A Novel Meal

Copyright: Tina Ann Forkner

Doesn’t this look yummy? I love the memory this picture brings back of a lovely afternoon where I was the unlikely – and grateful – guest of honor. I also love that almost anyone can look at it and conjure up their own special, but completely unrelated, memories of past gatherings with family or friends. Or perhaps lack of them. There are so many stories you could put with this photo.  I LOVE the punch bowl!

The history behind this photo is that a dear woman in Welch, Oklahoma threw me a party back when Rose House was first released. How I came to know her is a wonderful and long story all its own, unfortunately too long for a simple blog post, but we shared some sweet connections that led to her hosting this party. Sadly she has passed away, but this photo is the inspiration for one of the scenes in a novel I am writing.

The scene in the novel isn’t the same as the scene of that party and the food is only a brush stroke of the whole picture, but the real life meal definitely influenced the fictional characters and events in my story. My readers will read the scene without any idea of what influenced it, but in their minds they will (I hope) relate to the scene by thinking about a personal moment from their own lives and be drawn deeper into the story.

In my first novel, Ruby Among Us, the character’s favorite cookie is the Mantecada made by her grandmother. While the recipe wasn’t inspired by a photo, some friends on the Laramie County Library Foundation in Cheyenne thought it would be fun to make Mantecadas for my book release party. You can see the beautiful results (and the recipe) at this link: Kitty’s Mantecada Cookies.

While I don’t offer a recipe for it, Rose House has some yummy descriptions of cake and appetizers at a garden wedding. I am not a gourmet chef anymore than I am a professional gardener, but I never let it stop me from adding those details to my stories.

What about you? Do you like to read about food in novels?  Does it matter to you what kind of cookie is your character’s favorite? Do you ever wish you had a recipe for a character’s favorite cake?  Give us examples, and recipes!


2 thoughts on “A Novel Meal

  1. Since my current attempt at completing a novel is about food addiction, I am sure at some point there will be favorite foods, trigger foods, etc. introduced.
    One of them is planned to be a fruit salad my grandmother used to make. It is a double-edged sword of good fruit, but high sugar that is very addicting.
    It was a family favorite that she made nearly every time we went to see her and my grandpa.
    Here ya’ go: (no measurements: she never used them!you just kind of eyeball your bowl and put in how much will fit!)
    Crisp, tart apples
    globe grapes, seeds out
    fresh pears
    maraschino cherries
    orange juice (she squeezed her own)


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