After a whole week of binge-watching The Great British Bake-Off and Chef’s Table, I can safely say that my diet is officially cancelled! I just find these shows and documentaries so interesting to watch, and not to mention extremely appetising! I also love it when food is mentioned in a book. Reading about food in books honestly warms my heart for reasons I cannot coherently explain. I guess the description of characters biting into a warm chocolate muffin or reading about them baking a cake makes me feel like I’m actually the one experiencing this and it genuinely makes me happy. So I decided to write another blog post featuring food that is mentioned in some of the books that I’ve read. Bon appétit! [Book Menus I]
Little Women- Louisa May Alcott
One cannot write a post about food without mentioning Christmas somewhere, and obviously Little Women is the best example. While the story takes place on a span of a number of years, it will always remind me of Christmas and cosy winter nights in, huddled around the fire sipping tea and eating shortbread biscuits.
Having given their Christmas breakfast to the Hummel family, which consisted of cream, muffins, buckwheat and bread, Mr. Laurence decided to gift them with a wonderful and delicious feast for their charitable act:
“This was a surprise even to the actors, and when they saw the table, they looked at one another in rapturous amazement. It was like Marmee to get up a little treat for them, but anything so fine as this was unheard of since the departed days of plenty. There was ice cream, actually two dishes of it, pink and white, and cake and fruit and distracting French bonbons and, in the middle of the table, four great bouquets of hot house flowers.
It quite took their breath away, and they stared first at the table and then at their mother, who looked as if she enjoyed it immensely.”
I cannot fail from mentioning the number of kitchen fails in the novel. I am pretty sure that Jo is my doppelganger and the evidence can be found in the number of dishes I have managed to burn while attempting to make dinner! But I think no one can rival Jo’s meatless lobsters, over-boiled asparagus, her lumpy blanc mange and under-ripe strawberries covered with salted cream. Since her cooking left a lot to be desired, when Jo visited her sick neighbour, Laurie, she brought him blanc mange made by Meg. In Laurie’s words, it was ‘too pretty to eat’, surrounded by a ‘garland of green leaves and the scarlet flowers of Amy’s pet geranium‘. It was in fact the perfect choice since it was so soft that it wouldn’t hurt his sore throat.
However, Meg also had some serious issues with her cooking. When attempting to bake bread, she allowed it to over-prove to the point where it turned sour and spilled all over the pan and then proceeded to burn it!
Another food item mentioned in the book is Amy’s infamous pickled lime:
“Why, you see, the girls are always buying them, and unless you want to be thought mean, you must do it too. It’s nothing but limes now, for everyone is sucking them in their desks in school time, and trading them off for pencils, bead rings, paper dolls, or something else, at recess. If one girl likes another, she gives her a lime. If she’s mad with her, she eats one before her face, and doesn’t offer even a suck. They treat by turns, and I’ve had ever so many but haven’t returned them, and I ought for they are debts of honor, you know.”
As the name suggests, they are limes pickled in brine and they are often extremely salty and mouth-puckeringly sour! To be completely honest, they do not sound remotely appetising to me!
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe || C.S Lewis
The Narnia series is one of my all-time favourites so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to mention it in this post. The first thing that comes to mind when I think about this book is obviously Turkish Delight, Edmund Pevensie’s favourite sweet. Also known as Lokum, it is a sweet made of starch and powdered sugar, sometimes flavoured with a touch of rosewater. C.S Lewis however did not specify the flavour but did emphasise that they were the best Turkish delights he had ever tasted. “Each piece was sweet and light to the very center and Edmund had never tasted anything more delicious.”
“It is dull, Son of Adam, to drink without eating,” said the Queen presently. “What would you like best to eat?”
“Turkish Delight, please, your Majesty,” said Edmund.
The White Witch’s Turkish Delights were highly addictive, making Edmund much easier to control since he inadvertently wanted more. I cannot fault Edmund here because their sweet taste truly make your taste buds flowing! I guess what made these sweets even more appealing to Edmond was because such food items were either hard to come by during the war or else were highly expensive, so his choice was well thought out!
I cannot fail from mentioning Mr. Tumnus’s tea with Lucy, which in other words means an afternoon meal with loads of delicious baked goods. I just love imagining this particular scene, with a fire crackling merrily in the grate and shadows playing on the shelves teaming with books. The meal consisted of warm cups of tea, lightly boiled and brown eggs, sardines on toast, buttered toast, toast with honey, and last but not least, sugar-topped cake. It sounds perfect in every way!
