The Great Pepper Saga

Hello again! Today we are talking about pepper (among other things).

I am a member of a local writing group. We are not serious writers, we don’t study technique or ask for critiques on our writing (hmmm, technique critique). We just write because writing makes us happy, and we love listening to stories. Every fortnight or so our leader sets homework for us and next time we meet we read out our offerings.

Once I was given the word ‘pepper’. Normally I bravely accept whatever word or subject I’d been given. This time I almost asked for a replacement word. But I didn’t. I dragged my pepper home with a heavy heart. Why? Because PEPPER DOESN’T INSPIRE ANYTHING IN ME! I have no funny stories about pepper, I have no tragic stories about pepper. I don’t love or hate pepper. I can’t even make up anything interesting with pepper as the star. Apart from being peppery, pepper is a bland word.

I resorted to Wikipedia. Did you know that there are two types of pepper? There is the capsicum-type pepper and there is the berry which is dried and used as a spice. The two are not related. Did you also know that pepper is sometimes used as a verb to describe attacking or bombarding as if with missiles? That’s mildly interesting; funny how a food word is used in a non-food context.

I started wondering about other food words that are used in a non-food context. Like describing a person’s language as saucy, or calling someone a couch potato. Who decided that apples described order when someone says ‘she’s apples’. What is a peaches and cream complexion? What is it about cows that leads some people to be described as ‘beefy’. I think cows are quite boney to look at. What is a pudding face, or a lamb chop? Why do some people call themselves onions? When you peel away each layer, don’t you still have an onion? Only smaller? Why are sausages silly? Actually, sausages are pretty silly, scrap that bit. Why are some people called crackers or nuts. I don’t think nuts have any particular personality at all.

I don’t understand the connection between food and non-food but there are some food words I would love to be used in a non-food way. How about linguine or rambutan, lentil or eclair? How about goulash or fondue, jelly baby or chocolate frog? Bonox, oat, chickpea, squid, nougat, watermelon or vanilla slice could all be used in such an emotive way!

Possible descriptions of people:

linguine – someone who never gets to the point

bonox – someone who doesn’t eat food that has been introduced to Australia after 1970

squid – similar to calling someone a worm

nougat – a very nice person on first meeting, who requires your immediate unflinching commitment

eclair – someone who wears designer clothes but doesn’t have the income to support themselves at the same time

watermelon – a happy person who enjoys casual entertaining

vanilla slice – someone who is hard to get to know, so hard that you don’t know how to approach them, then when you finally break through that tough surface, they fall to pieces and are such a mess that you don’t know what to do with them.

I feel like a vanilla slice sometimes. Goodnight.