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I suppose this is becoming the month of lists for me. I have already tackled the summer reading list and the play list. So I have been thinking of what other sort of lists I could do that are fun and interesting. I could do lists of interesting names – names to use or not to use in a story; places – as is landscapes and landmarks in stories, perhaps even the cliched sorts of places like that city on a hill or the village that is always by that river; or list of music to listen to while reading/writing – I know we have done that before but everyone has their own favorite play list which is always evolving (I’m listening to the Hobbit soundtrack now!). However, when I think of summer I think of and lists, I think almost immediately to food, most notably fresh produce. I think of farmer’s markets and canning and fresh summertime salads.
You may be wondering what does lists of fresh produce have to do with writing…in a word, everything.
So here is my list for today: Reasons why fresh produce has everything to do with writing/reading.
- The Farmers’ Market – not only is it a marvelous place to set events for a story, it is a great place to visit and get ideas for your story and, of course, get fresh produce like strawberries and herbs. The Farmers’ Market is place of gossip and greens. Even now the market is a place were people from all walks of life come to buy and sell goods. It is like a miniature fair with vendors booths, jugglers - I kid you not there was a boy juggling at the market on Saturday – and a host of goods from stain glass to flowers and everything in between. Looking back at my experiences at the market, I have a better appreciation for those sorts of places when it comes to writing and I have a starting point for creating such a setting and characters.
Canning – I know it is not normal in this modern day and age, but canning is a marvelous way for preserving said fresh produce from the Farmers’ Market. This month Melissa has been looking at cliches and problems with in Fantasyland and I’d like to point out that canning and the Farmers’ Market are two such things that can add realism to your story. One of my favorite things to can is jam. This weekend it was strawberry jam – strawberries are in season. Ok, so I make jam, what does that have to do with writing? Feeding the imagination and the author. I must say, nothing helps me write better in the summertime than a nice glass of ice tea and fresh bread with jam. Also, that jam and bread or fresh salad is good to eat while enjoying a good book on the back porch. The options are limitless…
- Seasonal Foods – I love to add details about meals and things. In story that I am working on presently, I have created a world that has several large markets throughout the year. I am careful to make sure that the food items that are being sold make sense with the seasons. I talk about how in the winter and spring markets have a lot of canned goods or the sorts of vegetables that store well during the winter, like winter squash, beets, potatoes and other tubers. Having grown up on a farm and going to farmers’ markets, nothing throws me off more in a story then when there are things that just don’t make sense about the vegetation and what is being grown. Apples and strawberries do not ripen at the same time. There are spring greens and greens that mature in the summer time. Green beans ripen before corn does. These are little things and to be honest climate and landscape will change the growing season.
Well I hope you enjoyed my little list of reasons why fresh produce has everything to do with writing/reading.
What are your favorite summer time foods?