Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Writer's Tools, Cooking, Illustrated

Yesterday, on my blog, I wrote about how I use food history books in my writing. (I know I'm not the only contributor to this blog who does! ~grin~) Today, I'd like to illustrate.

I read about how some peoples had a brick or stone oven in the center of the room, and that, in cold areas, the oldest or weakest or, of course, strongest and most selfish would sleep there. So, in "Child of Ice, Child of Flame", published in Marion Zimmer Bradley's SWORD AND SORCERESS XXII, I threw this description in of the house to which the victorious warrior woman was led:
In the center of the room, a mud-brick charcoal-burning oven, the same general size and shape of the chests, was the bed of honor at this chilly altitude.

At this time of day, just before lattermeal, the oven fires were stoked and the bricks shimmered with heat.
Water is heated for the warrior's bath on that oven, and a quick meal for her journey is cooked (sketched in one line).

So my bit of research served to indicate a setting and a culture and a cuisine and, through ending the first line of the oven's description with "chilly altitude" and the second with "heat", echoed the story title and mirrored the juxtaposition of emotional coldness and emotional warmth central to the story as the oven is central to the room.


Marian Allen

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