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September 16, 2017
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September 30, 2017
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It was tasty

Hi guys,

We have all heard that phrase ‘it was tasty.”

While the sentiment is nice, it has little effect on describing the food. When dealing with food anyone with an interest in food quality will know that there are several types of food:

  1. Salty
  2. Sweet
  3. Sour
  4. Bitter
  5. Bland

How does this help my writing? I hear you ask. Well not very much, because it is hard to write these sensation into the written words without using those words. Everyone has eaten bad food and we all know why that food was bad- it was too salty,  too bitter, was over cooked or under cooked. Most people don’t have the skills needed to accurately describe why the food was good.

Please note I am not going to give you those skills here, I am talking about how to write those sensations. For many people taste is a minor sense because it is linked with the sensation of smell. When we think of our favourite food we also subconsciously think of the smell. If you have not read my blog on smell I highly recommend you go back and read that found here before proceeding.

When describing food, I try to keep it simple as food rarely has more than one type of taste, unless it is at a really expensive restaurant. Also note that even if you are a major food critic and can distinguish between a roast cooked for ninety minutes and one cooked for only ninety one minutes, your character most likely cannot.

Most food has only one major flavour, and then a major descriptor. Take something simple like French Fries; they taste salty and have a mashed potato texture.

So, when you do write a scene you want to highlight what the characters are eating. Allow your readers to enjoy the flavours involved and get their mouth watering. Start with the smell, as all good cooks know to do make the food waft across their nose and then as they sink their teeth into the texture and experience the flavour, slow down the action and draw out the experience.

Pacing in a scene can make a simple dinning scene more enjoyable, but that is for another blog.

Now, this was tasty!

Keep writing,

Peter.

2 Comments

  1. Mozette says:

    I’ve been working on getting in the foods with my stories and books. It’s difficult and is easily overlooked, right?

    But there’s one book I wrote where the food was as much a part of the lifestyle as everything else was – ‘Ravenstine Kingdom’ – and I had to do some serious research into what people ate back in the 1500’s and how they dressed, how they kept clean, how often they washed, and all the other customs too… it was a real education in life. But the food was amazing; as was the alcohol!

    And partying to was taken to another level – boy could they party!

    • peter says:

      Thanks Mozette.
      Yeah getting the food right is hard. Sometimes if you haven’t done your research properly it can show.
      As a Science fiction/Fantasy author you need to either know a lot about history or science. Many people still think that Fantasy requires no research. For my upcoming book ‘The Bloodwood Curse’ I have to do research on sailing ships so that I didn’t have my characters walk in the wrong direction and walk into the ocean. It was a most unforseen needed piece of research.
      The same can be said for food, most people know what food tastes like but haven’t really thought about how to say what it tastes like.
      This blog aims to help people going through the same challenges that I have gone through and I share what I am going through, and what I have learnt from the process of writing.
      Glad it could be of some use for you.
      Regards
      Peter