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Food porn in fantasy writing

Finchbearer

Minstrel
The diet coke humor reminds me of a time I was in a Subway sandwich line with 4-5 people in front of me during the Subway weight loss craze. Every one of them ordered a—relatively—healthy sandwich with spinach, turkey, etc., and then kept having the preparer add more and more mayo until my eyes bugged. I probably eat that much mayo in a year and have no idea how they could even eat those sandwiches.
Oh capitalism, le sigh…

I know that I’ve never gone to Subway in order to eat healthily, although whatever they ordered sounds a wee bit excessive.
 
I missed an entire new thread about food. I use it as a matter of course (that may be a pun, if so, totally meant it) having grown up on things like Redwall and the feasting in such books. Like the Hobbit and some of the aSoIaF books. Been trying to make at least one fantasy book centered around an adventurer sort not only being a foodie but trying to set up her own diner. But everything from my usual fantasy and even sci-fi will have some sort of food being mentioned, ate or otherwise in it at some point.
 

Queshire

Auror
I missed an entire new thread about food. I use it as a matter of course (that may be a pun, if so, totally meant it) having grown up on things like Redwall and the feasting in such books. Like the Hobbit and some of the aSoIaF books. Been trying to make at least one fantasy book centered around an adventurer sort not only being a foodie but trying to set up her own diner. But everything from my usual fantasy and even sci-fi will have some sort of food being mentioned, ate or otherwise in it at some point.

I entirely missed the Redwall series growing up which, ya know, might go a ways towards explaining my stance.
 

Finchbearer

Minstrel
I missed an entire new thread about food. I use it as a matter of course (that may be a pun, if so, totally meant it) having grown up on things like Redwall and the feasting in such books. Like the Hobbit and some of the aSoIaF books. Been trying to make at least one fantasy book centered around an adventurer sort not only being a foodie but trying to set up her own diner. But everything from my usual fantasy and even sci-fi will have some sort of food being mentioned, ate or otherwise in it at some point.
Hobbits and food go together like birds of a feather.

There is a Tolkien ‘inspired’ cookbook…it actually looks pretty good.
 

Mad Swede

Maester
Yes, I do include descriptions of food and drink, particularly their flavours. That written, those descriptions need to be relevant. For example, showing that a character has a sense of taste or that a character flaunts their wealth by buying some ridiculously expensive meal without appreciating how good (or bad) what they've just eaten is. It's like anything else in my world building - it's there to set the scene and to provide more information about the characters and their motivations.
 
Hi,

Given the sort of fantasy situations I often write, I find myself wondering - how do you make gruel pornographic?!

Cheers, Greg.
 

Finchbearer

Minstrel
Hi,

Given the sort of fantasy situations I often write, I find myself wondering - how do you make gruel pornographic?!

Cheers, Greg.
Gruel may not be the most appealing foodstuff…

But, what’s it made from? Are it’s base ingredients sexy?
 

Penpilot

Staff
Article Team
I played hockey/softball with the top food blogger where I live. So for a period of around 10 years, there's a written/photographic record of what I ate every Friday in the winters and Mondays in the summers. Hahah.

For me, I consider food to be like any other tool in the writer's toolbox. It's a way to reveal lots of different things about the world and characters within. But it's like anything else, it needs to be the right tool for the job. And overindulgence of it, that's a tummy ache on the page, making some push away from the table, thinking no thanks, I'm done.
 

Ban

Troglodytic Trouvère
Article Team
I played hockey/softball with the top food blogger where I live. So for a period of around 10 years, there's a written/photographic record of what I ate every Friday in the winters and Mondays in the summers. Hahah.

For me, I consider food to be like any other tool in the writer's toolbox. It's a way to reveal lots of different things about the world and characters within. But it's like anything else, it needs to be the right tool for the job. And overindulgence of it, that's a tummy ache on the page, making some push away from the table, thinking no thanks, I'm done.
But at the same time, too little can make some guests question where their food is. A fully realised world where food plays no role? That would stand out to me personally.

"I was told there was an all you can eat buffet!"
 

pmmg

Vala
Hi,

Given the sort of fantasy situations I often write, I find myself wondering - how do you make gruel pornographic?!

Cheers, Greg.

Sex and gruelty? I there’s bound to already be a category for that. This sounds like low hanging fruit. Maybe that’s what my story needs, more gruel.
 

pmmg

Vala
Along the lines of food, i do often myself thinking not on what specifically ppl are eating but where it’s comes from. Cause a big city needs the farms and livestock to supply it. So i do like include them as part of scenery when i can. In my story I’ve pointed out goats and chickens and lambs but so far no cows. It seems there is not too much beef in their diet. Thinking on it now i may draw more attention to it later. When a cow shows up have the characters be like WTF is that? A OMG is it yummy. And then the cow god grows angry…
 
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A. E. Lowan

Forum Mom
Leadership
Hi,

Given the sort of fantasy situations I often write, I find myself wondering - how do you make gruel pornographic?!

Cheers, Greg.
In our second book, we make checking the tune on a cloth-draped grand piano a turn-on. It's all about the character's reaction.

From Ties of Blood and Bone...

Alerich slipped his hand beneath the fluttering cloth covering the grand piano in a languid way that made Winter think of a skirt and played a short melody. “It’s in tune.” He sounded surprised and pleased.

Winter blinked once, trying to keep her attention off his hand, and nodded.
 

Sydnie

Acolyte
I'd say I probably hate it more than I love it. I'm an impatient kinda person, so when a writer spends a long time describing anything, including food, it gets me feeling like, "C'mon, get on with the story already". And it's also kinda frustrating when the writer does a really good job making the food sound appetizing and I'm sitting here wishing I could have some.

On the other hand, I'd count it as a success if I get hit with that kind of reaction. And I've always kinda liked the idea of this sort of heroic badass who also makes pastries as a hobby. Unfortunately, I'm not a foodie, so I don't think my knowledge is nearly enough to convincingly write a character who is. I'll just have to settle for little details like "food in VR worlds is hit or miss"~
 

Finchbearer

Minstrel
I'd say I probably hate it more than I love it. I'm an impatient kinda person, so when a writer spends a long time describing anything, including food, it gets me feeling like, "C'mon, get on with the story already". And it's also kinda frustrating when the writer does a really good job making the food sound appetizing and I'm sitting here wishing I could have some.

On the other hand, I'd count it as a success if I get hit with that kind of reaction. And I've always kinda liked the idea of this sort of heroic badass who also makes pastries as a hobby. Unfortunately, I'm not a foodie, so I don't think my knowledge is nearly enough to convincingly write a character who is. I'll just have to settle for little details like "food in VR worlds is hit or miss"~
It’s so interesting how differently we perceive things, like if I read a passage that describes food being made and it sounds delish, I’ll be inspired to make that meal at some point, and it usually tells me a lot about the character too.

And when I’ve read about food being made it’s usually only a paragraphs worth, I don’t think I’d stomach whole passages of it. And that’s actually really interesting that you’ve pointed out what it says about a character, your example of a badass character going home and making delicate pastries is one way to use food to really make statement. Like I’ve read books before with unsavoury characters that eat horrible food, and that’s a clever use of using cuisine to character build.

Sorry for the puns.
 

pmmg

Vala
Maybe if he ate better food hed be less evil.

And never apologize for seeing a good use for creamed corn.

What if my whole story came down to lack of cows. The baddies just want a better diet. That would be greatly unexpected.
 

S J Lee

Inkling
to ME, food on its OWN is dead boring. Now, if he food sarked some flashback memory ... or the character made aDECISION to eat it refuse it ... which had consequences, that would be interesting
 
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