Food for thought?

Originally posted 29.12.11

The festive season has gotten my little grey cells working overdrive it seems. My latest musings are on the food and drink that our characters consume and how this could cause a stereotypical reaction by the reader to them.

I started thinking along these lines because I was in the pub celebrating early with a few friends when a man in a tatty leather jacket came in with his wife and ordered a pint of lager and a bottle of Smirnoff ice. He then proceeded to drink the bottle while passing the lager to his wife much to my initial shock and then delight. Once home I read through a lot of my recent work and saw opportunities to make characters more interesting just by changing their choice of beverage at the bar or dish they order in a restaurant.

I noticed also how lazy I had been with this part of my characters make up. All my young male characters drink lager. My middle aged women drink wine and my older male characters either drink bitter or whiskey. An eighteen year old man who drank only wine because of a hops allergy would be much more interesting than your run of the mill lager lout.

My thoughts were further prodded when my wife commented on our choice of Christmas dinner and how others may view it. We eschewed the traditional and had vension loin with red cabbage and apple and some potato rostis. The red cabbage was made in advanced and frozen so that the whole meal took only twenty minutes cooking on a very busy day. This sense of time practicality apparently says a lot about us. It does follow though that a food choice will give extra characterisation and tell a lot about them as a person. Does our single man order takeaway, make a microwave meal or prepare pasta with a fresh veg sauce from scratch? All are valid options, but we all will have an idea of three different people in our heads now.

Anyway my sticky toffee pudding is about ready now so, Happy New Year and I will be back soon.

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