EXERCISE Eating

Discussion in 'DEVELOPING CHARACTERS & CULTURES' started by Diana, May 8, 2013.

  1. Whether you are roleplaying or writing a story, at some point you characters are going to be having meals. This might be while camping, traveling in cities, sitting down with a familiar or friends, strangers in another land, royal banquets. Because food is a basic necessity, food and the rituals of eating become a huge part of any society or culture!


    In this exercise, write out how your culture approaches eating and meals.

    Some things to consider:

    - How does the average family approach meals? Who does the cooking? Do they sit down together? Is there any special rules for male vs females eating together? Children? Is there an order or status for seating? Does someone get fed first and then the others eat?

    - What are the common foods for the average person/family? What would be considered "poor people" food? What are foods considered "rich people" food?

    - What are the meals like for royalty or ruling class like? Do they have fancy banquets? Multiple courses?

    - How do this culture treat guests when it comes to meals?

    - Are there any foods this culture NEVER eats because of personal, religious, or other reasons?

    - What are the meals themselves like? The sort of spices used? Common drinks or flavors?

    - Where do people have their meals? At a table? Bar? On the floor with pillows? Hanging from the ceiling? Chasing down a cow in the woods?
     
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  2. In my culture, the average family likely sits down and has their meals outside at a hawker center. The center, being a place where meals are easily purchasable with plenty of variety and prices, is commonly bustling with life ....of a sorts. You see, like any lively place it is noisy, bright and crowded. But unlike any lively place, there is not much going on besides the movement of food down your throat.

    There is no seating order to speak, whoever sits whevever and as long as it's on a chair -there's no law broken! However, I've only spoken for the average family so far - on an average day.

    When money starts raining from up there or you just have too much cash to throw around, you can experience dining at a restaurant. Now restaurant here means a whole different meaning than restaurant elsewhere. Here, we don't speak of casual food with wine and fine dining. Nonono, we speak of marble plates, silver embroided tablecloths and food so delicately prepared you'd think they were making art itself. There's wine, of course, at the price where the cheapest would cost you an arm and a leg ....or more.

    This is what you might consider food for the rich folk or royalty but in truth, as long as one is hungry enough to fork out the required amount of cash, no food will be barred from your palate. This is the culture here.


    However, religion is strangely the more restricting of society's influence on culinary experience here. There are many who do not eat flesh of a cow, flesh at all or even of some other animal. Odd cultic symbols paint the logos of some of these stores, representing their lack of pork. Sometimes they even so much as isolate themselves and try to shame others who do consider pork food. It rarely gets too out of hand but there are many, many cases where it does. Perhaps they have too much respect for the swine?


    Nonetheless we still live despite this annoyance, thriving in the art of cuisine in spite of certain religion's spiteful opinions. Chilli, however, is universally accepted here. In fact, it's the most used spice out of the plethora available in this strange nation. Pepper being the second most popular. Now I will not exaggerate when I say this, people give you weird looks if you tell them you do not like chilli. With that in mind you can now imagine how most meals here are like. Now, prepare your tongue.


    Can you guess where I live?
     
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  3. - How does the average family approach meals? Who does the cooking? Do they sit down together? Is there any special rules for male vs females eating together? Children? Is there an order or status for seating? Does someone get fed first and then the others eat: Children eat first then the older members. People eat from youngest to oldest. The parents cook together until the children enter their teen years then they cook for the family.

    - What are the common foods for the average person/family? What would be considered "poor people" food? What are foods considered "rich people" food: Common people food are just the regular and common foods that grow throughout most places as well as meats of the more common animals that are easier to kill. Poor people food wouldn't have any meats included since they cost a bit more than usual thanks to the giant animals being hard to kill. Rich people food though? That would be food made from plants like the highly deadly melting sun flower (mentioned in Poisonous Plants thread) or the song stopper fruit (mentioned in Create A Forest thread) along with meats of rare animals like the haven bird and the silver leopard lizard. (both mentioned in Create A Forest thread)

    - What are the meals like for royalty or ruling class like? Do they have fancy banquets? Multiple courses: Royalty eat in multiple courses yes. Lunch consists of first course which is basically appetizers. Main course which is the meats and starches, then the last course which is the fruits and vegetables. The same with dinner but then there is the forth course, deserts.

