Prepared by: Florence Cardinal
Posted on: Sun, 24 Jun 2001
Reposted on: Sun, 30 Nov 2003
Reposted on: Sat, 19 Jun 2004
This exercises marks a milestone - this is
exercise number 25 since
we started back in January. (If I had any doubts back then as to
this list would work, well, those doubts are long gone!)
We've covered most of the senses, but this
week, let's concentrate
taste. We'd like you to describe a special meal. This can be a meal
you've eaten in a restaurant, in a friend's home, or one you've
yourself. Or it can be a meal one of your characters would eat. What
sensations go with that meal, and what emotions might be revealed?
Remember, though, that a great many things
enter into our enjoyment
food. All the senses come into play. So don't just shove a fork full
of the meal down our throats. Let us experience it thoroughly, through
all five of the senses.
As an example, what if you were describing
dinner at a friend's home. You walk in the door, and, right after your
host takes your coat (or even before) what greets you? The aromas!
Roasting turkey, onions, sage. Perhaps the spicy scent of baking
You hear the laughter of children, voices
raised in greeting, the
of silverware and crystal as the table is set. Perhaps soft music plays
on the stereo. Take a look in the dining room at a table set with the
best china and sparkling glasses. Perhaps a centerpiece of fall
flowers, pine cones, autumn leaves. A crisp white tablecloth almost
buried beneath the sumptuous feast.
After you're seated, your host opens a
bottle of wine. You hear the
cork, then the sounds of the wine being poured into a glass. Bubbles
sparkle in the golden wine. You take a sip, it feels cold on your
tongue. Someone passes you a dish of corn, and it's hot, almost burning
And finally, after all the other senses,
there's taste. The tang of
onions and sage, corn on the cob, dripping with butter, sweet and
succulent squash, smooth mashed potatoes and brown gravy tingling your
mouth with peppery herbs. A side dish of celery attracts your
attention. Listen to the crisp crunch as you bite into it. As a final
touch - hot pumpkin pie garnished with a scoop of cold ice cream. Taste
it. Feel it on your tongue.
I've only skimmed the surface of this
meal, just to give you an
of what we'd like you to write about.
Now think of other situations - what would
the last meal of a man
to be executed taste like, however delicious the food might be? How
about the first meal in days of someone hungry, however poor the fare?
So here's the exercise. In 300 words or
less, describe a special
Through it, without any other indications, give us a clue of the
character(s)'s emotions at the time.
When critiquing a submission, pay
attention to the sensory detail,
tell us what impression you got of what was happening to the
Florence Cardinal's wrap-up
Posted on: Sun, 1 Jul 2001
What a "tasty" collection of SUBS for this
exercise, everything from
course meal eaten in splendor to a Big Mac as a convict's final meal to
I noted several subs that equated food
with sexual ideas. This
remind us of just how closely one appetite is to the other in the mind
This exercise also prods the memory to
recall events of the past and
them into other memories of things tasted, smelled and seen by the
subconscious. So often a vagrant aroma will awaken a whole memory that
long been forgotten.
We must remember this in our writing as
well. When we describe
aromas and things of the other senses, they may not bring the same type
memories to life for our readers. For instance, where the aroma of
onions may evoke memories of the Midway or a sumptuous Thanksgiving
for you, the same aroma may bring back memories of a greasy meal in a
diner, perhaps eaten during a meeting with an illicit lover. Perhaps
memory of being the victim of a mugger.
What can you do about it? Not much,
really, except keep it in mind
someone is less than appreciative of a scene you have written. Perhaps
awakened something unpleasant in his or her subconscious.
All in all, everyone succeeded to some
extent with this exercise.
Florence Cardinal's wrap-up
Posted on: December 9, 2003
A great lot of submissions. Made me
hungry. And such variety - from
religious to the sacrilegious. Even one about a dog.
All in all, you have done well. Some of
the tasted weren't all that
pleasant to the taste buds - or the imagination, and that's as it
The majority of the critiques were brief
and to the point, letting
know how the submitted exercises 'tasted' to them.
I'll mark this down as a success. Thanks
to all who participated.
Web site created by
Rhéal Nadeau and
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Modified by Gayle Surrette.