Writing About Food and Recipes

Below is the preface to Dr. Dar's Freewriting Prompts book, Writing about Food.


Dr. Dar's Freewriting Prompts - Writing about Food


Besides its necessity for survival, food is wrapped into many of our deepest rituals, wrapped into times of sorrow and moments of joy, into weddings, funerals, first dates, break-ups, baseball games, road trips, and holidays. Furthermore, food engages our senses in profound ways. Think of the smell of popcorn, the sticky feel of bread dough, the sight of the bakery window lined with flamboyant cakes, the crunch of a corn chip, the taste of . . . most anything. Combine those senses with the most significant events in our lives and you will find memory and story.

I grew up in some of the food borderlands of the twentieth century American South, between the mill village café my grandfather ran, the pans of biscuits my grandmother baked daily, the rooted influence of indigenous and African cultures, the coming popularity of foods from other nations, my mother’s own disavowal—in the context of the women’s movement—of cooking as a measure of her motherhood, and the onslaught of processed and fast food. The stories surrounding these prompts reflect my history, but are intended to evoke your own stories around food.

Prompts, I believe, should do what storytelling around a fire or a kitchen table does—raise other stories, stories that build upon one another, that either tease out those moments we had forgotten or give room to those stories we have told over and again because in some mysterious way they define us.

Share your stories, write them down, leave them for your descendants (even those living centuries away in time). Speak to the generations, give them the details so that they will be able to experience your life at this moment in history as if it were their own. Explain to the ancestors, let them know you understood . . . or that you don’t. Either way, share their stories, too.

If writing in a community is helpful to you (we believe in the motto “because sometimes a little community helps”), then invite friends or family over and write around the table or go to a coffeehouse or library. Maybe you want to sit outdoors with the trees or curled up with your cat. However you choose to write, know that your story matters because your life matters, your time here on earth matters. And know that your story helps the rest of us to understand our own.

~Darlene O'Dell


You can purchase the hard copy exercise book from Amazon here.

You can purchase a pdf of the prompts here.

Also - remember that we are offering our online course, Creating a Recipe Storybook, at a special price this month only. We will walk you through all the steps of creating your own book, including how to publish it with Mixbook. This is also a great gift for someone whose recipes and stories you would love to be saved!

Here's what one of our students said:

"When I subscribed to this class I contacted my family for recipe/food ideas... it opened so many warm and funny conversations... the process that the class guided me through was a way to reconnect around cherished memories... the writing prompts brought back many stories that had been forgotten ... and they made access to putting it all in a book easy and affordable… I highly recommend this class."  

~Jeanie, Brevard, NC

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