This is a difficult confession to make. After all, I live in San Francisco, a foodie's paradise. Knowing which restaurants are new and popular is an important city skill: one which I do not possess. Oh, I faked it for the two years I sat next to a foodie at work, but that didn't last. And I never went to the places my friend talked about. Please don't tell anyone, but I am not a foodie.
You see, I have a love-hate relationship with food. I'd give it up entirely if I could. Figuring out rather late in life how to eat healthy, nutritious food instead of mac-n-cheese and fruit pies is embarassing, darn it! So when it comes to my characters, I almost never have them eat.
It just slows down the action.
That said, I have had an experience of foodie heaven. On my one and only trip to Paris, my husband and I ate at the Jules Verne, a very lovely restaurant nestled in the middle of the Tour Eiffel. That night was truly magical. At least five different people brought things to our table, small things with gorgeous colors and delicate or bold flavors. Froths of things you didn't know could be frothed delighted us.
Somehow, the host knew my name, and called out "Mrs. Berry?" in lovely French-accented English. He pulled me and my husband out of a small crowd of people and bustled us onto a 19th Century elevator for the ride up to the middle level of the tower. We've never felt so welcomed, so valued as customers. The staff made our night magical.
We opened and closed that restaurant. They paced things so that my husband and I had time for magical, wine-fueled conversations about the past and the future, literature, movies, and comic books. I'm pretty sure at one point we figured out World Peace--but then the rustic rolls basket came back around and we forgot all about everything but dinner.
I'm pretty sure, at some point, I'll write the dickens out of a food scene. It'll move the story forward, reveal character, reinforce the theme and help prove the premise. Until the day I need that scene, though, I'm much more likely to send my characters off the page to eat.
What do you think? Do you have to see characters eat to believe they are real?