food in fiction

A Moveable Feast: Breaking Literary Bread With You

I was just savouring a good lunch when I had this great idea. Not for the first time did I think this but the idea became more exciting when I thought of the possibilities.

I like to update Twitter or Facebook with tidbits like this:

  • Earl Grey rooibos, PrĂ©sident Camembert, toasted Swedish light rye, and perfectly boiled egg. Sigh.
  • The chillier I get, the spicier my tea… savouring a mug of spiced plum rooibos and @Robin_Spano‘s Dead Politician Society before work.
  • A square of Lindt’s melt-in-your-mouth Orange Intense with my chocolate chai, after all-spice, maple french toast…
  • Yorkshire Tea, gently scrambled eggs, and rye toast with butter.
  • Leisurely Earl Grey and a scone with butter and marmalade.

Well, you get the picture. I love good food. And tea. Not too long ago, my sister, the one who loves to cook like a chef, came over and taught me a few things. Since then, I’ve made somewhat of an effort, usually on weekends, to take the time to prepare something consciously rather than hurriedly and without thinking, and then sit and truly enjoy it.

So this afternoon, as I sat with my book in hand and my simple lunch of homemade vegetable soup, English crackers, and Camembert and Danish blue cheese, topped off by a square of smooth Lindt Madagascar dark chocolate and sips of chocolate chai, I thought about food in novels. I’ve read a lot of great books with food in them to make your mouth water.

Then I thought of Biblio, a marriage of books and tea, mainly, but also some light food. Like many, I love to have a mug of something and a treat while I read. So what if, on a particular day of the week, I posted something delicious on here for you to try with your next read?

The idea is to take food from novels and make it and then post about it here. I’m no chef, by any means, but usually whatever I make works out. So here’s a list of books and food I’ve thought about so far:

I can include culinary delights from Muriel Barbery’s Gourmet Rhapsody and Andrea Camilleri’s Inspector Montalbano series, pioneer meals (without meat; I’m a veg) from Little House on the Prairie series, food from Ibsen’s Babette’s Feast, Dickens’s Christmas Carol or his others, Pumpkin juice or something more appetizing (Butterbeer?) from Harry Potter… Dare I even try making something like lembas bread from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (perhaps Beorn’s twice-baked honey-cake in The Hobbit would be more appetizing)?

Tongue Rakers from Roald Dahl's Revolting Recipes. Don't they actually look Quentin Blakeish? Click image for credit.

What do you all think of this idea? Is it something you’d like to see here? In my business plan for Biblio, I also have an idea for gift baskets that feature novels matched with a treat and tea that reflect the book; this literary food post idea sort of continues that or at least makes something similar to it happen before I can open up shop.

I’ve long had a mind to expand this site beyond book reviews and book news, and the ideas are many, though still in keeping with literary loves. It just takes time and also feedback from you. Let me know what you think of this idea and also if you have suggestions, either for bettering the project or to offer book titles and their foods, whether for me to try here or for readers looking for more book recommendations. It may be that instead of actually making the food, I simply post virtual “gift basket” ideas, but whatever you’d like to see here most, I’d like to try.

It seems I’m not the only one, of course, who’d like to try food in fiction. Here are a few books I found on the subject as well:

Fairy Tale Feasts: A Literary Cookbook for Young Readers and Eaters by Jane Yolen

The Literary Gourmet: Menus from Masterpieces Linda Wolfe, ed.

The Book Lover’s Cookbook by Shaunda Kennedy Wenger & Janet Kay Jensen

Recipe for Murder: Frightfully Good Food Inspired by Fiction by Esterelle Payany

14 Comments

  1. bee

    Goodness gracious, maybe we are the same person! I am noticing the change in your blog for the first time as I’ve spent the past few days scouring other blogs for new recipes as well as creating a new blog for myself (I want to branch out from books). Now, sitting here reading your post, drinking my Twinings honeybush, mandarin and orange tea in my brand new Vegas cup, I read that one of my favourite blogs, Bella’s Bookshelves, may now also incorporate recipes? Book-related recipes? Wow! That’s a yes from me.

    By the way, I think the new look is terrific.

    Reply
    1. Steph Author

      Bee! The warmth and enthusiasm of your comment took me by such surprise that tears sprang to my eyes. Phew. I am a softie.

      Thank you, for your compliments but also for your encouragement. I really love how similar we are (I mean, seriously, honeybush tea, too?). Kindred spirits are one of the universe’s kindest and best gifts! I am thankful for them, for you. And so you know, your blog is one of my favourites, too. I always check to see if there’s anything new. I look forward to seeing what you add and change!

      Reply
    1. Steph Author

      Danya: Hey, I never thought of that, of them seeing their recipes brought to life, but now you mention it, that was one reason I made the groaning cake for our book club years ago when we did The Birth House. We were in contact with Ami and she was thrilled. She sent us all personalized book plates. :)

      Too bad Roald Dahl couldn’t be with us. Imagine the creations that are going to come from his Revolting Recipes! I can’t wait to try them. But first I have to get the books!!

      One day, it would be so much fun for us book bloggers to get together for a giant literary potluck. Wouldn’t that be AWESOME! I know: after a little while, seeing how this idea goes, we can do one across blogs, like a challenge, or rather, a literary food tour!

      Reply
  2. Em

    I like book blogs, but the ones I prefer are those that have a bit of variety and not just a succession of book reviews. I already find your blog quite varied and a bit more than the basic book blog and I think literary food would be a terrific addition!
    How about the cake from The Edible Woman?

    Reply
  3. Steph Author

    Em: Yes, yes, I thought of that one too! I’m surprised I didn’t write it, since it was on my piece of paper of ideas. Thanks for reminding me.

    And thank you for your compliment. It means much!

    Reply
    1. Steph Author

      Hi Caro,

      I had thought of the title, because I have it, but it’s been eons since I read it, and I don’t remember it well. I’ll go to it and have another look. Thank you!

      These suggestions are great!

      Reply
  4. Great idea, I love it! And remember that Recipe and poem book compiled by Atwood that I have?

    Last Sunday, Andrew and I went to the AGO for tea for two in the member’s lounge. It was SO great. They had a short “tea” menu, and then a prix fixe tea for two. It was so great to browse through the gallery and then stop in the lounge for tea and a tray of food. Would be neat to do the same in a bookstore! It was a one time thing, but it went so well, they’re thinking of making it either once a month or every Sunday.

    Reply
    1. Steph Author

      T: OH YEAH!!! I must borrow it. I wanted to start soon but with this proofread due, when, when, WHEN? I need more hours in the day…

      Hmmm, about the tea for two, you’ve got me thinking. It doesn’t really fit Greenley’s because of the layout, and Biblio will of course already serve tea and have tables…

      Reply

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