Monday 11 March 2024

Food in my Peace Child Series

Before I started writing the Peace Child books I spent many months thinking about the world I was creating. And as ever, once I started writing I found there were other things I needed to think about

Food of course is important and I needed to work out how the people in this world obtain it.

The first story begins on our own planet Earth, now called Terrestra. The planet is surrounded by a poison cloud and all inhabitants have to live underground. Vegetation still exists on the surface and as the poison cloud lifts things return to normal. Terrestrans have been able to grow crops underground and so much of this is food as we know it though fusion has become even more common: there are Zones not nations on Terrestra.

Humans still prepare food, if they want to, and certainly humans oversee huge commercial kitchens. However, even the poorest home has a house droid that helps to prepare meals.

On Zandra, where Peace Child Kaleem spends a lot of his time, food production is more difficult and agriculture is tricky. Again, humans still prepare food, but it often can just be dialled up and appears in a special drawer in the kitchen.  

Alcoholic drinks on Terrestra are all based on different flavours of what they call nectar whereas on Zandra they have a kind of beer called frega.

Coffee and tea as we know it still exist but on Zandra there is also a drink known as chufa. It is made from a ground up nut and is creamy in texture and a little bitter in taste. It is a strong stimulant.   

The Terrestrans have now colonised many planets and have met some other races. So the variety of foods is impressive. Seven-year-old Erik, Kaleem’s son in my work in progress, demands a puna bird omelette. This meat is very strong-tasting and he really can’t digest it.  As it’s one of Kaleem’s favourites Erik really wants to eat it. Contrast this with his friend, Raquella, the daughter to the president of the Purple Pirates, delighting in being offered a portion of meat balls with pasta and tomato sauce.

The Purple Pirates are nomadic. Their home planet has died and they are continuously travelling through space. They have learnt to grow all that they need on their space craft. But the vehicles are beginning to fail so they force their way on to Zandra. They have chosen this planet because the people there are so skilled in producing crops. Can the Zandrians learn from them?

Clementines become important in books four, five and six. A family that become successful in farming them set up an order that has had influence throughout the universe.

Food doesn’t dominate in my series but it is there and we have to remember that all of the characters need nourishment even if we don’t make that part of the story.

And even though some of these items may sound quite exotic, I’m still really writing about what I know. Yes, the “what if” questions is there. I find the answer by relating what is happening here to my own experience.                     

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