It’s been a while since I’ve held a food writing contest on this blog, so I thought I’d blast out another one, just for fun. This time, let’s have a simile writing contest.
Similes are comparisons that starts with “like” or “as,” for comparing two unlike things. Why would you want to use them? You need as many tools as possible in your writing toolbox. Similes are a welcome alternative to adjectives. They’re playful, making your writing fun to read. Restaurant reviewers are particularly good employers of similes because they spend a lot of time describing food.
Here’s an example from New York Times critic Sam Sifton. He compares two unlike things: a slice of slathered toast and kissing:
“The very first item on the menu at Marea is ricci, a piece of warm toast slathered with sea urchin roe, blanketed in a thin sheet of lardo, and dotted with sea salt. It offers exactly the sensation as kissing an extremely attractive person for the first time — a bolt of surprise and pleasure combined. The salt and fat give way to primal sweetness and combine in deeply agreeable ways. The feeling lingers on the tongue and vibrates through the body.”
Here’s another one from Pulitzer-prize winning critic Jonathan Gold, comparing a restaurant’s hot dog dish to the contents of a spilled ice chest:
“The dogs, which are high-quality franks from Chicago’s Vienna Sausage, are good, but the emphasis is clearly neither in their formulation nor on unusual sourcing — it is on what is done with them, whether wrapping them with jalapeño bacon in a Parmesan crisp as with the Holy Roller, tucking it under the pastrami in a classic Reuben sandwich, or burying it in barbecue sauce and potato salad, like a hot dog you’d find in an ice chest that accidentally tipped over in the back of the SUV.”
I hope these smile examples got you in the mood to write one of your own. Please enter your simile, on any topic related to food, within one week, by 6/24 at midnight PST.
To continue the theme of restaurant criticism, I’ll send the winner a copy of Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-time Eater, by Frank Bruni, former restaurant critic of the New York Times.
Update: And the winner is…Katy at Thought for Food, for her entire blog post on comparing lemon vinaigrette-dressed salad to a summer wardrobe.
Flickr photo used by permission.