Food is an interesting subject to write about. We all need to eat, but how and when is circumstantial. A character I’m writing right now demonstrates his love for his wife (one of 2 main characters) by cooking her favorite dish, pasta primavera. Sounds simple, right? Yeah, that’s what I thought, too. Then I looked up a recipe. And another. And another. Who knew there were so many variations? Down the rabbit hole I went. Cream-based sauces, tomato-based sauces, no sauce at all. Researching recipes, I noticed patterns among the people sharing them. The ingredients say a lot about a person’s geolocation (sauce preferences) and the time of year (based on which veggies to include). Then there’s the motivation – why is pasta primavera this character’s favorite meal? The recipe can be easy or elaborate. It can be a full meal itself, a main course, or a side dish.
The choices I make as I describe the meal, literally just a few sentences in a quiet scene, speaks volumes about the character. Describing food is almost like a writing prompt I remember from high school, “What’s in your main character’s pocket?”
You’ll have to wait and see which choices I made for my character. Meanwhile, I thought it would be fun to share my own recipe. This serves 4:
2 cups of penne pasta per person
1 bunch broccoli
2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of pine nuts, chopped
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
3 Matina tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup peas
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan
Can you guess the time of year by the recipe?