What if dinner turns ugly or doesn’t happen at all? A different outcome, but the same logic, I think. If a well-run meal or snack portends good things for community and understanding, then the failed meal stands as a bad sign.
In Foster’s 2nd chapter of How to Read Literature like a Professor, he discusses about the importance of food and eating together in stories. Whenever people eat together, it is a sign of kindness and friendship. Likewise, when food goes spoiled, it is a bad omen. In the play Trifles, Minnie Foster’s fruit has “frozen” and both Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters feel sympathy for her spoiled fruit. This fruit is a symbol for Minnie Foster, as the fruit only became ruined after her husband died. However, when Mrs. Hale choses not to surrender Minnie to the sheriff for the murder of her husband, Mrs. Hale begins to talk about the fruit. Mrs. Hale wants to tell Minnie that her fruit are “all right” and lie about them being gone. This discussion of protecting Minnie from knowing about her ruined fruit shows camaraderie between the women. Through examining the role of food in stories, the reader can examine the larger meaning and significance of its use in literature.
Source: Foster (Ch 2