Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Vivid Figurative Language: Bitter Words

Readers of Our Eyes Upon Missouri enjoy reading about local restaurants, wineries, distilleries, and breweries. We’ve enjoyed some tasty foods and drink, and we’ve tried to remain pleasant when the tastes were anything but pleasant. That brings me to another lesson in vivid figurative language: words used to describe bitter flavors. Some of those words are: sour, tart, astringent, harsh, acidic, vinegary, and unsweetened.

Selecting the most precise word for the food or beverage you’re trying to describe is one way to communicate effectively with your readers. For example:

Unsweetened cherry filling delivered a tart taste that contrasted perfectly with dense, sweet whipped cream.

A delicious blend of berries and cream at Handel Haus, Cole Camp, MO
Photo provided by Al Griffin

Creating an image to convey the taste is even better. For example:

An antique wine press
Photo provided by Al Griffin
The taste of some local wines suggests they have tangled with an acidic foe and lost.

The wine proffered had the distinct color of apple cider vinegar. Worse, it tasted of astringent. If the price were right, I’d buy a bottle just to clean the toilet.

Her homemade lemonade was as sour as a green persimmon.

Reading Challenge:

Read about food in The Bitter Southerner. And if you’re not reading The Bitter Southerner regularly, why not? It’s always a fine read.

Writing Challenge:

Recall the spiciest food or most bitter drink you’ve ever sampled. Describe it.


Could wine be transformed by glasses
this beautiful? Photo by Al Griffin


Connye Griffin is My Writing and Editing Coach. She also writes for Our Eyes Upon Missouri.