I 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…