In MARRED, Grafton County Series, I included a morning scene to show how a simple breakfast can bring a family together:
In the kitchen, I got the coffee made, scrambled eggs, and was frying bacon when Niko traipsed downstairs. “Good morning, my love.” Without warning, he dipped me and planted a big, wet kiss on my lips. Before I got my bearings back, he said, “Something smells good” and lifted the edge of stacked paper towels laid over a paper plate, stealing a piece of bacon.
I tapped his hand. “Good things come to those who wait.”
He crunched the bacon between his teeth, smiling like a young boy who’d gotten away with stealing an Oreo from the cookie jar. I’d missed him. Missed us.
Haven’t we all experienced this at one time or another? The scene doubled as a way to show the characters’ relationship with their dogs:
After shoveling food in his mouth for a full five minutes, Niko’s hand disappeared under the table to slip Ruger a piece of bacon.
“You know I don’t want him eating from the—” In the grand scheme of things this was minor. “Never mind.” I broke off a piece for Colt. He clasped it gently in his lips and trotted into the living room to savor the hickory flavor. Ruger took Colt’s spot next to me and opened his mouth as he did for his pain cookie.
“Okay. Only a tiny one, though.” I set the bacon on his tongue. It disappeared in a millisecond and he reopened his mouth. This time I opened his Rimadyl bottle.
As he chomped the pain cookie into small bits, he glared at me as if to say, “Hey, that wasn’t bacon.”
The short excerpt above also hints that Ruger’s an older dog with arthritis, which cues the reader to develop a unique image in their mind—and all of this stems from bacon. Food in fiction works that way. A simple breakfast scene can reveal a lot about the characters.
What they eat is also important.
In RACKED, Grafton County Series, Niko and Sage Quintano befriend their Italian grandmother-type neighbor, who insists Niko try her “Sunday gravy” (aka spaghetti sauce) and Sage devours a homemade cannoli with its crunchy tubular pastry shell filled with sweetened ricotta cheese, citron, and chocolate bits. Including traditional Italian foods speaks to the heart of the characters.
Isn’t that one of greatest things about food in fiction? Not only do we relate to the characters and their food choices but what they eat reveals who they are.
Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Sue!
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Sue Coletta is an award-winning crime writer. For three years running, Feedspot named her Murder Blog as one of the Best 50 Crime Blogs on the Net (Murder Blog sits at #5). Expertido.org crowned Murder Blog with the same honor in 2019. Sue also blogs at the Kill Zone, a multi-award-winning writing blog.
In addition to blogging, Sue’s the communications manager for the Serial Killer Project and Forensic Science. An active member of MWA, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers, Sue’s the true crime author of Pretty Evil New England, slated for release Sept. 1, 2020 by Globe Pequot, the trade division of Rowman & Littlefield Group. For fiction fans, Sue writes two serial killer thriller series (Tirgearr Publishing).
Every morning, Sue starts the day by feeding all the wildlife in her yard, but her favorite “pets” are her beloved crows who live free but come when called by name.