    - How do this culture treat guests when it comes to meals: Guests eat first, even before the children.

    - Are there any foods this culture NEVER eats because of personal, religious, or other reasons: The meat of any sentient being. If it is smart enough to talk it can not be eaten.

    - What are the meals themselves like? The sort of spices used? Common drinks or flavors: It varies with the meal. Breakfast is usually sweet with only sweet things to help wake you up. Lunch is usually spicy foods to kick you into gear and keep you going. And dinner is neutral flavors like meats and breads.

    - Where do people have their meals? At a table? Bar? On the floor with pillows? Hanging from the ceiling? Chasing down a cow in the woods: At a table with chairs, that much is the same as the real world.
     
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  4. - How does the average family approach meals? Who does the cooking? Do they sit down together? Is there any special rules for male vs females eating together? Children? Is there an order or status for seating? Does someone get fed first and then the others eat?

    Anybody could do the cooking. In my family, it's normally either of my parents with the help of one of my siblings, but as the eldest of four, I have to cook some meals. Many of my friends also cook for their family, and most students learn to cook at school.
    Families sit together at the table for all meals. Sometimes the parents may eat after the children.
    There are no gender specific rules for meals in my family, and I couldn't think of any rule another Australian family would have
    We normally just all sit in the closest seat. First people at the table can get the 'better seats'.
    Some families say a prayer before eating, being thankful for their food. In my Atheist family, we start eating when the food lands on the table!


    - What are the common foods for the average person/family? What would be considered "poor people" food? What are foods considered "rich people" food?

    Barbecues and roasts are common in Australian families. Foods like steak, sausages and potatoes are very popular. For wealthier people, there are more expensive meats, generally the boneless ones. Seafood is also somewhat pricey.
    For poorer people, it's microwave dinners and two minute noodles.


    - What are the meals like for royalty or ruling class like? Do they have fancy banquets? Multiple courses?

    Prime Ministers I can imagine eat better than most Australians, but they can have fairly normal meals with families. They are invited to dinner parties by companies, and our last Prime Minister once got a sandwich thrown at her head. People were talking about that particular incident for months.

    - How do this culture treat guests when it comes to meals?

    When guests are over, it's mostly barbecues or roasts. When I think of having guests for dinner, I imagine everyone sitting around a table on the lawn while my dad barbecues steaks and pumpkin.


    - Are there any foods this culture NEVER eats because of personal, religious, or other reasons?

    Not too many I can think of. There are many Catholics, and they don't eat meat on Good Friday or the Friday before Easter.
    There is also a large event called the 40 Hour Famine, which is giving up food, talking, technology or furniture for 40 hours to raise money for World Vision. When giving up food, you can only have water and barley sugar.
    Australia is also full of vegetarians and vegans. I myself have a vegan friend. Our family doesn't eat veal because we believe it's cruel to slaughter calves.


    - What are the meals themselves like? The sort of spices used? Common drinks or flavours?

    Meals are usually a balance of meat, vegetables and bread/chips.
    Salt is used a lot. So are herbs. Herbs are used on salads, potatoes, schnitzels and most meals in restaurants.
    Water or soft drink is at most dinner tables. My family is always drinking milk. There is always a carton at the dinner table. Honestly, we go through more milk than anybody else I've ever met. We polish off at least a litre a day. At least.


    - Where do people have their meals?

    At the table, or for some families, in front of the television. My dad sometimes watches the footy (Aussie Rules, not Soccer) or cricket, but other than that, we don't use our TV. Our meals are always at the table together.


    So. Yeah. That's Aussie eating habits for you:)
     
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