Another creative writing prompt from Charity Hume!
Inspired by the buttery madeleine, Proust famously wrote Remembrance of Things Past, a novel that extends over several volumes, as the tastes and smells from a delicious food from his childhood began a chord of association that ultimately brought the whole of his personal history into his consciousness. Touched by food, the mind awakes.
While this creative writing exercise is not designed to begin an entire novel, you may be surprised at the wealth of associations food can awaken in your mind. Write down a list of some of the favorite foods or meals in your life. Include the people who prepared this food, the rooms where you remember tasting, smelling, sharing. Think of food you enjoyed as a child, the kind of comforts and indulgences that filled your mouth with joy. As the various memories emerge from the depths, let yourself tell a story about one of them, including descriptions of its preparation, the anticipation of waiting for it to arrive at the table, and the memory of some of the people who were there. Potentially, eating in a particular time and place can culminate in discovery, and act as an organizing motif in a story this food asks you to tell from beginning to end. This creative writing exercise can also work for food you did not enjoy. Tell the story of how you hid that calf’s liver in a napkin and hid it in a potted palm in order to escape the fate of having to swallow.