NPR recently did a segment on the best meals shown on film.
If your book doesn’t have a scene of someone eating something, you might want to consider one. Most people eat at least three times a day – often more – and a meal can carry every imaginable kind of metaphorical weight. It’s a great way to show fault lines in relationships or to bring people closer.
It is also a wonderful way to avoid the dreaded “talking heads” chapters in which you need to have characters talking, but can’t figure out what they should be doing. The trick is to make the meal fit into the larger story arc naturally. Make sure it is motivated beforehand and that it triggers something later in the story.
Ready… “We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other.” Ernest Hemingway, Movable Feast
Set…. You might want to eat a snack before this one.
Do not write about a meal. (Ha! Got you!) Write a scene in which your characters prepare a meal OR write about a memory you have of a meal being prepared. Try to focus in on tiny details in the kitchen that will give clues about the the people in the scene. It is natural to have lots of smells and tastes in a scene like this – remember to add in sound.
Scribble… Scribble… Scribble!!!