Cultures Unlike Us
We had an interesting discussion about cultures that are so very different from us at a recent critique group meeting.
The discussion began because one among us is researching the Matador and the history of bull fighting for a story. She shared some of what she had learned. The centuries old tradition can be traced as far back as ancient Rome where man–against-animal events were held. Bullfighting is a blood sport deeply entwined into the cultures of Spain, Portugal, and many South American countries. Matadors enjoy celebrity status and the showmanship is very entertaining. A special breed of cattle are bred especially for the bullfighting ring.
Food in the Eyes of the Hungry
Our discussion turned to cultures different from us and their food. It was pointed out that some cultures think “food” when they see a dog, which is considered a delicacy in many Asian cultures. These dogs are bred specifically for the purpose of feeding people.
A visitor from Belgium told me that grocery stores in Europe have horse meat for sale in their meat market along side beef, pork, and chicken. She rarely buys beef because it’s so expensive in her native country.
As an owner of a cow/calf operation in the Texas Panhandle, the ranch horse and the cow dog are our working partners in the ranching industry. Our business is feeding hungry people with Texas Angus beef raised on native grasslands. The American culture has included beef and pork as a mainstay for centuries. I could never plan a menu around a juicy hunk of horse or dog meat. What about having a character eat something odd or cook something they’d never eat themselves? Interesting premise!
Writers and Their Research
One of the things I love about my WordsmithSix writers critique group is how non-judgemental we are. Our discussions cover a wide range of topics, and it’s great fun to dig deep into the issues that impact our stories. We greet each new subject matter with hyper curiosity. We question everything, and since we’ve been meeting for over five years now, we have very open and informative discussion. Visitors to our group are sometimes shocked at our musings.
To get to the heart of the story and to dig deep into our character’s motivation, can writers greet their research without bias? Does our background and beliefs get in the way?