Books, Literature and Food

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Jellybeans
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2003/08/08 04:48:12 (permalink)

Books, Literature and Food

In response to the two previous topics: food films and food songs, I thought I'd make it a triumvirate and broach the topic of food in books that aren't recipe books.

My all-time favourite is "Like Water For Chocolate" (which, as we all know, is also a great movie). Jane Austen also had quite a lot of descriptions of dinner parties that are quite sumptuous and each Harry Potter book always describes a tummy-growl-inducing-and-tongue-salivating beginning-of-the-school-year and end-of-the-year feast with Halloween and Christmas and Mrs Weasley's feasts peppered here and there

What's your favourite fiction/literature (novel or short story) that features food?

#1

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    SkyyeBlue
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    RE: Books, Literature and Food 2003/08/08 05:59:46 (permalink)
    Diane Mott Davidson's "The Cereal Murders".... dished as "as cross between Mary Higgins Clark and Betty Crocker" by The Sun, Baltimore. Cute mystery story about a caterer/chef that gets into trouble... but features prominent recipes, ie: she's catering a dinner of XYZ, and here is the recipe. A cute concept, if a bit weak. Fast, summer read.
    #2
    Mayhaw Man
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    RE: Books, Literature and Food 2003/08/08 17:01:13 (permalink)
    you might find this interesting


    http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=480
    #3
    Spudnut
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    RE: Books, Literature and Food 2003/08/08 18:20:12 (permalink)
    Peter Mayle's books about France (A Year In Provence, etc.) always make me really, really hungry, even when the food isn't to my liking. He makes eating sound so enjoyable and important.
    #4
    Marci Hanners
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    RE: Books, Literature and Food 2003/08/08 19:00:01 (permalink)
    Understood Betsy, by Dorothy Canfield was seminal when I was a child. Her description of meals in the Vermont Farmhouse made me hungry and I was not an eater in those days, but I was interested in good food. Chicken Fricasee, Homemade Applesauce, Maple Sugar Candy! Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder would make anyone hungry. I still make fried apples 'n onions. A wierd juvenile series called the Mary Jane books was very focused on meals, as I remember and that was one reason that I loved them as a very young child. Maida and her friends learn to cook and eat spectacularly well in the Maida's Little House series. Gone With the Wind was surprisingly focused on food, some of it wonderful, some of it not very good. Beaten biscuits, fried chicken and yams with butter along with New Orleans fare was featured and tough rooster was lamented. Edna Ferber was quite interested in food as well, Leslie transformed the food at the Reata in Giant, New Orleans and Saratoga were gastronomically described in Saratoga Trunk. And James Herriot experiences the best and worst of English food in the All Creatures Great and Small series. From choking down fat bacon to the delights of Mrs Pumphrey's hampers, food features quite prominently. The list could go on and on.
    #5
    Jellybeans
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    RE: Books, Literature and Food 2003/08/08 19:16:15 (permalink)
    Hehehehe! I love James Herriot's description of food--one of the most memorable scenes is when he goes to tea at Helen's place when he was courting her and the description of the loaded and groaning table always makes my tummy growl!
    #6
    Rick F.
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    RE: Books, Literature and Food 2003/08/08 23:26:43 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by SkyyeBlue

    Diane Mott Davidson's "The Cereal Murders".... Cute mystery story about a caterer/chef that gets into trouble... but features prominent recipes, ie: she's catering a dinner of XYZ, and here is the recipe. A cute concept, if a bit weak. Fast, summer read.


    One of a series. Or should that be "Ceres"? Anyhow, I like them.
    #7
    goldsborscht
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    RE: Books, Literature and Food 2003/08/09 02:02:47 (permalink)
    Pickwick basically travels the English countryside looking for Roadfood. One of Isaac Bashevis Singer's characters in Enemies, a Love Story works in a deli. Sinclair's Jungle is the anti-Roadfood. Falstaff would be a welcome Roadfooder. The main character in Ionesco's The Hermit eats his ritual dinner at the local eatery while a revolution is going on outside. The best diner dialogue of all time is in Hemingway's short story The Killers (in The Snows of Kilamanjaro text) where the two hitmen are ordering at the diner. This later became the beginning (word for word!)of the 1947 noir film The Killers with Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner. Anyone interested in, well, anything needs to read this story and see the flick. Also, Portnoy does some interesting things to a piece of liver in Philip Roth's novel.
    #8
    RockyB
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    RE: Books, Literature and Food 2003/08/09 18:56:42 (permalink)
    Robert B. Parker's "Spenser" series offers some good cooking. Spenser when he's not detecting tends to be cooking or eating and I find the foods interesting, and he often names actual resturants and what he eats there.
    #9
    jmckee
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    RE: Books, Literature and Food 2003/08/10 08:20:30 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by RockyB

    Robert B. Parker's "Spenser" series offers some good cooking. Spenser when he's not detecting tends to be cooking or eating and I find the foods interesting, and he often names actual resturants and what he eats there.


    RockyB you took the words right out of my keyboard!

    I have often thought that you could go through the Spenser novels and devise a nice little cookbook out of the stuff he cooks and eats with Hawk and Susan....And I generally make it a point to try Spenser's current favorite beer....
    #10
    RockyB
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    RE: Books, Literature and Food 2003/08/10 10:10:19 (permalink)
    There is, I believe a "Spenser's Cookbook" that has been published.
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    improviser
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    RE: Books, Literature and Food 2003/08/11 17:34:52 (permalink)
    I second the nominations for the Harry Potter series and the Francis Mayes books. I wonder if anyone has ever finished "Under the Tuscan Sun" without feeling the urge to pack up and start over in Italy. When I finished that book, I wanted to toss my passport in my battered green bag (said bag goes with me whenever I travel. Before I stole it from my father it went everywhere with him) and just go to the airport, never to return.

    For fantasty fans, I find that Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series contains some great passages about food. Makes you long for mutton, butterpeas, wheels of bread and cheese, and mugs of wine so cold that the hands can't grip them for long.

    Jimmy Buffett's autobiography, "A Pirate Looks at Fifty" has some writing about food in there. Jimmy's descriptions of his father's bbq grill built from an old warship makes me crave BBQ very badly. "Tales From Margaritaville" contains a true story about Jimmy and his buddy being stranded on a sailboat in open waters for three days. You feel his hunger pains when he starts thinking about a "Cheeseburger in Paradise" while drifting through the fog.
    #12
    improviser
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    RE: Books, Literature and Food 2003/08/11 17:38:03 (permalink)
    I've been meaning to read Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential and A Cook's Tour for a long time now. Has anyone read any of his mystery novels? I believe most of them are set in restaurants with cooks as the main characters.
    #13
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