Ermagerd, this is my favorite combination of things ever. Food in books. Sigh. It is even better if you can get your hands on what is being described and eat along. I recently read the book Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way through Great Books (mini review here) by Cara Nicoletti which is about doing exactly that. I wasn't a huge fan of the writing but the idea is freakin' brilliant. I also bought the Fictitious Dishes: An Album of Literature's Most Memorable Meals book by Dinah Fried but it was delivered to the States so I have to wait until June to look at it. Expat problems.
This weeks prompt is Top Ten Yummy Foods Mentioned In Books. Which I am interpreting as a dish rather than a whole meal (totally going to cheat, I know it), a book about food, or just a book with a lot of food in it. #overthinkingthis
Just One Day
by Gayle Forman
"Macarons. They’re meringue cookies in pastel colors. They are edible angel’s kisses.”
I will admit it, I kind of love symbolism. If that symbolism just happens to take the form of pastel and jewel colored baked goods all the better. Macarons come to represent Allyson's discovery of herself during her quest for Willem. Not reading more into this than necessary at all.
A Season Feast
Any Redwall Novel Ever
by Brian Jacques
"Hares are real gluttons. Watch! First he took a good flat apple turnover like this pass me that meadow cream then he spread it thick and stuck a pair of blackberry tarts on it, like this. Next he ladled it with honey, so, then he placed a huge slice of hazelnut and pear flan on top and ate the lot."
Meadow cream, violet syrup, strawberry cordial. I have no idea what any of these things would taste like but I know that I want them in my life. The scene at the beginning of Salmadastron is my favorite but that is probably because it is the first one that I read circa grade 6. Brian Jacques spares no detail in food description and I am here for it. I think that there is a cookbook that goes along with his readwall novels but I kind of like the mystery of not really knowing what they taste like.
The Scorpio Races
By Maggies Stiefvater
"Nothing says orphans like two kids breaking their necks looking at trays of November cakes and platters of shaped cookies and lovely soft loaves of bread still steaming the window they’re next to."
Maybe because the characters spend so much time being hungry that November cakes are so memorable. The honey stickiness is that much more delicious because it is so rare. I also appriciate that Puck spends all her money on Novemeber cakes at least once rather than sensible food. Priorities,
Six of Crows
by Leigh Bardugo
“Okay, okay. When we’re back in Ketterdam, take me out for waffles.” Now Inej did laugh. She dropped her hands and appeared to speculate. “Dessert for a life? I’m not sure that seems equitable.” “I expect really good waffles.”
Okay, I am not sure that waffles are ever actually eaten in these books. They are more of an idea of safely, security and normality that the crew is promsiing themselves as a way to get through the events of the book. I still want one.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
by Becky Albertalli
“I have a sneaking suspicion that you’re not 100% committed to your Oreo diet.”
This is actually pretty amazing considering my history with oreos. When I was 7 my mother made the tactial error of leaving me alone with a sleave of them, I, being the mastermind that I was, decided to take two ends and put about 17e middles in between them. Needless to say, I was sick beyond all reason and didn't eat oreos again until I was 27 and in Mongolia desperate for a taste of home. That I am able to overcome this aversion while reading this book and crave oreos is a testament to the writing.
Pan au Chocolat
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
"He’s gleeful to know something I don’t. Which is annoying considering we’re both aware that he knows everything about Parisian life, whereas I have the savvy of a chocolate croissant."
Relatable: being able to order one thing because that is the only thing that you know how to say in a new country.
My Life Next Door
by Huntley Fitzpatrick
"As soon as they get into the kitchen, Nan heads for the fridge to get some of my mother’s lemonade. After all these years, she knows exactly where to locate the special ice cubes with mint and lemon peel. She pours a glass for Tim and he takes it, frowning at the little ice cubes with their flecks of yellow and green frozen inside."
Samantha's mother's lemonade is an example of that old saying that anything worth doing is worth doing well, I have never made lemonade from scratch with lemonade ice cubes and little bits of mint but I think about doing it every time I think about this book.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Always and Forever, Lara Jean
by Jenny Han
"For the past few weeks I’ve been on a quest to perfect my chocolate chip cookie recipe, and Peter and Kitty have been my steadfast passengers on the journey. Kitty prefers a flat, lacy kind of chocolate chip cookie, while Peter likes his chewy. My perfect cookie is a combination of the two. Crunchy but soft. Light brown, not pale in color or flavor. A little height but not puffy. That’s the cookie I’ve been searching for."
There is a plethera of baking in all three of these books but Lara Jean's slightly manic persuit of the perfect chocolate chip cookie makesme both crave cookies and start baking,
I Believe in a Thing Called Love
by Maurene Goo
"I laughed, then focused back on the ramen. “So watch carefully, Caucasian lad, this is how you make our superspecial ramen.” I dropped the noodles into the water and then started breaking them apart gently with chopsticks. In the meantime my dad was grabbing a jar of kimchi from the refrigerator. Luca was watching us intently, like he was actually fascinated by this entire procedure."
It is 100% the living in Asia thing but I feel that there is a real lack of appreciation for ramen. It is more than the crappy and cheap food that sustains you through college and everyone should know about it. Maurene Goo is out there writing God's work. Bravo. I am going to order ramen delivery in celebration.
Fried Chicken and Cornbread
by Jeff Zentner
"I love you more than I love God himself. So if he’s got a problem with anything, he can talk to me, because I love you how you are. Now, if that’s all you had to tell me, we’d best go have some of my homemade fried chicken and cornbread"
This one breaks my heart. The main character, Carver Briggs, is having a goodbye day with his dead best friend's grandmother and she feeds him his friends favorite meal. This is a book with three very important and vibrant characters are already dead on the first page of the book. As you are reading and getting to know them their deaths just keep hitting you harder. I am not okay.