Logistical Fictions

Tabletop Geographies

From the AV Club’s Food Fiction series (with My Dinner with Andre [1981], pictured above).

Sitting and talking and eating and chewing and swallowing creates a familiar situation that’s full of minor distractions and opportunities for bits of business, creating a relaxed setting for great speeches to seem completely unrehearsed. Characters passing time together in a living room or bedroom or parked car changes the nature of the conversation—great speeches can be delivered anywhere, but in those non-table situations, the characters are somewhat deliberately choosing to remain together long enough to discuss something, and we’re subconsciously aware there’s nothing keeping them there. They could up and leave without much consequence, as opposed to abandoning a meal half-eaten, or uneaten, which makes a relatively big statement.

“Having a talk” is serious, deliberate business—“Honey, sit down. I need to tell you something.” A meal just happens now and then. Gathered around a couple plates of ambiguously brown and green items, or a couple of drinks, the conversation occurs partly to fill the silence—and as a result feels unplanned, spontaneous, offhand, and maybe even more genuine as a result.

And about the series itself:

Even fictional people have to eat. Sometimes food reveals what we should know about a character, sometimes it’s a pleasant pause in the action, sometimes it’s guacamole—made right here at the table! Food Fiction is an ongoing feature that looks at some of the most memorable foods in the history of storytelling.