Thursday, September 16, 2010


Some say that people can't change.  They say that any change a person encounters is really a turn to what they'd tried to hide before.  Others might say that the change is more self-discovery than anything.  Really, any number of excuses might be thought of.

Hogwash, I say.

People can change.  They can do hard things, soften their hard-headed ways, come out the successors in a hard-won fight.

I grew up a notoriously picky eater.  99% of the foodstuffs out there I would never touch with a ten foot pole.  Over the years I've softened, branched out here and there.  And I've fallen in love with cuisines my 10-year-old, even my 18-year-old, self would not have tried.

And now I've entered culinary school.  The one place where I can't be a picky eater.

It's my litmus test for life I suppose.  I've been fortunate enough to end up on the dining rotation this first nine days of the trimester.  There are two dining room classes every culinary student takes.  Beginning and advanced.  Their classroom is where we eat.  They serve whatever gets made in the kitchen right off the dining room.

This go around it's classical French cuisine.  Five courses, one hour.  I'll just name one or two dishes for each day.

Day 1?  Escargot.

Day 2?  Oysters florentine.

Day 3?  Some sort of salmon dish.

Day 4?  Scallops.

Day 5?  Stuffed mushrooms.  Poached pears.

Day 6?  Crepes Suzette.  Lamb.

Day 7?  Crab-stuffed crepes.  Lobster.

What's my point with all of this?  Not one of those dishes is something I'd touch growing up.  Salmon was something I didn't try until I was a senior in college.  (I adore salmon when prepared well.)  But I tried almost every one of these dishes in the short time I've been in school.  (I passed on the oysters because I wasn't feeling brave enough to find out right then if I was allergic.  Turns out, mildly allergic to scallops, no reaction to the crab or lobster.)

I've made a change.  Am I liking it?  I enjoyed the salmon, the poached pears, and the crepes suzette.  The rest?  I'll still order a good filet mignon over lamb or lobster but at least now I've changed my ways and won't be so mule-headed.

Have you thought about something like this for your characters?  What is something that they've stubbornly refused to do, or not do, that you could plot a way to get them to do it?  Would it be believable if they made that change?  Will it deepen your story?  Think about it.  And join me in eating some plain yogurt and a walk on the treadmill.


  1. Love this post! Yeah, I wouldn't like any of those foods growing up either...I like most of them now. ;)

    My characters...hmmm, they're definitely out of their comfort zones, but as to how they handle the situations they're thrown into? Well, they're resistant at first, then they take the reins (well, at least in my head they do, LOL!)

  2. Great analogy, Stephanie! Having our characters grow and change over the course of our novels is extremely important. Good for you for trying new things.

  3. I <3 new foods! We have a rule at our house, though: You have to try everything - and by try we mean 2 bites - chewed and swallowed. And it's worked out really well. There are TONS of foods out there that our kids LOVE now because of that rule.

    I'm glad you're getting out there and trying that stuff out!

  4. That is so interesting about you. =) I would have never guessed that.

    I think all mcs should change and grow somehow. It's such a great idea!

  5. Wow, it's wonderful to meet another writer entering culinary school. As a kid I hated everything, too. I ate bananas, pizza with no toppings, cheese, and pasta and that formed the bulk of my diet.

    Now I can't get enough offal, squidgy sea creatures, fermented soy beans, and raw flesh. I eat everything and anything. I also passionately believe in a person's ability to rise above instinct and genetics and choose what and how to be.

    Consider yourself followed!


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