food is weird.
picture it: we take a seeds from a plant, a grass specifically, and hang them upside down for weeks. once properly dried, we separate them from pods so the individual seeds are loose.
then, we expose those dried seeds to extreme heat until the shell splits open and the soft insides burst out into puffy, light shapes.
once a year, these light and puffy shapes are made en masse for celebrations. they are further treated with coatings of liquified, almost-burned granules drawn out of grass fibers or heat-sprayed, curdled milk pumped by stimulating a lactating bovine’s udders.
like i said, weird.
i like caramel popcorn. a lot, actually. but it struck me how unexpected the product is. it’s not unusual that popcorn was discovered, cultivated, methodized, and whatnot. we’re a creative, adaptable species (and we love our heat-sprayed, curdled milk pumped by stimulating a lactating bovine’s udders).
somewhere in there is a bit of world-building about our own world. how we adapt to eat the food we can get, how we treat it to make it last in the winter months. how we as a society interact–during WWII shortages, popcorn replaced candy as a go-to treat, and to this day we consider popcorn a worthwhile, honored gift to share at Christmastime–ie, the beginning of winter.
there’s a lot of stories in there.
there are a lot of ways to use food in a fantasy world–the harvest tells a reader so much about the characters who eat the food — what food is harvested. how. when. where. why this and not that.
and then production and process are two wonderful cans of worms, if you’re inclined to open them. why these steps, why add this ingredient or introduce this element? is it a treat or a staple, coveted? and how does social class affect how this food is prepared, consumed, shared?
there’s survival. there’s thriving. there’s tradition.
there’s a story.