Fiction and Food
By Karen Ballum on February 28, 2009
BlogHer Original Post
The Mad Hatter's Tea Party, old-timey picnics, the back to school feast at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry - this is what comes to mind when I think of food and fiction. I love food and I love food-lit and I love fiction. Yet when I found myself looking at Kate's Food and Fiction Meme I found myself coming up almost completely blank. When I tried to do it the meme I realized that many of the items I was thinking of were either from non-fiction or from the novels of L.M. Montgomery and J.K. Rowling. My shoddy memory aside I know that food and fiction go together beautifully. Just ask some of the bloggers who have blogged about food and fiction.
Kate herself made me want to read the Betsy-Tacy novels.
From the Betsy-Tacy books, for example: Mrs. Ray’s fried potatoes, cocoa cooked in a pail on the Big Hill, anything baked by Anna, the peach pie at the Taggart's farm, Joe's sour-milk pancakes, and Aunt Ruth's bread.
Elizabeth mentioned a book in her answers that I'm eagerly waiting to get from the library.
A memorable work of fiction set in a restaurant or a café:
The cooking class in “The School of Essential Ingredients,” by Erica Bauermeister. Not only is the prose about the food utterly mouth-watering, Lillian, the restaurant owner teaches the class with an intuitive slow-food approach I would love to learn.
And Melanie's answers to the meme made me eager to both eat and read and I have to share at least one of her answers for the "fictional meal she's like to attend".
Or, while not a meal per se, the Sunday School picnic from Anne of Green Gables when ice cream is still a novelty and Anne tastes it for the first time. It was only one page long but Anne's first church picnic filled me with longing to be in Avonlea; I always felt like I was missing a party.
There's just something hopeless intriguing about an eleven year old girl tasting ice-cream for the first time.
There are also the Novel Food blogging events. The event started in 2007 and it makes me want to read and cook all at the same time. In the latest edition Basil Queen prepared two dishes from Five Quarters of an Orange, one of JoanneHarris's novels. Yes, the same Harris that wrote the delicious Chocolat.
Mirabelle's album is part recipe book, part diary, and various excerpts are scattered throughout Framboise's narrative, which has no shortage of recipes itself. I drew on both elements for the meal I served: a fish stew based on a meal Framboise mentions, followed by an apple-and-dried-apricot clafoutis from Mirabelle's album.
At the Book Club Cookbook's Guest Author Blog, Katharine Davis talks about how food in novels is often more than just about the food - it reveals much about the characters.
Later in the novel Will Harmon, also new to East Hope, Maine, is trying to select cheeses at a shop in New York for a party that his wife, Mary Beth, is hosting in his honor. Will’s reflections on the cheeses and his experience of shopping for them are a window onto his tempestuous relationship with her and his feelings about New York.
Deva Fagan on the Authors Now blog is pledging to make a fiction-inspired dish from a young adult or middle grade novel every month.
Haley at Reems Eats has a fantastic list of foodie fiction on her blog.
Do you have a favourite food memory from fiction? Have you tried creating a meal from a novel? Enquiring bloggers want to know.
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