People eat the strangest things and call food the oddest names. We also refuse to eat some things that are actually very nutritious for us. Basically, eating is a mind game and you will be more inclined to eat the kind of foods you grew up eating. You might change up the seasonings and side dishes, but the main ingredient will be standard.
Your world, be it an urban fantasy setting, a historical setting, or contemporary, should feature food in some way. All people eat, so if you don’t at least touch on food your people will seem odd. Less real. And if you need to add humor to your story, have fun with the names of foods.
England is a great source for odd names. Spotted Dick, Toad in the Hole, Bangers and Mash, Welsh rarebit, Eaton mess, champions rumbledethumps, jam roly-poly, I am sure I have missed some. And maybe there are funny names in French or Italian or Mexican food but because I don’t speak the language I might not get it. I can think of one Mexican food item that has a funny name, but it’s become such a part of American culture that we don’t think of it that way. A burrito, like the hot dog, was rumored to have questionable ingredients back before laws were invented.
As you plan a week’s worth of dinners your list no doubt contains beef, pork, chicken, fish, and maybe tofu and salads. Your characters probably will have similar ingredients, but if English, mutton and rabbit will be included, if historical, venison and game birds may play a significant part, and if fantasy or paranormal, all bets are off. Did you know that many insects are nutritious and provide full compliments of needed vitamins and minerals? http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/nutrition-values-edible-bugs-insects-9602.html
Fresh vegetables are a recent addition to most menus. In Regency England, fruits and vegetables were preserved to last all year for the middle class, whereas the rich grew them in hothouses and partook every day. https://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/2007/11/21/harvest-festival/
You’ll note that mutton, very common in England, is not often found in the states. We get lamb now and then, which is a sheep under a year old. It’s surprising that Americans eat less than a pound per capita of lamb. The meat is healthier and lower in bad fat and cholesterol.
Immigrants from lands where lamb and sheep are regularly consumed are increasing the demand for lamb here. We may have an up-swing in availability, thanks to our new countrymen.
Your characters may also need to eat things that are available in seasons. Fish, shellfish, apples, peas, beans, and artichokes all had their seasons. Be mindful of what could be had when. Even in contemporary stories, there are seasons for strawberries and blueberries and corn. Work that into the story to make your world real.
Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.