I've been thinking about food- Southern food, to be exact. And I don't mean writing about food specifically, essays about picking blueberries or missing figs. (For those, see my links to essays, on this blog, please.)
I also don't mean the kind of food my fabulous friend and fellow writer Lee Stokes Hilton celebrates on her new blog. Though after reading her recipe, I have been pondering making scones, as soon as it cools off.
But right now I'm mulling over changes, additions, edits of my book for middle grade readers that's been percolating for some time. The first draft had many references to fried chicken, black skillets, pimento cheese. Then I got cold feet and took out some of the Food Talk. A friend who'd published her kids' books with a very astute editor told me he said she had her (Southern) characters eating all the time. OK, but we do like our food, sir! Still, I held back.
Then I read Faith, Hope and Ivy June. And there was food every time I turned around. And I loved it. Mashing up Grandmommie's beans with the back of her spoon. Offering up something from the kitchen to the country doctor who comes to call. Homemade preserves. All the good stuff that came from that mountain kitchen added layers of description for me. I could just picture Mammaw in there cooking for Ivy June and Catherine, the exchange student friend from the city. Those cookies she baked drew me into the brothers' afterschool day.
So I'm adding layers, details to my novel and think at least some will be food. In the South, where my manuscript is set, that's a good piece of what families are all about. Sitting down, enjoying the stories around the dinner table.
Bring on the fried chicken. Gravy made in a black skillet. Corn bread, too. I just can't forget the family eating Sunday dinner, their stories around that table.
Related posts: SCBWI Pt. 2: Phyllis Naylor
Eating Our Way Home