Food, Glorious Food

iStock_000002093969_MediumI enjoyed writing a few gastronomic moments into my novel, Singled Out, which is set on a holiday in Turkey. Food allows you to explore all the senses and it can be a prism through which characters’ personalities and passions shine.  People gather together to eat, so food and mealtimes are opportunities for making connections and developing relationships between characters.  They can be made to linger over meals – creating episodes rich in sensory detail and dialogue, and loaded with cues and clues.

Below is a short foodie excerpt from Singled Out. I’d love to know what you think, and to hear how you use food in your own writing.

Mehmet and Defne brought baskets of steaming pide breads covered with napkins, to accompany the assortment of dips – creamy cacik, hummus and iman bageldi – on the table. They deposited platters of succulent tomato and feta salad drenched in olive oil, and saucers of black olives. The bread was pounced upon, ripped and shared. Brenda loaded her plate with dips and slices of tomato. She scraped a hunk of warm bread through the hummus and took a bite. It was sticky and grainy and the tang of garlic and fresh lemon flooded her mouth with saliva.

‘You’re enjoying that,’ said Turner, an inscrutable smile spreading across his features.

‘Indeed,’ said Brenda. ‘Good food, a warm evening—’

‘And great company,’ he added. ‘Here, try this.’ He held out a piece of bread loaded with the cacik – slivers of cucumber, crushed garlic and mint smothered in velvety yoghurt. Brenda reached out to take it with her hand but he pulled back.

‘Take a bite,’ he said, holding it out towards her mouth. ‘Go on. I want to watch you eat it.’ The corners of his mouth twitched.

As she parted her lips he slid the bread on to her tongue. The chilled yoghurt softened in the heat of her mouth and she savoured the silken concoction as it slithered down her throat…

7 thoughts on “Food, Glorious Food

  1. Writing about food is an excellent way of evoking place, as it does in your piece above. It engages the senses of smell and taste, which help bring the scene to life more than sight alone. A writer can also explore character and metaphor through food. A great writing tool – only problem is your reader might put your book down in favour of a trip to the kitchen!

    1. Ah… you may have a point about the trip to the kitchen! My main characters all respond to food and drink in different ways, and in this respect food becomes another aspect of a character’s ‘voice’. In the case of one particular person, their response to the food alters over the course of the story, and that becomes a metaphor for the changes taking place in that character’s life.

  2. I found interesting the way your readers saw this piece unfold and become what it might have been. However I saw it a bit differently. It was indeed laced with sensuality and passion and iced with desire. However that’s me. I loved it and I thank you for that small but delightful sample of your work as it makes me ready to read everything entirely when all is available. Those rejection notices will be few I believe and soon there will be a clammer and waiting line at the bookstores.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed… just a very small sample, and one of the more mellow moments. I might risk something a bit grittier next time – perhaps a post on the curious pleasures of writing damaged/disturbed characters.

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