One of the most fun details to read about in fiction, for me at least, is food and how it’s prepared (this is probably because I enjoy cooking a bit myself.) It adds a bit of realism to what I’m reading, given we all have to eat at some point.
Here’s a look at some books and the food contained within. Bon a petit!
In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, the first food that springs to mind, of course, is Turkish Delight. I made it a long time ago…with a broken candy thermometer (tsk tsk) and no idea what “soft boil” means. It turned out well anyway. The flavor I chose was vanilla, but rose and pistachio are very common, as well as lemon and sometimes orange (at least, that’s what I’ve seen.) I’ve even come across strawberry Turkish Delight on Amazon.
This is almost a sickly sweet treat, and it’s hard to believe that anyone would want to gourge themselves with it like Edmund wanted to.
(Also, as a side note, there is an unofficial Narnia cookbook! I own it but haven’t tried any of the recipes yet. Take a gander: The Gourmet Cuisine of Narnia.)
In The Goblets Immortal books, food plays its part in sustaining the characters and making for a few moments that were especially delicious to write.
The birds cooked through, Aidan removed them from the spit and placed the carcasses on slabs of bark he pried from a nearby tree. After dining on nothing but cold food and under-cooked tubers for a month, this was a treat. He ate slowly, savoring.
Slaíne, on the other hand, ate as though her next meal weren’t guaranteed. Grease dribbled down her chin, and she didn’t mop herself up until every morsel had been chewed off the bones.The Goblets Immortal
So caught up in the conversation, he’d all but forgotten his warning to Slaíne not to eat ’til he’d explored the food for nefarious Pulls. He took a moment, closed his eyes, and concentrated. There might be some dirt in the potatoes. He Dismissed that. A bit of something he did not recognize in the pheasant and the carrots, so he Dismissed that element as well. And, just to be certain he hadn’t missed anything, Aidan went through the drinks and food stuffs on the table again.The Goblets Immortal
To show how very much he was annoyed, Aidan tore off a giant bite of bread and chewed. They glared at each other in silence as they ate bread, roasted potato, boiled bacon, and seasoned meat patties.Holes in the Veil (The Goblets Immortal 2)
As she spoke, Jinn found a big empty basket and filled it with a small chicken, two cold turkey legs, brown bread, butter, a large wedge of cheese, small black berries that she assumed must be currants, and a rasher of bacon. She lifted it, thought it would look strange for a small woman as herself to show such strength, and handed the lot over to Quick. “There.” After grabbing a frying pan and a pitcher of what smelled like small beer, she led Quick out of the kitchen, up the stairs, and into their room, where they hung their tile and set their wares by the cold fireplace.Holes in the Veil (The Goblets Immortal 2)
J.R.R. Tolkien knew food was one way to a Hobbit’s heart. Some foods mentioned in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings include honey, seed cakes, Lembas Bread, eggs, cheese, butter, bread, preserves, po-tay-toes (taters), fruit tarts, mushrooms, and ale.
Another aside here: there are a few Middle Earth cookbooks out there. I own two but, again, haven’t tried anything out of them yet. Here’s one: An Unexpected Cookbook.
And for the final example: The Lightning Thief. For a personal reason, Percy always prefers food that is blue. And his absolute favorite food that is blue is his mom’s buttery, hot chocolate chip cookies. Yes, she dyes them and it is super sweet. Mrs. Jackson works at a sweets shop and claims she’s allowed to bring home “duds” and they’re always blue.
For those who have read the Percy Jackson books and are wondering if I will mention Gabe’s favorite 7-layer dip: there, I just did.
What is YOUR favorite food reference in a book? Do you like reading about people prepping food or digging in?
Keep your nose in a book,
P.S. Feel like baking now? Have leftover canned pumpkin that you don’t know what to do with? Then check out this blogpost.