World Building: Food

A break from the adventure in Living Stone

In deference to Thanksgiving, I want to write about how food shows quite a bit about the culture and geography in your world. I have often spoken about how I write a detailed synopsis of someone’s day in my authors notes with a specific focus on breakfast and other meals.


Do they eat simple cuisine or rich fair? Why? Because what a person eats gives you socio-economic status or their rank in a family. What spices do they use? Are they readily available either because they are close by or due to ease of transportation. What is easy to grow in the region of their world? What is imported or exported? How available is sugar?

How is it cooked? On an open fire or in a stove? How is the stove fueled? Is the stove also the main heat source in the house? What tools are necessary in order to create such a dish? Perhaps the characters don’t cook–do they eat out at restaurants, have servants or family members to cook for them?

Finally consider what diseases do they suffer do to the lack of food? Or eating unhealthily?

All of my titles show food being consumed at least in the background. In Other Systems, the menu that Abby consumes is directly related to where she is in the Universe.

Da and Ma had made sure their children never went hungry, but growing up with them had brought a certain degree of monotony to the food. On Kipos, Abby felt a fear of constant scarcity due to her limited diet, but on the Revelation a stocked kitchen was available to her. The large, cold pantry was full of meats, fish, cheeses, eggs, dairy products, fruits, and vegetables. The dry pantry had oils, spices, sugar, cereals, and pastas. Whatever she used was added to the inventory, which was updated continuously. The list would be sent ahead the day before they landed on Kipos. When the computer recorded the jump in milk and juice consumption, she was worried, but Brian said both were cheaper and better for her than coffee. Mark added, “Especially because the Revelation has four coffee addicts aboard.”

How could she not feel safe?   (Excerpt from page 222-223)

In Faminelands and Lure, food is often a breaking moment between action sequences. In Out for Souls&Cookies, food is often in the background though in Book 3: Rosie does spits out a vegan dog with the complaint that poodles are carnivorous!

Now much of this might stay in author notes, but some of it might end up in the finished work.

2 responses to this post.

  1. A very interesting post – and if i’m honest, not something I’ve ever thought of prolifically before. Hmm food for thought me thinks ….


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