Who needs Williams Sonoma when your cottage came with your grandmother’s cooking gadgets from the 1930s? Summer in July means wild blueberry picking in a hidden Cape Cod patch only your land conservationist brother knows how to find. First couple of cups used: lemon blueberry bread, adapted from my Nana’s cranberry orange recipe. We enjoyed a slice with dinner and I’m sure it will be finished off with coffee over the next couple of mornings.
Mealtimes offer a convenient platform to bring the senses to life in a story. Sights, smells, tastes, sounds and touch add dimensions to draw a reader in and hold them in the setting. One of my creative writing modules last fall devoted an entire class to considering the importance of the senses, Next Chapter. In my first 20,000* words, I’ve used these platforms by incorporating four meal scenes. The most climatic occurs during a family dinner. An entire family gathered in a formal dining room, an expected part of the daily routine for prior generations.
She heard the clink of silverware and murmurs of conversations…she strode toward the dining room, breathing in the aromas of the pork roast, a faint cinnamon scent from the stewed apples. The thought of the crisp, succulent, peppered pork skin teased her taste buds. She hoped they had saved her favorite end piece for her.
The other advantage to using mealtimes are the opportunities to launch conversations, another lost art with the decline of families eating together.
She offered a handful of the berries to Eliza, their softened skins bleeding drops of purple and red into her palm, as she commenced with the story…
*YES! I hit 20,000 this weekend! On a bit of a roll as I added in pieces of my archival research to augment prior scenes with authenticity and continued to develop the next chapter of Eliza’s story. The tough part up next is trying to determine how much time we spend in this time period as there’s a lot more history to cover in this historical novel.