Wordy Wednesday

In carrying forward yesterday’s cooking theme, today’s post explores food words. Certain foods instantly evoke a sense of history — I was quite thankful not to have lived in Elizabethan England, as did Karen Cushman’s Meggy Swann (Alchemy and Meggy Swann), where eel pies were de rigeur!


and I’m back in pedal pushers and saddle shoes, walking up to Lee’s Grocery from my grandparents’ house for the tasty treat. Skybars — my mom’s favorite childhood treat — played a role in my forthcoming book (The Fences Between Us, Scholastic, September) And there would have been no small adventures for Popeye without Yoo-Hoo (The Small Adventures of Popeye and Elvis, Barbara O’Connor)

Food and drink help to convey a sense of place, too. Sweet tea seems inexorably Southern; soda, (rather than pop) East Coast and, in my mind, Frangos will always belong to that Seattle institution, Frederick and Nelson, no matter what the label says!

Food can make us curious — just what are bangers and mash? How about blueberry slump? — and wary — I still cringe when I read about a child being dosed with cod liver oil.

I’m curious. How do you use food and beverage words in your writing? What do they do for a story, do you think? Share your tastiest examples!

No Responses to “Wordy Wednesday”

  1. Barbara O'Connor

    Oh, I love Fizzies. Had forgotten all about them. Do you remember those flavor straws that you put in milk and stir around?

    As for writing, as a “Southern” writer, food is important to help evoke that Southern aura. Boiled peanuts are a must.

  2. Toby Speed

    I use foods and beverages to show a sense of place or character. In the novel I’m writing, everyone eats a lot of bagels and pizza (I’m on Long Island, NY). One of my characters practically lives on Fluffernutter sandwiches. I chose it to show that her tastes are pretty unsophisticated, and she has no patience for cooking! And I never heard of Skybars before – will have to look them up. Good post!

  3. Kirby Larson

    Barbara — does one boil the peanuts in the shell or out?

    Toby — it sounds tasty, but what is Fluffernutter?