I have been drawing everyday for a couple months now on a weekly theme. Last week’s prompt was food, and I noticed a trend when it came to drawing whatever came to mind. My cravings, if you will.
I’m no foodie. It would be rare to find a shot of food on my Instagram. (Speaking of “rare,” I always eat my steak well-done, like very well-done. That should prove my non-foodie status.) So, when this “food” prompt came up, I was a little nervous. Not only do I not particularly draw food, I don’t exactly give it all too much thought.
When I started drawing, I immediately went to cheeseburger, fries and a soda. Call it my happy (-meal) place. But I wasn’t happy with how it was coming out, so I started anew. Cheeseburger had too many layers to contend with (bun, pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, burger, more cheese, more burger, special sauce maybe and a bun). I’d throw in a standard bacon layer too, but it was already out of hand. I decided to go simpler (that’s also a happy place for me: I love a simple, clean aesthetic). Aha, hot dog!
Easy enough, even if a little unintentionally suggestive. A soft, round bun (split down the middle) wrapped around a long, plump and juicy sausage hot off the grill with the markings on its skin to prove it. (I mean, I told you it was suggestive, didn’t I?) Then, I topped it off with a visual squeeze of ketchup and mustard, “just how I like it…” (Which means: “how it should be.”)
The next day I drew, I seemed to have that same long silhouette in mind. This time though, it was something sweet. The chocolatey, cakey and vanilla creamy goodness I came to love as a kid: the Devil Dog by Drake’s Cakes.
That tempting little devil must have put a spell on me because for the next few days, I went down a fudgy, milky way and kept drawing sinfully good little goodies. I found myself among a chocolatey axis of evil: the Hostess CupCake, Stella D’oro Swiss Fudge Cookies and sealed it with a Hershey’s Kiss.
It took all the strength I had to avoid these deliciously unhealthy little treats on my grocery run that week. I even held the little duet of Hostess CupCakes in my hand, but thought better of it. For now. My next food shopping trip may be under heavier pressure from the craving portions of my brain.
I found it funny how those sweet treats all reminded me of my childhood. My grandmother, who watched me and my siblings after school, would always have tons of sugary goodies tucked away in the fridge or the pantry. It’s a grandma thing.
Nanny’s house was obviously a happy place. I very likely associate those good memories with the junk food which my young metabolism could much more easily digest than my now-aged gut. And well, they don’t taste too bad either.
A cursory search of the internet assured me my theory was not unfounded. According to medical science, cravings for food are “strongly tied to our emotions and memories.” They also share the same areas of our brains that are activated by addictions.
It must have finally hit me that maybe drawing these things were not helping. As I sat down to draw the next day, I started with something still sweet, but a little healthier: a banana. My shaping and shading looked a little off and bland, though. So I added a contrasting green stem and went with a banana pepper instead. There’s a food I don’t know I’ve even tried, let alone craved. But, I was happy enough with the drawing to share it. (Apologies to anyone vicariously binging on my Instagram feed.)
To close out the week, I must have been feeling “a little bit wiser for the wear”* because I drew a fortune cookie. No, not a particular healthy food, but not as terrible for you as the others. And at least one with some surprise words of wisdom for the eater.
*A quick search to confirm my wording on this phrase—that just happened to pop into my head—revealed it was also a quote from a movie. One, perhaps oh so tellingly, that is also from my childhood.
“Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.”
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