I’ve always enjoyed the parts of the books I’ve read where the people in them were preparing food, eating it, or just talking about it in general. I also like to know the things that the authors I love get up to when they’re not writing books. Not only the things that they like to eat or drink, but I like to know a little about all their interests. I’m not sure if everyone’s like that, or if I’m just nosier than most. I don’t think so, though. For me it’s always the parts of fiction that are relatable that make me love or hate a book. Most people can relate to some things. Grief, love, laughter, outrageousness, a remembered smell or scenario, but we can all relate to food.
Now that Shelley has brought the food in fiction into sharper focus for me, I realise that my own books are liberally laced with some aspect of eating. My first book, African Me and Satellite TV, pretty much revolves around it, because one of the main characters is a passionate and brilliant home cook, and everyone around her loves everything that she makes; apart from a memorable for all the wrong reasons Garlic Martini.
In another of my books, Echoes of Narcissus in the Gardens of Delight, there is a little coffee shop in the middle of a sort-of secret garden, where a few damaged souls get together to plan, bond, help, heal, and of course, eat and drink.
Finally in my thus far one and only Sci-Fi/Fantasy book, Sands of Time, there are humans eating the usual human sort of food, but there are also other beings. Among others there are the Voxavi, a race of dragon-like creatures. They are an incredibly intelligent and advanced species. In their first get-together with the humans on their home world, they all enjoy a feast together of natural foods and nectars, but at the end they develop a slight addiction to human junk food. Cookies in particular.
So, food and eating seems to be a little or a large part of fiction, just as it is in life. Thank you, Shelley, for shining a spotlight on such an integral and yet often unnoticed part of storytelling.
Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Jo!
Jo Robinson is a writer and children’s book illustrator living in South Africa. She is the author of several books, including fiction and non-fiction, as well as the illustrator of various children’s books by different authors. After a couple of years of health and life issues, and also having to learn how to mainly use one eye, she is now back in the writing and publishing world.