14.30: Eating Your Way to Better Worldbuilding

Your Hosts: Piper, DongWon, Amal, and Maurice

We like food, and we like to talk about food. Our hosts this week talk about how this influences their fiction, (not to mention how incredibly complex [and interesting, and delicious] the subject is.)

Credits: this episode was recorded by Howard Tayler, and mastered by Alex Jackson 


Imagine a fictional meal. Describe its history and provenance. Work that into the story.

A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Game of Thrones Companion Cookbook, by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sarian Lehrer, with an introduction by George R. R. Martin

11 thoughts on “14.30: Eating Your Way to Better Worldbuilding”

  1. Thank you for this! Perfect timing too. I’m prepping for a food discussion panel in fantasy books. I’ll be checking out the podcast too.

  2. Since Samwise also found potatoes they’d be OK. You only get trapper’s starvation if you don’t add any carbs to your rabbit meal.
    Of course, by the time they were done they *were* pretty starved too.

  3. Funny thing that i just yesterday spent like half a day reading abt staple food and food origin and making notes. Also i’m not native English speaker, so half of the time i was hopping between google translate and wikipedia to check if i know this food in my native language or if we even have a word for that. Like, we don’t have specific word for plantains, just bananas. In fact I didn’t even know what plantains are until i checked this recently.
    In my stories i describe usually multicultural regions so i need the knowledge of all those foods but i personally really dislike cooking so in most cases my characters just don’t eat on-screen… Sometimes i forget to feed myself not to mention my characters. But yeah, your podcast made a very good point that food is a big element of our culture and sometimes familiar food is sth we take for granted and notice only if it disappears, so if i ever want to show multicultural world or people traveling far away i need to include food.

  4. I should point out that If you are writing secondary world fantasy, potatoes don’t mean sea travel. They could just be native to the part of the world that the characters are in.

  5. Also, I’ve been enjoying the “Farm to Taber” podcast. It’s funny how quickly my search engine will find it, even thought I did not know how to spell Taber at first.
    Thanks for the recommendation!
    I suggest adding it to the links below the podcast.

  6. Rabbit stew and Hobbits, just a point, hobbits are not humans so rabbit may not be a problem for them, I hypothesis that hobbits were morphed from the entwives. Tom Bombadil knows the song for them and changed their tune. I leave it to the reader to piece together the evidence;)

  7. The fantastic foursome, Piper J. Drake, Dongwon Song, Amal El-Mohtar, and Maurice Broaddus, got together to chew the fat somewhere at sea on the Writing Excuses Retreat 2018. Food and worldbuilding and fantasy and science fiction… who could ask for a better dish than that! Read all about it in the transcript available in the archives!

  8. “Consider the Fork” is a good companion book for this podcast, too. It discusses the effect of kitchen-related technology and culture on our foods, both past and present

  9. This has been one of my favorite topics so far. It fits into the piece I’m working right now with a big feast celebration. The panel gave me a lot to think about and the writing prompt has been helpful in developing the scene in more depth and more background and giving more back story to the event.

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