One character that I truly adore in the book is Mrs. Beaver. She reminds me of Mrs. Weasley in so many ways, but especially in the way that she cares for her family and her concern in feeding them! When the Pevensies visited the Beavers’ home for the first time, they shared a hearty meal of trout, beer, potatoes, a jug of creamy milk, a lump of butter, sticky marmalade rolls, and tea. Later on in the story, they meet with Father Christmas, who not only gives the Pevensies gifts but also shares with them a tray of tea, milk, sugar, ham sandwiches, and a jug of cream.
Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour- Morgan Matson
Morgan Matson is one of the few YA contemporary writers who I truly adore. Her stories are the literal embodiment of summer and they always put a smile on my face (mind you, some of them even made me bawl my eyes out!). Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour is one of my favourites because I love road-trip books and this one ticks all the boxes. Obviously there can be no road trip without snacks and drinks and this one does not disappoint. I loved reading about Amy and Roger visiting different states, discovering different cuisines, local delicacies and stuffing their faces with diner food! I’m not sure if all the places mentioned in the book are actually real but I still added them to the list because they still make me hungry every time I reread the book!
In-N-Out Burger: Root beer, Strawberry shake, Double-Double Burger
Curry Village Pavillion, Yosemite: Amy’s choice of oatmeal, muffins and a banana already sounds like a huge breakfast for me but apparently Roger “ate the kind of meal usually reserved for holiday dinners and people with tapeworms”.
Mom’s Cafe: According to Amy, at this cafe a scone is a huge funnel cake and Roger ate four of them! Gosh he does have an appetite!
Fran’s Pancake House: There is a copy of the menu in the book that makes breakfast sound a thousand times more appetising than it is at my house! There’s a whole variety of pancakes to choose from (also called Francakes) such as short stack, multigrain and blueberry. The menu also offers eggs, any style, bacon, sausages, waffles, potatoes (hash browns/home fries/fries) and bread (wheat/white/multi/sourdough/bagel/English muffin).
NuWay Cafe’ [Crumbly IS better!]: According to Roger’s friend Drew, this restaurant is a Wichita landmark and it is well-known for it’s crumbly burgers. This classic is actually loose ground beef steamed with pickle juice and served with cheese, mustard and pickles. I checked their menu online and it does sound like it’s worth going to America for! With their burgers, Drew also bought them tater tots, french fries and onion rings.
“I looked down at my burger and took a bite. It wasn’t bad. The hamburger was, as advertised, crumbly- almost more like taco meat. There were onions mixed in, giving it a little kick. I squeezed out a ketchuo packet on top, and took a bigger bite. It was good.”
Freddy’s Frozen Custard: It’s like ice-cream but a little thicker.
Chick-fil-A: Home of the original chicken sandwich with two pickles on a toasted butter bun.
“I took a doubtful bite of my chicken sandwich. ‘Oh my God’, I murmured around my mouthful. It was seasoned, breaded chicken on a soft roll. And we were sharing an order of spicy fries. I looked up and saw Roger nodding, his sandwich almost all gone. ‘This is amazing’.
J. Graham’s Cafe’ and Bar at The Brown Hotel: According to Lucien, The Brown makes a famous dish that originated from here- The Hot Brown. It honestly sounds delicious!
“A Hot Brown was a turkey breast on big pieces of soft-lookng bread, covered with parmesan cheese and a creamy sauce, flanked by tomato slices and finished with parsley and two pieces of bacon laid across the top.”
Amy also had sweet tea, which is actually iced tea but very sweet,with the sugar being part of the drink itself instead of being mixed in. They also had dessert, a Louisville tradition called the Derby pie which is a mixture of chocolate and strawberries and pecans.
Waffle House: Waffles with scrambled eggs, cheese grits and crisp bacon.
Krystal: Roger’s own version of heaven. It is a fast-food chain that serves mini burgers and extra salty fries. Yum!
The Dairy Queen: Reese’s Pieces Blizzard for Roger, with half vanilla ice-cream and half chocolate while Amy ordered an Oreo Blizzard (which I wouldn’t mind eating for the rest of my life!)
Last but not least, these are some of the snacks that Amy and Roger bought along the way:
- Cream Soda for Amy
- Root Beer for Roger
- Red Vines
- Reese’s Pieces
- Granola bars
- BBQ chips
- Peanut Butter M&Ms
I hope you enjoyed reading this post…and I hope it made you hungry as well! Honestly, I’m starving!