Writing Fiction for Foodies

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I have a love-hate relationship with cooking. The responsibility of putting something not only edible but healthy on the table wars with my longing to put up my feet at day’s end. But the sense of accomplishment I savor when dishing up a casserole made from unprocessed ingredients seems rare and beautiful–an achievement only outshined by giving birth to my daughters. Perhaps these periodic Martha Stewart impulses stimulate the same endorphins as finishing a Jillian Anderson work-out. No doubt such research would be easier if I actually completed both tasks the same day. Someone should really write a grant for this.

While I’m prone to rhapsodizing about food, I haven’t yet decided whether I am a “foodie.” No doubt a Buzzfeed quiz would be happy to impose their assessment on me, but I prefer self-evaluation. I finally settled on these standards of measure:

1) Preoccupation with exotic ingredients (saffron-infused oil? organic double matcha?) only available at a store at least thirty minutes from one’s home. Extra points if the store doesn’t sell Spam or cigarettes.

2) Possession of a sufficiently large cookbook collection to qualify one for a TV spot on “Hoarders” or similar. (and an equally colossal array of online recipes)

3) A marked preference for novels in which the main character’s favorite recipes are featured. Extra credit if recipes are listed at the back of the book. (or if the main character is a caterer)

4) Willingness and/or compulsion to make homemade (and probably organic) versions of common kitchen staples, such as ketchup or peanut butter.

And finally:

5) Frequent snapping of food selfies while fantasizing about becoming a restaurant critic. (being paid to eat–Lord have mercy!)

A score of two indicates developing foodie tendencies. Three or more positive responses correlate strongly with foodie-ness. Implications of scores of four and five should be obvious. My score fluctuates between two and a half and four, depending the amount of time until Christmas is due to arrive. No, I can’t explain the two and a half.

As I sat polishing my book The Reluctant Archivist, I noticed foodie-ness creeping in. Interesting food sightings pepper the narrative, which I’m now confident will enhance the plot. In fact, I think it’s time to embrace the food plot device–maybe even feature a recipe or two. Even if Mill Fairbairn, main character and earnest politician, is far from a chef.

Do you read about food? What does it mean to you?

Quench your thirst for meaning–read.

 

1 Comment

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One Response to Writing Fiction for Foodies

  1. Ken Hadler

    How many cookbooks does it take to qualify as a hoarder? I am sure Janet would say I qualify with a shelf of them in the kitchen cabinet and another shelf in the basement.

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