What exactly do aliens eat??
Welcome back to Elle's Kitchen. Some of you are working on novels for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and if those novels are set on other planets or perhaps on a future Earth, or feature alien or fantasy species, then I have some points for you to consider...
If you have ever met a Trekkie or a Whovian, you'll know that science fiction and fantasy fans are the most passionate...and the most critical of errors. Let's not forget Star Wars fans, who have been known to pore over detailed schematics of space ships. These fans need and want the details. The very fact that there is a list on the internet of all food and drink consumed in the Lord of the Rings trilogy confirms that I am right. Did J R R Tolkein ever imagine that one day the world would share and discuss his books in such detail? Unlikely. But the fact is, the level of detail and preparation on his part meant that even the average reader (those not quite so fanatic) saw his world more vividly, and found it more realistic and believable. That's what you want for your readers.
The food available depends on a number of factors. Meat must come from beasts that live in that world. If your cattle are seven horned wartsnogglers, then perhaps wartsnoggler steaks are on the menu. If you don't have sheep on your world, then I would suggest lamb is much harder to come by! Vegetables will depend on climate (and imagination). If your world is iced over, then how do they grow fruit? Perhaps they use hydroponics and have imported or genetically modified their fruit and vegetables to adapt, but only you as the author can know if this is the case.
Technology on your world will also play a part. Do they have the ability to materialise food of any description using a machine? Has food been condensed to a daily pill, or daily drink, and meals are a thing of the past? Perhaps your species has evolved to the point where they only consume liquids, or perhaps they absorb nutrients in some other way.
While these things might seem to be a minor consideration when compared to plot, character sketches, and all those other 'big' things....they do make a difference. Just ask a Tolkeinite.
Have you ever heard of a Centurian skink? Me neither, or at least, not until I found one on the menu in hbar 's novel.
'Still watching me she continued, “Stump, I think you will find fresh strawberries in the last cryo-bin on your left and a fresh bottle of Rogue’s Rum on the shelf directly behind you.”
“We have no cryo-bins in here, Ms. the Minx,” I said rather stiffly.
“Uh, Boss? There are six cryo-bins here… and there are strawberries where she says, and Pluto peaches in this one, and Procyon payapa and something green…”
“Kiwis, Stump,” Punita said.
“…Kiwis and Cygni-6 celery and Centaurian Skinks!”
As my jaw hit the table I managed to exclaim, “Skinks? Centaurian Skinks!” My eyes bugged out, I looked from Ms. the Minx to Stump, “Who’s paying for this?'
very thankful 's novel includes such culinary delights as unicorn blood, troll steak and water nymph sticks.
'Megone shuffled back out with their pixie bites and vampire faerie blood. Avia picked up a fried brown creature with wings on it. She dipped it in a thin light red blood sauce and bit the head off. Is she eatin' a fly? Dylan stared at her for a moment. Just can't eat that. He'd been without food for so long, his body felt deprived of nourishment, drained of any energy, and he picked one up, dipped it in the blood, and ate it.'
In the next newsletter, I'm going to look at the foods you only eat on special occasions. I you have a recipe, story or poem to share that includes a food only eaten on a special occasion, please share it with me. I'm completely overloaded with these Food/Cooking merit badges, and trying desperately to find homes for them!
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