Monday, October 24, 2016

Memories of Food Make Good Stories

If you're looking for new story ideas, consider family recipes or favorite family foods. We all seem to have stories that revolve around the things we eat. Some are warm and joyful stories while others describe a disaster of some sort.

You can incorporate food stories into a section of a memoir. Or write a specific memoir piece about a special cake your mother always made for birthdays in your family. Maybe your dad had a specialty item he fixed on the grill with a lot of pomp and circumstance along with it. How about the Christmas candy your grandmother always made? Or the popcorn your Grandfather drowned in butter for you? 

You can base a short story on some of the recipes or food items from your childhood. Use that as a base and enlarge upon it for your story making it more fiction than fact. One of my favorite stories from way back was about a boy named Homer Price and the disaster he had with a doughnut machine that wouldn't stop making doughnuts. It was a funny story but maybe it was based on something the author, Robert McCloskey, had witnessed as a kid. Then again, it may have come from his own vivid imagination. Either way, food stories always seem to be a hit with kids or grown-ups. We can all relate to food in some way.

Another idea is to write for a food magazine, using one of your family recipes that has a story attached to it. There are many possibilities in this field but you need to check the markets and their guidelines. 

Our Kansas City newspaper features a local person's recipe one day each week. There is nearly always a family story that goes along with the recipe. Some are especially interesting. 

I've written a few stories about foods we ate in my family. One is titled Love On A Plate. It's about some marvelous date muffins my grandmother baked when she visited us. She would make them for lunch and that would be all we ate, one still warm and luscious muffin after another, smothered in real butter and downed with a glass of milk. We waited for a Muffin Day whenever Grandma came to see us in Chicago after she'd moved to Phoenix. You can read the story here.

Another food story I wrote that has been popular was featured in a Chicken Soup for the Soul that used chocolate as its theme. My story about my mom's fudge has been featured other places, too. I was in third grade and volunteered to bring fudge for the school Christmas party. I had no idea that other people did not eat fudge with spoons like we did at my house. No one ever told me that my mother couldn't make fudge that hardened no matter how much she beat it. Not ever! What happened that fateful Christmastime is a story we still laugh about today. After several batches of fudge that was way too soft, my mother sent me to school with the gooey candy and 21 spoons. The kids loved it! 

Delve back into your memory or maybe your mom's old recipe box to see what you can find to use for a new story. Whether it is fiction based on your factual story or a creative fiction piece highlighting the true story of many years ago, see what you can come up with. 

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