descriptors / writers resources

34 Ways to Describe Eating and Drinking

food descriptionsFor the next few months, weekly writing tips will include word choice suggestions. That includes:

  • colorful and original descriptions
  • pithy words and phrases
  • picture nouns and action verbs
  • writing that draws a reader in and addicts them to your voice

I keep a  collection of descriptions that have pulled me into the books. I’m fascinated how authors can–in just a few words–put me in the middle of their story and make me want to stay there. This one’s on how to describe eating and drinking.

A note: These are for inspiration only. They can’t be copied because they’ve been pulled directly from an author’s copyrighted manuscript (intellectual property is immediately copyrighted when published).


  • Ate with more relish than the food warranted
  • I mumbled through a mouthful of beef koon po.
  • salmon steaks while Faith made rice and fixed a salad.
  • Said finally, shoveling another bite of eggs into his mouth.
  • Got the words out through a mouthful of roast beef
  • Between bites
  • Asked through a mouthful of sushi
  • Popped it into her mouth, and said around it
  • Nodded as he took another bite
  • She asked between bites of calamari
  • Asked around a mouthful of…
  • Ate a tasteless sandwich
  • A steak with sautéed mushrooms and caramelized onions on top
  • Spooned into bowls without a lot of ceremony
  • She took a slug of the drink
  • To avoid potentially poisonous plants, stay away from any wild or unknown plants that have–
  1. Milky or discolored sap.
  2. Beans, bulbs, or seeds inside pods.
  3. Bitter or soapy taste.
  4. Spines, fine hairs, or thorns.
  5. Dill, carrot, parsnip, or parsleylike foliage.
  6. “Almond” scent in woody parts and leaves.
  7. Grain heads with pink, purplish, or black spurs.
  • Three-leaved growth pattern.


  • He poured four fingers of off-brand scotch out of the Johnnie Walker black bottle. He inspected the level in his glass and poured soe more.
  • Ice clinked gently in the glass as she rolled it absently between her hands.
  • Took a pull on a beer
  • I’ll nurse this (a drink)
  • Swilling his beer
  • Gulping down a beer
  • All foam and no beer


  • The coffee was bitter and so hot it blistered my tongue
  • I brought donuts and he supplied some really awful coffee


  • Sitting in a red vinyl booth at Martha’s Diner, picking at her tuna salad and listening to Frank and Doug gossip
  • Like what, I said around the bite
  • Having drinks and sandwiches and laughing often


  • Getting shot at and knocked in the head made me hungry


  • He blessed himself and started to eat
  • I washed down a bit of stuffing with a swallow of beer.
  • Look virtuous with cottage cheese rather than despicable with a Pop-Tart, she reckoned
  • Click for the complete list of 69 writer’s themed descriptions.

Most popular collections:

34 Ways to Describe Scents

28 Ways to Describe Geeks

47 Ways to Describe Buildings–Homes II

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thriller To Hunt a Sub. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her nonfiction books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

52 thoughts on “34 Ways to Describe Eating and Drinking

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  4. Mentioning food in a novel is a great break from the action (or situation) and puts us right there with the characters. I remember when I read Angela’s Ashes and was hungry through the entire novel because of the constant underlying theme of the children’s hunger – it was a very powerful tool!😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Knowing where to find these helpful posts quickly have seemed God-sent a few times since I met you, Jacqui. Y’all likely don’t run into the wall, blinded by what you want to write, but linking to these posts you share has helped primed my pump a few times – once the bleeding stops😉 Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have descriptions I struggle over. Like: How to show a character eating while talking. It seems fairly common to write something along the lines of “said around bites” sort of approach.


  6. Eating is such an essential part of what we humans do and it provides a natural backdrop to all kinds of stories. Your list is wonderful and I find some of it very funny. Did you notice how often people talk with their mouth full?
    I really like the first one: ate with more relish than the food warranted. It brilliantly suggests unease in the situation.
    Lots of inspiration here, Jacqui, thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. “A steak with sautéed mushrooms and caramelized onions on top” Wow, I sure liked this one. It made my mouth water and salivate. I could see it right before my eyes as if I had a dinner plate ready for it.

    “Ice clinked gently in the glass as she rolled it absently between her hands.” Like Rodhart this is a favorite of mine too. It paints the picture perfectly so that I felt I was right there.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Well, I was always told not to eat with my mouth full: some of these characters may not have been. Either that, or they ignored the advice.
    ‘Said finally, shoveling another bite of eggs into his mouth.’

    Liked this one:
    ‘Ice clinked gently in the glass as she rolled it absently between her hands.’

    Liked by 1 person

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