Writing about Food and Memories

Warning:  This blog is about food.  So if you’re hungry, it may make you want to reach for something yummy.  If you aren’t, you’re probably safe. 

Friday night fry.  Turtle sundaes made with honest-to-goodness creamy, custard.  (Richer and tastier than ice cream!)  My cousin, Cindy special-ordered German doughnuts called crullers, from a delightful small-town bakery called Bon Ton. Crullers are delicious pastries created with cake-like dough twisted into sticks and covered with light white frosting, from a wonderful small-town bakery, Bon Ton. My cousin, Mary’s fabulous farm-fried egg, white on top, perfect yellowy-goodness inside.  A POP of flavor!  Best of all? The homemade pies my cousin, Paula created – – apple with a flakey crust – – the apples not too hard and not too sweet, but just right – – and a tangy lemon meringue.  What could be better?

The last time I had a homemade Wisconsin pie – – made just right – – was when I was seventeen.  (Thank you, Mom, if you can read this in that parallel universe known as heaven.)  I left for college and came home for visits when she created the most fabulous cakes and cookies.  Perhaps because I didn’t come home during apple-picking season, I didn’t have eat another of her apple pie wonders.

Setting foot on Wisconsin soil brought back memories of picking sweet, crunchy carrots right from the garden, holding them under the hose and then chomping down on them for a quick snack.  I did the same thing with lettuce and even green beans.  Mom would shudder and say, “Raw green beans?  How can you, Elizabeth?” 

But I hated picking them in the early morning, slapping away at Wisconsin’s state bird – – the mosquito.  See what happens when you begin writing about food?  Our sense of taste can bring back a flood of other memories and associations.   

I recall years ago writing a number of articles about one of my passions – – chocolate.  At one point, I received annual gifts from the Chocolate Manufacturing Association.  There was only one problem with my assignments – – the writing motivated consumption of the product.

Stay tuned for more about the Wisconsin trip, and how you can use your travels to motivate and improve your own writing.  Right now, I have to take a break and eat something luscious.  Unfortunately, nothing will taste as good as it did in my home state, or in my memories. 

Writing Prompts

  1. What foods do you recall from your past?  Write about them and any associations they bring.  
  2. Describe a food scene with a character in your current project.  Is your character sitting at a dining table?  Eating on the run?  Include description of the food and your character’s reactions to the food and her/his surroundings.
  3. Let food motivate a poem, song, or other piece of art work. 
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