The dumpling Hero’s Journey

I’ve spent the week in Singapore, my old home. It’s been a gluttonous romp indeed, a mighty step up from lazy bachelor cooking,

My brain is tripping on spices. The humidity here makes it a 360 experience. The dining has been epic. Cinematic. While I’m on a brief horizontal respite I start to think of cinematic three act structures.

Three act structures are becoming a bit of a cliche these days but this is no reason to write them off. They are as common as the setting up, exposition and punchline of a classic joke. I’m not going to tell a joke because this is a serious blog. 

So, 90 000 calories into my week I start to wonder how Singapore dining could translate into classic story structure.

Act 1

Breakfast – eggs and noodles

This is the “ordinary world” of a story. Mornings for me are routine. Even crazy blogs and dream journalling are part of a routine. Hats off to you if your mornings are more exciting than mine. 

But every morning starts with the possibility that something will pop up and change your life in wonderful ways. You know, like in the movies.

Act 2

Lunch – spicy surprises

A movie romp – the “new world”. Office escapism. A refresher. If you could have lunch at a new place every day, your afternoons would sing. In film, the second act is the adventurous part of an adventure movie, the “promise of the premise” as Blake Snyder calls it. It’s Lawrence entering the deserts of Arabia, a hero testing their wings. It’s every Pixar protagonist ever, off on their journey to culinary enlightenment. 

Act 3

Dinner – the grand finale

At dinner time we know what we want, we’ve seen it coming. It’s the showdown. It’s that booking or date we’ve planned ahead. It’s where all the desires and experiences of the day come together over the table. It’s full of revelations and resolutions. It’s your favourite iron skillet sizzling, or a reality cooking show actually turned into reality. It’s a chance to define your day, to give it a happy Hollywood ending. It’s a night to remember, but only if you haven’t had as much wine as I’ve had this week.

Morning, day, dusk. Entree, main, dessert. I don’t think of story structure as inhibitive or restrictive, I see it as a chance to make magic out of the mundane.

I’d love to write more about this but I think I can smell laksa…

(Nb – the delicious looking dumplings above were designed by an AI. There’s some food for thought…)