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014 Ten Ideas to Kickstart your Food Writing

Updated: Nov 9, 2021

Have you always wanted to write about food, but did not know where to start. Here are 10 ideas to get you rolling...

1. Vintage Advertisements

Look up vintage food posters like the one displayed above. Describe what you see. What was her day like? What is she going to make with the tomatoes? She is using two pressure cookers and a two burner gas stove.

2. Activate your sense of smell

Smell an aromatic ingredient (cloves, mint, freshly baked bread). Describe your emotions and memories in relationship to that scent.

3. Politics and Food

Describe a political movement through food. See the article on Poppy Seeds and The Great Bengal Famine in the Whetstone South Asia journal.

4. Visual Art and Food

Find a painting you love, and write about the food in context with the painting. @historyeats showcases unusual food stories through paintings. @theheritagelab makes hilarious memes from Indian art archives.

5. Kitchen Equipment

Identify a piece of equipment in your kitchen - a fork, a stone pestle and mortar. Describe what sounds it makes. Describe its particular history - how did it come to be in your kitchen - was it inherited, was it bought?

6. Travels of an Ingredient

Find out how a particular spice has traveled the world. Hear the Beyond Masala podcast by @keithsarasin and @thirdculturecooks.

7. Food in Books

Pick up your favourite fiction novel / children’s book and examine the food in it. Remember Enid Blyton’s elaborate picnics?

8. Family Rituals and Celebrations

Does your family eat masala dosas every Sunday? Or always cook pecan pie for Thanksgiving? Describe your family rituals and how they came into being.

9. An Ode to a Fruit

Pick up your favourite fruit. See it. Feel it. Describe it. Cut it open. Smell it. Taste it slowly. Describe the smell, the taste, the texture in your mouth.

10. Profile a person related to food

This could be a farmer, a home-cook, or even the check out person at your local supermarket. I always wanted to write a piece about the ragged old lady who sells roasted corn at the corner of Cubbon Park in Bangalore.

@historycoolkids did a fantastic piece on Nathan Handwerke, a hotdog seller in Little Italy, New York.

If you liked these ideas, please do share.

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