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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Food in Literature

Yesterday I posted about clothing in literature so I thought some discussion of food in books was apropos.  Some book clubs include food that is somehow relevant to the book being discussed.  I found an article in which a chef discusses preparing edible masterpieces from literature.  Chef Evan Hanczor encourages people to make their own literary meals:  “If you’ve never cooked and eaten a dish from a favorite book, do it.  Nearly any great book has moments of food in it, not just because characters have to eat, but because our relationship with food exposes so much about our identities, cultures, time, and place. What author forsakes a tool that can explore all that?”  ( 

Anyone interested in food in literature has any number of books to peruse:
Fictitious Dishes: An Album of Literature's Most Memorable Meals by Dinah Fried offers photographic interpretations of culinary moments from contemporary and classic literature.

Literary Feasts: Recipes from the Classics of Literature by Barbara Scrafford sets down recipes for foods mentioned in literature and includes essays which define the role of food in each of the literary works.

The Book Lover's Cookbook: Recipes Inspired by Celebrated Works of Literature and the Passages That Feature Them by Shaunda Kennedy Wenger and Janet Jensen needs no explanation since the title is so clear.

Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way through Great Books by Cara Nicoletti serves up stories and recipes inspired by beloved books and the food that gives their characters depth and personality.

There are also cookbooks which focus on specific authors:
I once gave a friend of mine, a fan of Charles Dickens, The Charles Dickens Cookbook by Brenda Marshall.
There are several Shakespeare cookbooks:  The Shakespeare Cookbook by Andrew and Maureen Dalby, and Cooking with Shakespeare by Mark Morton and Andrew Coppolino, and Shakespeare's Kitchen: Renaissance Recipes for the Contemporary Cook by Francine Segan.

A favourite literary cookbook from Schatje’s Shelves is The CanLit Foodbook:  From Pen to Palate – a Collection of Tasty Literary Fare compiled and illustrated by Margaret Atwood.  It contains extracts from Canadian prose and poetry on the subject of various foods and recipes from more than 100 Canadian writers.  Included are recipes for Alice Munro’s Maple Mousse, Margaret Laurence’s Cauliflower Soup, Quick Baked Monster Cookies à la Dennis Lee, and Margaret Atwood’s Bourbon Pecan Christmas Cake.