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BETTER WRITING TECHNIQUES: Describing Food

WORKSHOP: Describing the experience of food

Here is a guaranteed winner writing session. Easy to set up with huge payoffs. you simply arrive in class armed with a selection of fruit and vegetables. You can use anything, but a range is good. Some lemons or mandarins, celery, onions, carrots, strawberries… You are aiming for a range of smells, textures and tastes from sweet to sour to bitter. And something to use as a blindfold.

Blindfolded, deprived of the sense of sight, students must search for ways to describe their experience through their other senses. They have to find a vocabulary of description for the feel, smell and taste of each item.

The celery stalk was a green guitar neck. Smelling of carpet after rain.

The strawberry was an old man’s nose, cool in the winter’s air.

Thus we move away from descriptive language that merely identifies what things are and replaces it with language which brings to life in the imagination of the reader how things feel and play on our senses.

Hand a piece of food to the blindfolded student. Give them time to explore it, while a partner (or you) write down their responses, and ask:

TOUCH

Describe what you can feel.

What can you compare it to? It feels like…

What about if you touch it to your lips & tongue?

What does it make you think of? Remember? Imagine?

Take a risk – an “outside the square” response…




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