Stop right there. That previous sentence contains three well-known adjectives—beautiful, wonderful, amazing—but what do they really tell you? Not much. They don’t paint a picture, excite your taste buds with flavor, or give you textures or sounds. There’s nothing in that sentence for your senses to experience. You have to interpret what I mean based on your own experiences.
One of the challenges on Food Network Star forbid the chefs to use nondescriptive words like delicious, wonderful, amazing, beautiful, precisely because they don’t describe the food. Each time one of those words was used, the judge would blast an annoying horn. Needless to say, there were a lot of horn blasts and some very frustrated contestants. But it taught them an excellent lesson.
Remember the old “show, don’t tell” adage? You want your descriptions, especially with food, to give the reader an experience. Chocolate is rich, smooth, dark or light, bitter or sweet, and it wraps your tongue and mouth in a heady bliss that some women say is better than sex. Oranges are honey-sweet with a sharp tang that feels refreshing. Melted cheese is ooey-gooey, warm, and slightly earthy.
Whatever you’re writing, choose words that engage the senses. Let them taste the salt at the ocean, feel the wind whip through their hair as they’re driving, make their mouths sing when they bite into that triple layer chocolate cake. When you have fun with your descriptions, your readers will too.