The best thing about writing SFF is the fact that you get to make stuff up. I mean, whatever you want, really, as long as it fits the mood, tone and logic. It’s one of things I love most about writing genre. Your imagination is your only limit.
When I was writing Burn Bright [aka The Night Creatures trilogy]and the sequels, I wanted to create a sense that food was really a heightened sensation like everything else on Ixion, and I mixed up inventing foods with the very familiar: like goo-berry pie, black linguine and pink sauce, streaky bacon and red chilli beans, sweet oatmeal and wisp bread, rolled meats and honey-drenched pastries.
‘The [wisp] bread melted on her tongue like buttery air.’
I have no idea what wisp bread or goo-berry pie are, but I’d love to taste them!
In the real world of food, I’m a sucker for crisp streaky bacon, and a knock over for pastries and cakes. My Covid 19 guilty pleasure has been watching all the cake piping channels on Instagram. It’s kind of mesmerising – the things you can do with frosting!
Once, years ago, I made a passionfruit flummery dessert with toffee shards. I have such a strong memory of the dish that the toffee shards turn up in just about everything I have written since.
So, food in fiction was all going deliciously for me and then a few years ago, I developed a gluten intolerance. Now when I write stories, I’m much more mindful of what people can eat. I take care to vary my characters diets. It’s added a new dimension to how I think about food in my stories. I’m writing a dark fantasy fiction novel right now and have introduced “thin-fish” and “ropey” cheese. So far, there is MUCH less wheat bread.
I also really love to explore what the physical terrain of my books can actually produce for its inhabitants. You can’t grow everything, everywhere, and it’s engrossing making the decisions that affect it. What is the soil like? Is there much water? What’s the life cycle of the plant/animal species? How do you preserve food here? The world building that underpins the food consumption can be as fascinating, as having your characters eat it.
There are some great food-a-licious books out there, but a couple of my favourites are Kerry Greenwood’s Corinna Chapman series – she’s a sleuth and a baker; Livia Day’s Café la Femme novels. Go check the out 😊 Bon Appetit!
Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Marianne!