Let your Characters Eat and Pee!

A confession: I generally don’t read best sellers unless given copies which isn’t that often.  For example, the last best seller to land in my hands wasThe th-1DaVinci Code by Dan Brown which I found to be an interesting, albeit fast read (some of the chapters are only a page and half long and they all end in a cliff hanger) but my first thought upon reaching the last page was:  “Holy Crap! Don’t these characters ever get hungry or have to pee?”


Street food in Paris – a croque monsieur – who could possibly resist?

I wouldn’t make a very good Dan Brown heroine. No man on earth could drag me around Paris without stopping for something to eat – I don’t care how many murderous religious zealots were chasing us.

Which brings me to the topic of today’s blog – food.

There must be eight zillion food bloggers out there. Some are deadly serious, others seem to be trying to out silly each other.  For example:

  • Kaffekokarkokboken. Visit this blog if you own only a coffee pot and yet want to make goulash.
  • Thug Kitchen“Eat like you give a fuck.”  Their motto reveals what you’ll be getting into!
  • The Food Whore,  “Food I lust complete with recipes.”  Such beautiful photos that you’ll want to be a food whore too.

All three of the above blogs have catchy titles but are actually very serious about their recipes.  However, I’m not sure about these two: Ugly Food and Cakewrecks. I’d pass on them unless you have a hankering for barbecued bat and hideous looking cake!

I’ve resisted the urge to blog about food, only giving into temptation a few times:

Joel's pumpkin pie - he makes three of them at Thanksgiving and doesn't share.

Joel’s pumpkin pie – he makes three of them at Thanksgiving and doesn’t share.

  • In Oyster Stuffing Blues I complain about traditional Thanksgiving foods, including oyster stuffing and mincemeat pie. My inspiration was the smell of the pumpkin pie permeating the house.


And I’ve already mentioned My Life in Tuna Noodle Casserole, one of my most viewed blogs for all the wrong reasons!

Food is a part of life unless of course you’re Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu. (the hero and heroine of The DaVinci Code) My advice to any writer out there is to let your characters eat and pee!  Your readers will appreciate it.




6 thoughts on “Let your Characters Eat and Pee!

  1. Jan, you make a great argument. When I first ready The Da Vinci Code, the non-stop pace of the characters actually made me have to pee. Or maybe that had more to do with not being able to put the book down…

    Anyhow, from an author’s standpoint, I think the addition of food to a novel can add a layer of interest – as long as you don’t linger over it too much. What food does one character binge in when they’re stressed? What does another character cook up to feed a friend that’s hurting? Or even in terms of where the characters gather, like at a local coffee shop if you’re talking Seattle, that serves warm scones.

    Thank you for your fascinating post!

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