, like a candy necklace. Or his goodbye kiss, as sweet as the first lemonade of summer.

One of the things that I enjoy doing is creating a metaphor and simile suite: some characters are always going to be defined by their Aunt Jessiebell’s blueberry pie, or their mama’s fried chicken. And others are going to mix their friends and lovers like Uncle Lee’s stir fry.

Food defines us, or rather, our characters. One of the best pieces of advice I heard as a younger writer was to let your characters eat. Yes, keep the tension high: maybe it’s just chicken butts on a stick that they snatch as they’re running through a night market. Or maybe it’s a good break between scenes, where you can ramp up the emotional tension.


Hopefully I’ve given you some food for thought!

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