Munching books


Image courtesy of Dmitri Neyt at Wikimedia Commons

Okay, okay, I’ll confess, people. I love food. And books. And I really like it when books and food are matched together. 

For example, I’ll read a Frank McCourt, Charles Dickens or Dick Francis novel when I’m waiting for a meal in a U.K.-themed pub, a Mark Twain book in a restaurant decorated with Americana, or a Mary Stewart mystery in a local Greek taverna. Somehow the book seems to enhance the environment and the food, and I get even more enjoyment out of the whole experience.

A friend and I have plans to recreate a dinner from the Betty Neels novels. Betty Neels was an English nurse who turned to writing after she retired from nursing. Betty’s female heroines are usually handy in the kitchen or able to appreciate dishes such as Lobster Thermidor, winter salads, coq au vin and peach pavlovas. My friend and I just need to find the time (and we need to scour the Internet for the recipes).

I also wouldn’t mind recreating the picnic scene from Jane Austen’s Emma (I don’t recall if Jane goes into much detail about this picnic, but I could make do with hot buttered muffins and clotted cream with strawberry jam. Mmm!) or the Crachits’ Christmas dinner Charles Dickens described in A Christmas Carol with a goose and flaming pudding. Although obtaining the goose might be tricky…it’s been a while since any geese wandered around my backyard and Wal-Mart doesn’t stock them.

Or maybe some enterprising chef could make a fake goose out of tofu. I’d be willing to give it a shot. (Hey, if they can make a tofurky, anything is possible.) Although what would you call it? A “tofuoose”? Or “tofoose”? The mind boggles.

Readers: What would be your favorite meal recreated from a book and which book would you pick? I’d love to hear.



Filed under Writing

15 responses to “Munching books

  1. This is GENIUS! I especially love the idea of recreating an Austen-themed picnic. I’m writing it on my list of things to do this spring/summer. Complete with parasols. Going along with the picnic theme, I’d love to host one of those all-day sort of picnic parties like the ones pre-war in Gone with the Wind. A morning barbecue that ends in an evening dance. Bonus points if Rhett Butler himself shows up. Dibs.

  2. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! I’m sick of trying to eat household objects and being disappointed that they’re not made of sweets.

  3. I like the idea of matching appropriate books with food, may well give it a try!

    P.S. I cannot BELIEVE that something called Tofurkey really exists!!!

  4. Oh I love this!! Mostly the books I read surround food!! I’ve got some recipes tagged to make from Mediterranean Summer by David Shalleck.

  5. It’s not quite what you mean but I’ve just read The Money-Less Man by Mark Boyle and it has made me rethink my whole approach to eating and purchasing food with as little harm to the planet as possible with as little waste or leftovers. I definitely have a misguided sense of portion size – murder to the waistline!

  6. I’d like to recreate one of the celebratory dinners in the Harry Potter series, with 20 different desserts and more appearing by magic!

  7. What a novel idea! Food & Books – the two great loves of my life. An Unexpected Light by Jason Elliot. A rich, steaming tray of fragrant rice pilau with moist and tender chunks of lamb buried under slivers of carrots, green pistachios and plump raisins glistening at the top. A feast fit for an Afghan king and little ol’ me. 😀


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