Sunday, October 16, 2011

#BAD11 -- Food in Alien Romances

I am proud to be taking part in Blog Action Day OCT 16 2011

Does anyone else find it ironic that the requested hashtags for today are #BAD11 and  #FOOD ?

Let me start with a disclaimer. I intended to blog about something else when I logged on this morning, but since October 16th is global Blog Action Day and also World Food Day, I'm showing up. Don't expect anything profound.

The strangest food that I ever ate (not counting a live worm when I was an infant, and which I do not recall eating; nor counting a small gob of a playful former boyfriend's snot that I mistook for a morsel of the porridge we happened to be eating at the time; nor counting ....well, such things aren't properly "food", are they?) might have been a cholla cactus in the flowering desert near Phoenix. Camelback area.

After I'd eaten it, the guide informed me that the flesh of the fruit is famous as both an aphrodisiac and a laxative. I used the experience in my first alien romance novel, Forced Mate. In that particular case, the food item was "BAD" in the sense of being truly evil, and something the hero feared.

I will leave fertile minds to boggle. Aphrodisiacs and laxatives don't mix.

However, food shortages can happen anywhere, and I think it is important to remember that some foods
have side-effects. Some people can eat certain foods because they have done so all their lives, and have built up an immunity. Do we think enough about the potential for food allergies in the MREs and other cheap and easy foods we send to disaster areas? Do we send emergency food rations that are appropriate? How far is it appropriate to include chemicals and artificial fillers in emergency rations sent to places where such chemicals are not in the local food supply?

In my own writing (of alien romances), I've touched lightly on alien food and survival techniques for people obliged to try an unfamiliar fruit for the first time. (Insufficient Mating Material is a marooned-on-an-alien-deserted-island story).

Mostly, if I need to add an alien flavor, I've combined the appearance and taste of exotic and everyday fruits and vegetables found on earth. I assume that on largescale space transporters, food would be organic, grown on recycled human waste, so there would be a lot of mushroom- and fungus- based culinary delights. Also tomatoes. Beans would probably need to be modified, but beans and rice are one of the world's most efficient foods. In Knight's Fork, I included a discussion of legume-growing on a space ark.

What have you done with regard to alien food in your own writings?

Someone else's blog discovered via #BAD11

Blog Action Day's suggested topics are also great worldbuilding/plot/conflict thought starters.
Some topics suggestions for your Blog Action Day post.
  •   My favorite food
  •   The famine in East Africa
  •  To be organic or not to be, that is the question.
  • Hunger and poverty.
  •  Best and worst food memory
  •  Slow Food, Fast Food: What does it actually mean
  • Malnutrition
  • Conflict over Food: Will new wars be about arable land?
  • Is your hamburger hurting the environment?
    It takes 24 liters of water to produce one hamburger. That means it would take over 19.9 billion liters of water to make just one hamburger for every person in Europe.
  • Vegan, Vegetarian, Meat eater – Which one are you and why?
  • Trading in the future of food. What is the impact of food speculation?
  • Will we be able to feed 9 billion people in 2050?
  • How does Fair Trade food help farmers and communities get out of poverty?
  •  Freeganism  – eating the things others throw away.
  • The scandal of food waste.
  • What is the best way to farm food?
  • Growing your own – the joys and heartache of growing what you eat?
  • Too much or too little taking food to extremes.
  • Strangest thing you have ever eaten.
  • What food means to your culture.

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