Archive for the ‘Food Writing’ Category

Writing about Food and Memories

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

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. 

Chocolate Inspires More than Calories

Friday, July 15th, 2011

“Decadent dark chocolate gelato, pure vanilla ice cream, milk chocolate fondue, pure chocolate chunks, marshmallow fluff and whipped cream garnished with a toasted marshmallow served with crispy crepe flakes and whipped chocolate cream,”  I read aloud from Boston’s Max Brenner’s menu. 

I better wipe my lips, just in case I’m drooling.  This describes The Spectacular Melting Chocolate S’Mores Sundae, and as I type this I’m licking my lips in imaginary anticipation.  Do they deliver?

Memories of when Bob and I entered through the brown door (everything is brown, naturally) the scent of chocolate hit us so hard I fell into ecstasy.  As we wobbled our way to the table through chocolate scented heaven and by-passed the chocolate gift shop, I noticed you-know-what-lover sayings surrounding us on the walls and swirling-dessertish wallpaper.  When waiters delivered food to surrounding tables, it looked too good to be true.  (Yes, I know this is a cliché, but in my chocolate coma flashback now, I can’t be bothered.)

We shared a beyond-good panini.  Okay.  The best grilled panini on the planet.  Maybe somewhere between these two statements.  (Remember, I’m still in my chocolate heaven here . . .)  The crunchy toast was covered with salty black olive pesto.  This complimented the melty cheese, fresh tomato, spinach and perfectly seasoned chicken.  

But the best part so far?  The crisp the waffle fries, dusted with chili and cocoa powder. 

“Do you need to look at a dessert menu?” asked the waiter. 

I liked that he assumed we were ordering dessert.  Of course this is the real reason anyone comes here. 

“Yes,” I said.  “I can’t recall exactly which sundae it was that I’d like to order.” 

It was even better than the one above.  Or at least I think it was, as I didn’t try the one I described to you.  The one Bob and I shared had the smooth chocolate gelato, the fabulous vanilla ice cream and melted marshmallow, but it also had crunchy pieces of graham crackers and the taste of peanut butter.  On either side of this creation were two small cups.  One was filled with whipped cream and the other white chocolate.   Oooh la la!

Why did I agree to share this sundae with my husband?  I never knew anything could taste this good.  The salt of the peanut butter complimented the sweet.  After we finished licking everything clean, we sat in a sweet stupor. 

When the waiter came back, I asked him if there were plans to bring Max Brenner out to California. 

“Yes,” he said.  “They’re opening one in L.A.” 

Hmm.  A bit of a drive for a sundae.  “Would he consider San Francisco?”  I asked. 

“Drop him an e-mail,” he suggested.  

I will. 

Writing prompts:

1.  Write a poem or personal narrative about the best dessert or dish you’ve ever eaten. 

2.  Describe your favorite foods.  What makes them your favorite?  Recall their tastes and textures.

3.  What are some good (or bad?) food memories?  Funny food memories?  Embarrassing food memories?  Food gift memories?  Making food memories?  Restaurant memories?  Picnic memories?  Eating on a train or plane memories?

4.  Create a dessert for a rabbit,witch, juggler, or old man with no teeth. 

5.  Create a new recipe for you and your family.  Then make the new recipe.  How would you change it to perfect it after you’ve made it?  Write a review of your own cooking!