Today I have the pleasure of hosting Mehreen
and journalist on my blog. Today she will be discussing the use of food in her latest novel, The Pacifist. Ahmed author
The use of food in The Pacifist
Literature is often associated with food. As a reader, I cannot think of fiction without food. Descriptions of cozy cafes, and coffees are thrilling. Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with Wind is an apt example, where food is exploited to create the luxurious ambience of the south, until the civil war broke out. Tara’s ultimate proclamation, “I’ll never be hungry again,” has stirred readers, perhaps more than the war itself.
In my book, The Pacifist, food came to play a dominant role as well. Almost every chapter contains some mention of cooking or food. Ranging from granola to soup to lamb chops to baked dampers and vegetables: food is used to create atmosphere.
Food plays a significant role for a number of reasons. Apart from its hunger-satisfying requirement, it conjures an eighteenth century setting of rustic kitchens, utensils, and cooking methods. Nostalgic flavors from the past dance on the reader’s tongue from page to page.
Food sheds light on the social status that people enjoyed in society. It is a marker of people’s identity. What a lowly peasant eats in the Brown’s household distinguishes his class from what people eat
the Baxter residence. On Brown’s farm, a typical menu consists of mash, soup and vegetables, whereas the Baxters become accustomed to three-course meals that include an extensive amount of meat. They also frequently stop during the day to drink tea and eat snacks. The way that they dine is evidence of opulence and wealth. If readers see wealth as part of the Australian dream, then they must take into account how focus shifts to certain kinds of foods. This is represented in The Pacifist to indicate a movement towards the attainment of such a dream: class, sophistication, and status. at
In The Pacifist, one character, Emma, sees food as a way to heal the soul. In her effort to pioneer a home based teahouse business, she decides to open her teahouse in the middle of nowhere. She wanted to start this business not because cooking was a passion of hers, but she rejoiced in the idea that she would serve her famished clients’ hot food to enjoy under the awning of a balmy New South Wales morning sun.
One of the more humorous moments comes when Rose’s burnt chicken drumsticks helped Peter fall in love with her at first sight. When he sees Rose standing in the shimmering lights
the kitchen, trying her inexperienced hand in cooking, Peter is smitten. of
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