Food for Thought

I feel like…ranting a little bit. Done a lot of thoughtful, helpful (hopefully) posts lately. All about writing and what not.
But some little things have been poking their heads up. Just little things that as write drive me banana-balls (that was for my sister).

So, here they are:

1: “He howled in pain.” “As the bullet hit his knee he howled.” etc.

Have you ever, I mean ever, in real life, in a movie, or whatever, heard a person “howl” because of pain? Now, it could be me, but when I read the word “howl” I imagine a wolf howling. And when an authors say that a person howled, I imagine a person gripping their knee in pain and howling like a wolf.
I am immediately thrown out the story. Please, please don’t use that word.

2: “The book is always better than the movie.”

I am about to commit a most heinous crime *take deep breath* here I go. Most of the time, I enjoy the movie as much as I do the book, and sometimes I even like the movie better.
There I said it. I have more, but that’s all I ‘m saying right now before someone raises the town crier on me.

3: Food (in fiction I mean. I love food in real life, because deep, deep down, I’m a hobbit)

One of my favorite authors, Michael O’Brien, uses food amazingly. The food matches the setting, and elaborates it, and he describes it deliciously. Up in a small house in northern Canada, the characters are cooking breakfast of bacon, and warm, thick slices of bread with melting butter….
Then other times, I read a sci-fi story set some hundred years in the future. The humans are driving out of the city, with a captured alien solider in the back seat. The humans open up a brown paper back and take out some food to eat on their journey.
It’s a bag of bagels. Bagels.

Oh, and later someone is eating a granola bar.

I read this and I think “You mean, two hundred years from now, after an alien invasion and half the earth is laid waste, on road trips we still eat bagels and granola bars???” I feel like this a lot in fiction that is set in the future (including dystopian). Food is a crucial part of world-building, and it seems a lot of authors throw it aside. Having a date in a Utopian society? Of course you’re eating spaghetti.
Food is such a basic part of culture. Really, the most basic, since without it we’d all be dead. Since it’s a basic part of culture, it should be a basic part of world building, right? And it’s not about coming up with meal plans and what they eat for snacks. It’s the practical part that gets me.
They eat bagels? Ok. Where are the farms that grow the wheat? Are the bagels made in factories, or are their local bakers? Do bagels still look and taste the exact same way? Say the characters are eating a blueberry muffin. Why blueberries? Did the species survive the nuclear war? Would people use a hardier kind of berry, or wild berries? GMO berries?

Apparently food is really important to me. It is Fat Tuesday after all.  I ate half cinnabon cinnamon roll today. I haven’t had one since I was probably like five or something.

I was really disappointed. It was kinda…tasteless. Oh boy, I think the town crier is coming.

~Bernadette out.





3 responses to “Food for Thought”

  1. I never thought about the food thing before but so true!! It raises so many questions… I feel like the food thing that annoys me in future stories is when everything is the homiest, most sincere food ever…. Maybe I’m just a curmudgeon but when the whole universe of the story is in turmoil and gloom and they’re eating the most wholesome-sounding bread ever I just can’t deal.


  2. That’s another good one. There is one book I read recently that does it well…an emp hit and they’ve been eating possums and soup aka water with few leaves and onions.
    Cuz the food needs to be gross, right? ;)


  3. downstage1895 Avatar

    This was full of great thoughts! And so true about O’Brien. Even Tolkien was super thorough because he created new foods, lembas, cram, mirovour….


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